Fix Your Interface Description with Ansible and CDP/LLDP

This topic came up via Twitter recently and I heard this use case before but wasn’t aware how easy it could be solved with Ansible, until I started thinking about it. The little playbook in this blogpost fetches all discovered neighbors per device and sets the interface description according to the remote host and port. It supports the two platforms Cisco IOS XE and NX-OS to demonstrate the path to a multivendor solution for the common brownfield networks out there.

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The Human Factor in Network Automation

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Most Network Automation publications tend to focus on the technology, how to code, build useful pipelines, and this week’s tool of fashion. But isn’t that a very one-sided view of the topic? I mean after all, people are what make automation happen and drive those projects forward. Thankfully Skynet is too far away to autonomously build automation frameworks and the ‘Self-driving Network’ never made it from marketing to the real world.

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Monitor Cisco NX-OS/ACI via SNMP and the TIG-Stack

I know, even Cisco NX-OS has a REST-API and Streaming Telemetry these days.
But you, or established processes in your organisation, might find it helpful to handle all switch ‘Telemetry’ in the same way using good old per device SNMP polling. A quick poll* on the Twitters seems to validate that ~80% of production network metrics are still SNMP anyway.

*See what I did there?

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Automate your NOC World Map at scale

Managing hundreds of devices with your monitoring system might be a tedious task, especially when using GUI based device onboarding. But why not let your config management tool of choice take care of it? This blog post is about a declarative Ansible playbook to generate Telegraf configuration files leveraging the inputs.ping plugin and populate a Grafana World Map.

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First simple Ansible playbooks

So, your lab is set up and waiting for something meaningful to do?
This post introduces the two probably most commonly used networking modules in the Cisco IOS world – it’s no rocket science to use other vendors’ modules in the same way, by the way. IOS_command executes, well, commands at the privileged level, while IOS_config is used in config mode – no surprise there, right?

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How should I start a network automation journey ?

Depending on your personal background there are many different ways to approach networks or (more general) infrastructure devices in a programmatic way. If you are blessed with sufficient coding skills, please go straight to Python and frameworks like Nornir to get things started. This post though is for long time network engineers with little or no software experience.

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Why should I even start a network automation journey ?

Well, I might know what you think. Despite all the successful automation efforts in other areas of IT, networking is kind of special – not only because of the massive blast radius if Murphy strikes. Being a seasoned enterprise professional you also know how ‘fast’ change really happens and that most internal computer and networking problems need to be approached at the people and process level, rather than throwing a piece of technology at it.
After all, box-by-box configuration backed up by occasional scripts or template one-offs has worked for decades now…

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