Getting started with network automation can be tough. It is worth the effort though, when a product like Cisco Network Services Orchestrator (NSO) can to turn your network services into a powerful orchestration engine. Over the past year, we have released a series of learning labs that cover the foundational skills needed to develop with NSO:

Now we are proud to announce the final piece of the puzzle. We’re bringing it all together with the new service development labs for NSO. If this is your first time hearing about Cisco NSO and service development, let’s review some of the context.

Why change is the only constant

Network programmability has been enhancing our networking builds, changes, and deployments for several years now. For the most part, this was inspired by Software Defined Networks – i.e., networks based on scripting methods, using standard programming languages to control and monitor your network device infrastructure.

Software-defined networking principles can deliver abstractions of existing network infrastructure. This enables faster service development and deployment. Standards such as NETCONF and YANG are currently the driving force behind these abstractions, and are enabling a significant improvement in network management. Scripting can take out a lot of laborious and repetitive tasks. However, it may still have  shortfalls, as it can focus on single devices, one vendor, or one platform.

Service orchestration simplifies network operations

Service orchestration simplifies network operations and management of network services. Instead of focusing on a particular device and system configuration that builds a network service, only the important inputs are collected. The rest of the steps and processes for delivery are automated. The actual details, such as vendor-specific configurations on network devices and the correct ordering of steps, are abstracted from the user of the service. This results in consistent configurations, prevention of errors and outages, and overall cost reduction of managing a network.

Remove the complexity

With NSO services, service application maps input parameters to create, modify, and delete a service instance into the resulting native commands to devices in the network. The input parameters are given from a northbound system such as a self-service portal via an API (Application Programming Interface). This calls to NSO or a network engineer using any of the NSO User Interfaces such as the NSO CLI.

Stuart NSO learning lab

NSO Service Development Module

In this new NSO learning lab you will learn how NSO services simplify network operations, how they work, and how to develop a template-based service. You will also use Python for scripting and service development, and to develop nano services. The module is broken into three sections which will guide you through use cases of NSO Service Developments.

  • Introduction to NSO Service Development – How NSO services simplify network operations, how they work, and how to develop a template-based service
  • Python Scripts and NSO Service Development – Python Scripts and NSO Service Development
  • NSO Nano Service Development – How to develop nano services in NSO

Stuart NSO learning lab

Try it yourself now

You can find the new NSO Service deployment module in the  NSO Basics for Network Operations Learning Track. All these new learning labs can be run and tested in the NSO DevNet reservation sandbox.

One of the things I embrace as an engineer is that change will happen. It might happen overnight, or over an extended period of time. But, it will happen. The only constant in the networking and software industry is ‘change.’ Let’s embrace this!

Related resources

We’d love to hear what you think. Ask a question or leave a comment below.
And stay connected with Cisco DevNet on social!

LinkedIn | Twitter @CiscoDevNet | Facebook | YouTube Channel


Stuart Clark

Senior Developer Advocate Of Community, AWS