Network Automation @Interop Vegas 2015

January 22, 2015 in Systems4 minutes

In case you are planning on attending Interop in Las Vegas this year, I’d like to let you know about my two sessions, both centered around emerging methodologies and technologies in the networking space.

Practical Network Automation With Ansible and Python

This is going to be a 3 hour workshop, aiming to be a practical look into network automation. I picked the topics that I have been working with most heavily in this space, and I think this workshop will be a great way to get up to speed with some down-to-earth network automation methodologies.

I am going to separate this workshop into three main parts. I’m going to start with some of the basics, and move up in “difficulty” from there.

  1. YAML and Jinja2 - These are text-based specifications that allows tools like Ansible to do what they need to do. I will be making the assumption that attendees have little to no experience with either of these things, so I will spend some time exploring how these work. There’s not enough time in the workshop to be totally exhaustive, so I will only be covering the portions of either specification that are totally relevant for use with Ansible.

  2. Ansible - These days, it’s hard to talk about automation generally without Ansible being mentioned at least once. I take the approach that Ansible really excels at managing Linux endpoints, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do in this workshop, with a focus on networking. After an introduction to Ansible’s concepts and operation, we’ll take a brief look at configuring network services like DHCP, DNS, and IPv6 Router Advertisements, and even the Quagga routing protocol suite.

  3. Python - I will be exploring some of the current (and some up-and-coming) Python libraries for working with network devices. I will try to keep things pretty light from the Python side of things, but I will not have much time to do a “programming in Python 101” kind of thing, so some familiarity with Python going in will help you.

Please read the workshop page for more details, but in short, I believe if you’re at all interested in network automation, you should find a way to attend this session. There’s a lot of content to cover, so my recommendation is to take good notes. I will be preparing a ton of material for attendees to take home with them, so that they can implement these ideas themselves.

SDN Building Blocks

The kind folks at Interop were apparently reading my SDN Protocols series, and asked if I wanted to turn this into a talk. With all of the confusing jargon out there, I figured it was worth doing an hour-long session to put some interactivity into this idea. Essentially I’ll be expanding on this blog series during this hour, and I’ll show some practical examples of these protocols when possible.

My goal for this session is to cut through the fog, and offer a bias-free view into their operation, leaving you free to make the right decision for your own infrastructure. Where possible, I’ll give a brief example of these protocols in action.

Other Interesting Sessions

Of course, there are many other sessions you should attend. Here is just a handful of the sessions I’m looking forward to attending myself!

Hopefully these sessions (as well as my own) sound interesting to you. My content has been a blast to prepare for thus far, and I am excited for April. I look forward to seeing you in Vegas!