This is the first in a multi-part series where we cover ‘programmability’ for networking. The idea is to fully review the programming options now available inside the Nexus switches, (3000, 9000). This first episode covers new access with Linux tools, NX-API and more. Further shows will be diving into the details around Object Models and orchestration partners.
The primary point for any of these is to understand how Cisco Open NX-OS extensibility exposes greater programmability and automation capabilities. It is fascinating and full of new learning opportunities. It does not come without a few career questions of course…usually, something along the lines of: do network engineers need to become programmers now too?
Two answers: Yes. It depends.
Networking knowledge and skill should not be undersold here. Programming capabilities should be additive. They are useful in just about any tech career and obviously affecting the networking space. I think it’s foolish to ever quit learning but it does depend on your aspirations, your current level of satisfaction and perhaps how narrowly defined your skill set might be.
Full disclosure: I am not a programmer. I have been learning the fundamentals of python and a few others as I work on this series but I am not hire-able for this skill by any means. But the distinct feeling I get, and the feedback I hear from you guys: its not that hard. You are probably well versed in scripting for various CLI operations…take it up a few notches and work on some of these ‘readable’ languages that will have similar syntax. This will give you the ability to judge the appeal of what we are offering with ACI and other solutions much more credibly…and I guarantee you will find ways to get rid of redundant crap and stupid errors you may be fighting with yourself or your team.
JOIN US AT THE WORKSHOP
Live, interactive, never dull.
September 21, 2015
Programmable networks will forever change the way you manage infrastructure enabling you to dramatically accelerate configuration and deployment of your network, automate time consuming manual tasks, and allocate IT resources far more efficiently. Are you ready for the revolution?
Discover how to create a programmable network as we discuss and demonstrate the NX-API and NX-API REST (Object Model) in detail. Understand how Cisco Open NX-OS extensibility exposes greater programmability and automation capabilities that eliminate costly manual errors.
– You can sign up at the workshop tab when the date gets a bit closer, http://www.techwisetv.com
Two great experts on this episode.
Shane Corban shares Six Key Points: What OPEN means for NX-OS
Changes made across the software stack to address Extensibility, Openness, Programmability.
- Auto Deployment (Bootstrap and Provisioning)
- Added support for PXE server, operationalize NX-OS software to match an existing server environment
- Extensibility – how we package software
- We did not use to expose much beyond a bash shell
- Now you can install native RPM’s, and third party applications running processes as they would on a Linux server
- Open Interfaces
- We are now adding support to leverage Linux like tools for debugging, configuration and troubleshooting…manipulate those front panel ports as native Linux interfaces within our switch software stack.
- Application Integration (Adaptable SDK)
- Published an SDK, a build environment that you can install on any Linux server, download the build agent, and put your source into that directory structure and build into an RPM for installation and run it natively.
- Build your own custom automation apps, monitoring agents, and have them run natively on our platform
- Programmability Tool Choice
- We have a native Python shell today that has a Native Cisco Library that you can utilize for automation
- NX-API – the ability to embed CLI commands and structured data (JSON, XML) for execution on the switch via HTTP/HTTPS Interface to get back structured data back on show commands.
- Management Tools
- Support for Chef and Puppet
- Agents will be publicly available on the enterprise sites
- Support for Open Stack, Neutron
NX-OS is now more modular, more open, more capable of third party integration providing a wide variety of programmability choices ideal for Dev-Ops environments.
Nicolas provides five case study examples.
- Checking Software Version
- Using Python script with NXAPI and JSON to pull version numbers
- Python script to query multiple switches to check compliance against a specific version
- VLAN Provisioning
- Checking for proper VLAN provisioning
Matt Oswalt is a great writer. You should follow his blog: Keeping it Classless. I enjoy his angles on things. Read up on his blog entry: Evolution of Network Programmability, Nexus 9000 NX-API,NX-API Update.
Some Learning Basics:
- Thank you to Cisco Learning Network for helping me with their class: Network Programmability Fundamentals (You should check this out yourself).
- I love my Lynda.com membership. There are a number of very well done programming courses here. I have been working through ‘Up and Running with Python’ a well done, hands on course from Joe Marini.
What do you think still needs to be covered? I would love any thoughts on how the rest of this series should be shaped. Leave your comments below and just to make sure…tag me on twitter. We are diving into Object Models (taping next week) and then some angle with the Orchestration Partners. Case in point: Puppet Labs is making available today a native Puppet NX-OS agent and Cisco Puppet Module.
Let me know!