The Network Automation Journey
By Tony Bourke
This is a (probably) limited series where Tony Bourke, a networking instructor (Arista, Cisco, etc.) talks in a vendor-neutral way about the process of network automation, the basic concepts, and where everything falls into place.
Syntax or Models
Different devices have different native configuration methods. Generally they're either syntax (think Cisco IOS) or state-based (more rare, like Cisco ACI).
June 22, 2022
When I teach an automation course, I'll typically show a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HluANRwPyNo (a bit of foul language in it... but very realistic use of it) In networking, everyone Google's everything. Got an error message? Google Search. Can't remember how to do something? Google Search. The same is true in network automation. Also, this comic from XKCD: https://xkcd.com/979/
April 09, 2022
Recent discussions on Twitter and in a few classes brought up the venerable VI editor (or the more common upgrade to VI, VIM). It was once a must-learn tool for Unix/Linux/BSD administrators. It was used for editing configuration files, data entry, and even coding. These days it's not quite the must-have it used to be. In fact, most people working in the industry can get by with the less capable, but far easier to learn, nano editor.
March 09, 2022
In this episode, I talk about stunted careers, people (including myself at one point) that just won't learn anything new, despite the world passing them by. Luckily I got out of my stunted phase relatively quickly, but it's something I see in networking from time to time.
February 05, 2022
Bad Takes #1
Bad Takes: Is Ansible just automation for people who don't know Python? Of course not. And we'll talk about why.
January 31, 2022
Questions Part 2
@el_dude_abides asked a few more excellent questions which I did my best to answer: How do you lock down APIs? Experience with Terraform?
January 19, 2022
Undertaught Aspects of Network Automation: YAML, Dictionaries, Lists, JSON
One of the most important skills in network automation is to know your way around YAML files and JSON, to know the difference between lists and dictionaries, and how to iterate through them.
January 10, 2022
On Supplemental and Total Automation
In this episode, I talk briefly about two different depths of automation: Supplemental and Total. With supplemental automation, automation is used only on part of a config (SSH keys, DNS, NTP, etc.) while the rest of the device is configured in the traditional (i.e. manual) way. With complete automation, no more manual configuration is done and the entire configuration is done through some sort of automated means.
December 31, 2021
Network Automation Questions #1
On twitter (my handle is @tbourke) I asked for people to submit any questions about network automation that they might have. I got one response pretty quickly from @el_dude_abides, and here were their questions: Will SNMP ever go away? YANG or NETCONF? GUI or CLI best? Will application & server peoples ever understand how their stuff works? (i.e. ports, transport, source/destination) All great questions, and I want to thank the Network Dude for asking them. I answer them in this episode. Enjoy!
December 29, 2021
Python and Network Automation
What is the relationship between Python and Network Automation? It's easy to conflate the two, and while they're highly related network automation isn't just Python.
December 27, 2021
Pep Talk for Network Administrators Learning Automation
In this episode I give you a "pep talk", a bit of encouragement for those that are experiencing some fear and perhaps even some loathing when it comes to learning network automation. Generally, I see three main reasons why students I encounter and network professional are hesitant to learn network automation skills and tools: They think they don't have the talent for it (the midichlorian problem) They think they'll automate themselves out of a job They think they're too old to learn I go through each one and talk about them. I hope it helps address any hesitation you might have.
December 08, 2021
My Personal Network Automation Journey
In this first episode, I talk about how I got into network automation (by way of server automation from the late 1990's).
November 29, 2021
What Is This Podcast? Episode 0
This podcast is a series of single person, just me (Tony Bourke) talking about the network automation journey. While there's a lot of resources out there to help people use the tools of automation (Ansible, Arista CloudVision, Python, DCNM/ACI, etc.) I think there's not as much talk about some of the fundamental concepts, motivations, and how to address the "fear and loathing" of automation that the networking community can sometimes express regarding automation.
November 11, 2021