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Building network automation solutions

6 week online course

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Packet Forwarding on Linux on Software Gone Wild

Linux operating system is used as the foundation for numerous network operating systems including Arista EOS and Cumulus Linux. It provides most networking constructs we grew familiar with including interfaces, VLANs, routing tables, VRFs and contexts, but they behave slightly differently from what we’re used to.

In Software Gone Wild Episode 86 Roopa Prabhu and David Ahern explained the fundamentals of packet forwarding on Linux, and the differences between Linux and more traditional network operating systems.

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Webinars in 2017

2017 was one of the busiest years since I started the ipSpace.net project.

It started with an Ansible for Networking Engineers session covering advanced Ansible topics and network device configurations. Further sessions of that same webinar throughout 2017 added roles, includes, extending Ansible with dynamic inventory, custom modules and filters, and using NAPALM with Ansible.

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Ansible, Chef, Puppet or Salt? Which One Should I Use?

One of the first things I did when I started my deep-dive into network automation topics was to figure what tools people use to automate stuff and (on a pretty high level) what each one of these tools do.

You often hear about Ansible, Chef and Puppet when talking about network automation tools, with Salt becoming more popular, and CFEngine being occasionally mentioned. However, most network automation engineers prefer Ansible. Here are a few reasons.

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Event-Driven Automation on Building Network Automation Solutions Online Course

Most engineers talking about network automation focus on configuration management: keeping track of configuration changes, generating device configurations from data models and templates, and deploying configuration changes.

There’s another extremely important aspect of network automation that’s oft forgotten: automatic response to internal or external events. You could wait for self-driving networks to see it implemented, or learn how to do it yourself.

On March 20th live session of Building Network Automation Solutions online course David Gee will dive deeper into event-driven network automation. As he explains the challenge:

When it comes to running infrastructure and infrastructure services, a lot of the decision making is human based. Someone reads a ticket, someone decides what to do. Someone gets alerted to an event and that someone does something about it. This involvement causes friction in the smooth-running nature of automated processes. Fear not! Something can be done about it.

We all know the stories of ITIL and rigid process management and David will show you how event-driven automation could be made reality even with strict and rigid controls, resulting in an environment that reacts automatically to stimuli from your services and infrastructure. We will discuss what events are, when they're important, how to normalize them, and what we can do when we have identified an event positively. We will also discuss commercial vs open source options along with their pros and cons.

Finally, you will see a live demonstration of both syslog and ICMP powered event driven automation in action. Links to usable code samples will be provided in the session so you reproduce the demos in your own environment.

Interested? Register now!

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Meltdown and Its Networking Equivalents

One of my readers sent me this question:

Do you have any thoughts on this meltdown HPTI thing? How does a hardware issue/feature become a software vulnerability? Hasn't there always been an appropriate level of separation between kernel and user space?

There’s always been privilege-level separation between kernel and user space, but not the address space separation - kernel has been permanently mapped into the high-end addresses of user space (but not visible from the user-space code on systems that had decent virtual memory management hardware) since the days of OS/360, CP/M and VAX/VMS (RSX-11M was an exception since it ran on 16-bit CPU architecture and its designers wanted to support programs up to 64K byte in size).

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Worth Reading: Robust IPAM

Elisa Jasinska covered several IPAMs in her overview of open-source network automation tools, and we had Jeremy Stretch talking about NetBox in the Building Network Automation Solutions online course, but if you’re looking for a really robust easy-to-implement solution, check out this document from 1998 (deployment experience, including a large-scale one).

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Upcoming ipSpace.net Events

2018 has barely started and we’re already crazily busy:

The last week of January is Cisco Live Europe week. I’ll be there as part of the Tech Field Day Extra event – drop by or send me an email if you’ll be in Barcelona during that week.

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Fat Fingers Strike Again…

Level3 had a pretty bad bad-hair-day just a day before Pete Lumbis talked about Continuous Integration on the Building Network Automation Solutions online course (yes, it was a great lead-in for Pete).

According to messages circulating on mailing lists it was all caused by a fumbled configuration attempt. My wild guess: someone deleting the wrong route map, causing routes that should have been tagged with no-export escape into the wider Internet.

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BGP Route Selection: a Failure of Intent-Based Networking

It’s interesting how the same pundits who loudly complain about the complexities of BGP (and how it will be dead any time soon and replaced by an SDN miracle) also praise the beauties of intent-based networking… without realizing that the hated BGP route selection process represents one of the first failures of intent-based approach to networking.

Let’s start with some definitions. There are two ways to get a job done by someone else:

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New Design on www.ipSpace.net

One of my readers sent me a polite email a while ago saying “your site is becoming like $majorVendor’s web site – every corner looks completely different based on when you made it

The worst part is that he was right, so I spent the last two weeks as a website janitor, mopping up broken markup, fixing CSS cracks, polishing old texts…

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