Network Automation Tools with Jason Edelman on Sofware Gone Wild

The stars have finally aligned, and after months of scheduling Jason and myself found time to chat about network automation tools and all the other exciting things Jason is doing (and blogging about).

We started with easy topics:

  • How do you get back into programming after spending more than a decade in networking?
  • Template builder: Hello World of network automation
  • Facing skepticism from fellow engineers
  • You can’t do it all alone - who’s going to maintain the code?

Next we focused on the typical tools you might use in your early projects:

  • Where should I start?
  • What programming language should I use?
  • What tool would be best for my job? Should I use Puppet or Ansible?
  • Why is it easier to use Ansible/Puppet/Chef in sysadmin environment than in networking?
  • What is Ansible Galaxy and should you be interested in it?
  • Which API should I use with boxes from different vendors?

Finally, we couldn’t help but ponder the esoteric topics like:

  • Declarative programming, promise theory, idempotency and impact of Cisco’s acquisition of Tail-F’s NCS;
  • Creative use of configuration management tools like Ansible for data extraction and network monitoring;
  • Giving sysadmins access to read-only network data;
  • Thinking programmatically, and turning your troubleshooting activities into step-by-step procedures that can be automated.

Enjoy the podcast and don’t forget to subscribe to the Software Gone Wild feed.


  1. "Netconf [on Cisco] is like CLI with wrappers" - That was largely true on Cisco's initial Netconf implementations. But I thought some of the newer OSes (IOS-XR?) had a less CLI-centric and more "data-centric"/hierarchical approach to configuration, and provided a nicer mapping between configuration and XML. But maybe that's just wishful thinking, as I haven't played with those implementations myself.
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