From Excel to Network Infrastructure as Code with Carl Buchmann

After a series of forward-looking podcast episodes we returned to real life and talked with Carl Buchmann about his network automation journey, from managing upgrades with Excel and using Excel as the configuration consistency tool to network-infrastructure-as-code concepts he described in a guest blog post in February 2018

Wonder what his intermediate steps were, why he decided to replace Excel with proper automation tools, why he believes everything you do should be stored in a Git repository, why you should use an editor with syntax highlighting, linting, and Git integration…? Listen to Episode 95 of Software Gone Wild.

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  1. What you and your friends understand by IaC is too little abstracted from my POV. I want to consume services through APIs and not dealing with implementation details (for example assigning VLANs to ports by editing text files).
    1. What you're talking about is an abstraction layer, not infrastructure-as-code.

      Ask yourself: HOW do you want to consume those APIs? Using GUI?
    2. I want to consume the APIs programmatically (declarative), store my states in files and track it with a version control system. With the imperative approach I've gained nothing (it's just configuration templating).
  2. Excel can be useful for these kind of things. I've built JUNOS configs for labbing purposes with lots of logical-systems and all IP addresses and Logical-tunnel interface-numbers were calculated by Excel.
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