Most network automation presentations you can find on the Internet focus on configuration management, either to provision new boxes, or to provision new services, so it’s easy to assume that network automation is really a fancy new term for consistent device configuration management.
However, as I explained in the Network Automation 101 webinar, there’s so much more you can do and today I’d like to share a real-life example from Jaakko Rautanen, an alumni of my Building Network Automation Solutions online course.
I have to share my first real life experience of network automation. My customer had major power outage for two huge distribution centers next to each other yesterday. After this the customer asked me to report what devices rebooted during that time to see if the UPS systems were working correctly. There are about 100 switch stacks in the building. Perfect use case for uptime report. While this can be done multiple ways, I decided to use Ansible. During this process I learned how to use Ansible vault so that no clear text password are stored in text files. Also I used napalm to get uptime and wrote Jinja2 filter to convert uptime seconds to human readable format. It works and I'm happy ;)
How easy could you do that in your network? Could you get that data easily from your existing network management tool?
Also, now that Jaakko has invested some time to create the automation infrastructure to solve what seems to be a simple problem (after all, one would hope you can get uptime report from your favorite network management tool), he can easily create reports on any information the devices can provide.