Network Automation Scripting: How Not to Stay Awake at Night
Time 12/12/19 11:50AM-12:00PM
Network engineers are typically more of an analytical problem solver than a programmer. Our talents lay in the realms of deductive reasoning and google foo. These skills make us really good at our jobs. However, in this day and age we are required to expand our realm of knowledge to programming. Automation, more specifically network automation, has forced the once confident network engineer to become a humble algorithm writer. The size, complexity and frequency of changes to a network has done nothing but increase. In the short 15 yrs I've worked at MSU we've seen the network grow from roughly 500 switches to nearly 1300 and more are being added every month. How do you manage these increasingly complex networks? Automation. It's being talked about wherever you go. You hear words like Ansible, Puppet, Chef and Python. You have probably even signed up for Kirk Byers' email course and are ready to tackle this automation beast. Not so fast. Before you write your first line of code here is a list of gotchas to watch out for and tips that will make your life easier.
1. The first rule of automation club is testing.
2. The second rule of automation club is TESTING.
3. One Script to rule them all is just as bad as the One Ring
4. Verify. Verify that you have verified
5. Log. Log everything.
6. Try/Except blocks(Python term for exception handling)
7. Lastly, know exactly...EXACTLY what equipment the script is touching.
8. Did I mention testing?
Speaker Greg Grimes Mississippi State University
Primary track Advanced Networking