There was a trending topic buzzing on every corner of Cisco Live Las Vegas this year  — network automation and orchestration. It was not difficult to spot the interest among the attendees, For example, the DevNet Certification guides and Network Programmability books were in everybody’s hands at the Cisco Store. Also, there was a huge interest on these topics among the attendees of the DevNet Zone at the venue. NSO, DevOps, NETCONF, Python, Git … these were some of the popular words which I overheard the most from the people in this part of the WoS (World of Solutions).

Fortunately, this year’s CLUS agenda was packed with content that curious attendees were able to watch in order to embrace this automation-first mindset. Whether it was for dipping the toes, or doing a full immersion on the technical specs, there was a perfect session for everybody. As a presenter and developer advocate, I really enjoyed attending the sessions of my colleagues.

Here are some session highlights I’d like to share

If you were interested on getting the full picture of NSO top to bottom, the session TECOPS-1201 From Zero to Hero Cisco Network Service Orchestrator (NSO) by Carlos Romero and Hector Oses was the place to be. You could enter without knowing what NSO is, and leave the room excited to bring the platform into your network for all sorts of thrilling use cases.

If your intention was to go beyond the theoretical approach and experience real-life examples around DevOps, the session BRKOPS-2506 Automated Testing of NSO with Robot Framework – Tools and Best Practices by Maciej Malysz would leave you wanting to design and implement a full test suite assisted by Git, Jenkins and more for your next deployment.

More advanced topics

If you were looking forward to enhancing your YANG modelling skills, the DevNet Classroom session DEVNET-3014 Advanced YANG Data Modeling for Cisco NSO by Bartosz Luraniec would provide you with a very powerful set of elements for creating flawless models for your services. Moreover, Viktor Leijon delivered the session BRKATO-3000 Advanced Automation with Cisco NSO where attendees could take note of more complex capabilities of NSO services such as kickers and nano-services.

Finally, it is always good to check interesting projects based on these technologies in order to be inspired and bring good ideas back home. Jason King presented a very interesting project in his session DEVNET-2273 Model-Driven DevOps – The Enterprise Automation Framework You’ve Been Looking For! He showcased a practical approach based on OpenConfig for delivering a full CI/CD workflow. At the same time, Ankush Arora, Manoj Kumar and Kiran Kulkarni presented a platform based on NSO and Kubernetes in their session entitled DevNet-3320 Digital Replica of the Network in Public/Private Clouds with Kubernetes and NSO precisely for performing full cloud replicas using a web interface.

Making the “jump”

I would like to finish with a personal note while being staff at the DevNet Zone. Many people would reach out to us asking about where to learn programming basics and how to get hands-on experience with network automation. Most would refer to this as a “jump” from the core networking world into a software-first networking industry, provided that this is where all IT trends have been shifting to for some time now.

Although most engineers had big projects in mind, there were many as well who had small yet mighty projects for enhancing the operations within their teams. There were even teachers who were looking for resources to showcase the full potential of network automation and orchestration to their students.

Moreover, plenty of people reached out asking for practical advice regarding NSO day-to-day work. How to do the modelling for a specific use case, which service approach to employ, and more. I was very happy to provide advice based on my experience.

In the end, Cisco Live 2022 was amazing not just because of the network automation technology, the breakthrough innovation, or the lights and flashes of Las Vegas. It is always the people who make this community so vibrant and exciting.

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Poncho Sandoval

Software Consulting Engineer

SWAT (Software and Automation) CX Lisbon