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Introducing the ACI Toolkit

Cisco, in its quest to embrace programmability, has created what is called the ACI Toolkit, which is basically a combination of an NX-OS like CLI and some custom python scripts. Although this toolkit doesn’t allow you to do all configurations within ACI, it can be used to create and show the common configuration and administrative actions that may be used daily. It’s also great for someone who is just starting to migrate to a more programmatic way of doing things, as it’s easily understandable to folks used to common networking commands.

If you’re not familiar with ACI, check out this short video to get a brief understanding of some of the basic constructs used and for a deeper dive go to www.cisco.com/go/aci. These concepts will help you to understand some of the configuration options available with the ACI Toolkit.

ACI - Toolkit

The toolkit’s python libraries are all available on GitHub.com and it’s fairly simple to access. All you need to do is open a terminal window on your computer and enter the following command:

git clone https://github.com/datacenter/Simple-ACI-Toolkit

This command will download the necessary libraries to use the ACI Toolkit syntax. Then to run CLI commands from your APIC type:

python acitoolkitcli.py -l admin -p password -u https://APIC_IP

This will connect you to your APIC so you may run commands that will help you build your application network profiles as shown in the three tier application in the picture above. We can do things such as switching tenants, creating contexts, creating bridge domains, and creating end point groups (EPGs).

Here are some examples of the common commands we might use to create these logical objects.

Switch to a tenant configuration mode:

  • fabric# switchto tenant <tenant-name>
  • fabric-tenant# switchback

Create a Context and don’t enforce contracts on it:

  • fabric-tenant(config)# [no] context <context-name>
  • fabric-tenant(config-ctx)# [no] allow-all

Create a bridge domain and assign it to a context:

  • fabric-tenant(config)# [no] bridgedomain <bd-name>
  • fabric-tenant(config-bd)# [no] context <context-name>

Create a subnet under the bridge domain:

  • fabric-tenant(config-bd)# [no] ip address <ip-address>/<masklength> [name <subnet-name>]

 

As you can see from these examples the syntax will be very familiar to network engineers. We can also use the ACI Toolkit combined with the Python SDK to actually script these things. It makes scripting a little easier because we’re again using simpler syntax. Below is an example of configuring a tenant using Python in conjunction with the toolkit:

from acitoolkit import *

from credentials import *

tenant = Tenant (‘Customer1’)

context = Context (‘customer1-router’, tenant)

bd = BridgeDomain(‘BD1’, tenant)

bd.add_context(context)

bd.add_subnet(‘10.0.0.1/24’)

app = AppProfile(‘web-and-ordering’, tenant)

vlan10 = EPG(‘VLAN10’, app )

vlan10.add_bd(bd)

vlan20 = EPG(‘VLAN20’, app )

vlan20.add_bd(bd)

Currently the ACI Toolkit may not be used to create service graphs, VMM Domains, SPAN, Atomic Counters, and or to see most telemetry and health score information. However, the toolkit still gives us a lot to work with and automate as far as basic configurations go. For more information please see the guide found here (http://datacenter.github.io/acitoolkit/).

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Why the Flip Camera Should Be in Your PR Toolkit

August 20, 2009 at 12:00 pm PST

I’m biased. We bought Pure Digital, maker of The Flip, back in March. So stop reading if you like. If you are still reading, here are my top reasons why the Flip Video Camera is great for any and all PR professionals.

1. Phenomenally good for media training. I do a lot of media training and while I give my feedback for why an answer is good or has “opportunities,” the Flip doesn’t lie. I take it into media training sessions and during the mock interview I record. When I give feedback, I either go answer by answer on the video or I give oral feedback and then send the video via mail afterwards. I think it has had a big impact in helping improve our media spokespeople…because, hey, everybody can improve, right? And, seeing yourself on video gives you great feedback and practice when doing broadcast or company videos.

2. Great for social media releases, blogs and even bubbletweet. The beauty of The Flip is that it is VERY easy to use. And compact. And, idiot proof (i.e. limited to no training required). We started using video in PR in earnest about two years ago. We bought a nice HD camera. We created a Cisco YouTube channel for our videos. And we started embedding them in blogs and using them to visually tell our stories. We love video at Cisco and these videos have been successful. One drawback, however, was the availability of the camera…and then cameras. Who has it, I need it, etc. Now, with the Flip…we all have one. We can always capture something on the fly or do a more formal, tri-pod assisted video. It IS a part of our PR teams toolkit. Further, now that we all have one it is also a part of our yearly objectives to USE it. We all have to make at least one video a quarter and post it to our blog or otherwise use it in the furtherance of PR. If you are with the media and you haven’t yet received a pitch from us via Flip video…WATCH YOUR INBOX…it’s gonna happen. Read More »

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