Avatar

Overview

In this, the last episode of our ongoing DNA Center Automation Series, our focus is on advanced automation methods which allow us to solve various use cases within a network from DNA Center. During this lab, we will discuss how to modify various velocity templates to deal with specific use cases so that DNA Center provisioning can enable those use cases via automation. This enables you, the network administrator, the ability to solve more types of configuration issues from DNA Center and to deal with the dynamics of an enterprise network.

What will I learn in the Advanced Automation Lab?

This is an enablement type lab and it allows customers to reach beyond what they currently understand by trying new concepts, really push the boundaries of automation. During this lab, we will cover various topics with regard to template logic to solve various use cases. We cover some previous concepts with an in-depth focus on broadening their capabilities.

The concept of this lab is for you to rebuild the regular templates to solidify your understanding of templates, and so that you may substitute them into the composite to test with. Different methods for the varying use cases will be given explaining both the pros and cons along the way. Expand your capabilities with this lab and take your abilities to the next level. You’re only inhibited by your own imagination.

Topics

The various topics we will touch on in the lab consist of the following:

  1. Self-deleting EEM scripts
  2. Working with Arrays and Methods in Velocity
  3. Using Conditional Statements for Configuration
  4. Velocity and Enable versus Interactive mode
  5. Assigning port configuration in a stack
  6. Autoconf vs Smartports
  7. IBNS 2.0 configuration

Use Cases

We will cover the Topics above in a number of use cases to show the capability and flexibility of the templating engine within DNA Center. While we will utilize Velocity language the same can be accomplished in the Jinja2 language.

  1. Renaming interfaces
  2. Building Stacks
  3. Assigning port configuration
  4. Autoconf port configuration
  5. Non SDA IBNS 2.0 port configuration

With that, the lab covers these topics in-depth;

We will gain a practical understanding of the steps associated with setting up DNA Center and an environment to support complex, advanced, regular templates to deliver device configuration during these labs. The labs aim to aid engineers in rapidly beginning using DNA Center automation and help them work towards a global template strategy. Additionally, these labs will give customers a permanent place to try out the regular and composite templates and include configurations for various use cases. Finally, this environment will enable engineers to reduce the time and effort needed to instantiate the network.

Additional things covered in the lab;

Autoconf

In these labs, we will use Autoconf which is a solution that can be used to manage port configurations for data or voice VLAN, quality of service (QoS) parameters, storm control, and MAC-based port security on end devices that are deployed in the access layer of a network. Device classification is enabled when you enable the Autoconf feature using the autoconf enable global configuration mode command. The device detection acts as an event trigger, which in turn applies the appropriate automatic template to the interface. When the Autoconf feature is enabled using the autoconf enable command, the default Autoconf service policy is applied to all the interfaces. For more information about Autoconf.

Self-Destructing EEM scripts

Self-Destructing EEM scripts are those that delete themselves on termination. Within the EEM script, it has code that removes the EEM applet from the configuration, and then the configuration is written to NVRAM prior to terminating. The uses for such a script are numerous, and this lab covers one specific use case but an imaginative mind can come up with many other uses for such a feature.

IBNS 2.0 Configuration

While not covering all the aspects of IBNS 2.0, we cover the configuration that we may implement in order to allow for automating host onboarding within a non-SD-Access campus network. These concepts while not built into a formal UI within DNA Center for legacy networks allow organizations that wish to automate their infrastructure the chance to automate.

The format of the code within all these sections of the lab is in an easy copy-to-paste window allowing you to import them into DNA Center simply by pasting them into the editor.

How can I get started?

Within dCLOUD, several sandbox-type labs are available. These self-contained environments are there to allow you to use them as you please within the time scheduled. In addition, this allows us a place to start practicing various concepts without fear of impacting production environments.

As a result, we hope to demystify some of the complexities of setting up automation and help guide customers through the caveats. Therefore, to aid customers in the transition toward automation, we have put together a set of small helpful labs within a Github repository. In this way, these self-guided labs provide a glimpse into the fundamentals of building velocity templates and offer examples that you can download and expand from. In addition, the sample templates and JSON files supplied are for easy import into DNA Centers’ template editor for quicker adoption. Lastly, some scripts are ready-made excerpts of code that allow you to build the environment to test.

In this practical lab, Advanced Automation, we step by step delve into advanced automation methods and ways to utilize them to solve various use cases. Second, we provide answers and explanations to many of the questions that come up during automation workshops. We hope that you find the information both helpful and informative.

Where can I test and try these labs?

dCLOUD Lab Environment

To help customers succeed with Cisco DNA Center automation, you may utilize the above labs as they have been designed to work within dCLOUD’s Cisco Enterprise Networks Hardware Sandbox v2.1 Lab. The dCLOUD labs allow you to run these labs and gives an environment to try the various code samples. You may choose to develop and export your code for use in production environments. Also, this gives you an environment where you can safely POC/POV methods and steps without harming your production environments. The dCLOUD environment also negates the need for shipping equipment, lead times, and licensing issues needed to get moving rapidly. Please do adhere to the best practices for the dCLOUD environment when using it.

Lab Connectivity

The environment allows for a web-based browser client for VPN-less connectivity. Additionally, there is AnyConnect VPN client connectivity for those who prefer it. Choose the Cisco Enterprise Network Sandbox v2.1 or 3.1. Additionally, you may choose from our San Jose and RTP Facilities labs by either selecting US East or US West. To access this or other content, demonstrations, and labs in dCLOUD, please directly work with your Cisco or Partner Account Team. Your Account teams will schedule the session and share it for you to use. Once booked, follow the guide within Github to complete the tasks adhering to the best practices of the dCLOUD environment.

Content

The Advanced Automation lab content is located within the existing DNAC-TEMPLATES repository to give a one-stop-shop for all the necessary tools, scripts, templates, and code samples. Within it are seven labs, which build upon the tutorials to test the methods in a lab environment. The repository was featured in a previous post on Cisco Blogs about DNA Center Templates earlier in May 2021.

Additional Information

DNAC Template LABS

Additional labs aim to guide you through the typical steps required to enable the various automation tasks. This lab delves into the concepts of building and deploying advanced automation templates to deal with specific use cases. As a result, it also gives us access to suitable testing equipment within the LAB environment. Additionally, information within the lab provides a well-rounded explanation of Automation methods within Templates. Lastly, the lab enables customers ability to use DNA Center workflows. This lab gives an environment for customers to practice deploying advanced automation on both Wired and Wireless Platforms.

This lab’s goal is to be a practical aid for engineers developing a QoS automation strategy. Additionally, customers will gain a permanent place to try out the policies for various use cases. Finally, this environment will enable engineers to reduce the time and effort needed to instantiate the network.

Additional Labs

Please use this menu to navigate the various sections of this Github repository. Within the multiple folders are examples, explanation readme files for reference.

  • PnP Preparation – This lab explains the overall Plug and Play set up steps
  • Onboarding Templates – This lab demonstrates in-depth and how to deploy Day 0 templates
  • Day N Templates – This lab will dive into Day N template constructs and use cases
  • Composite Templates – This lab will explore how to build a composite template on DNA Center
  • Application Policys – This lab will explain Application Policys in DNAC and their use
  • Telemetry – This lab will explain how to deploy Telemetry for assurance
  • Advanced Automation – This lab will explain how to deploy Telemetry for assurance

We will share additional labs and content in an ongoing effort to fulfill all your automation needs with DNA Center.

In conclusion, if you found this set of labs and repository helpful,

please fill in comments and feedback on how it could be improved.


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

Check out our Cisco Networking video channel

Subscribe to the Networking blog