Free Exercise: Build Network Automation Lab

A while ago, someone made a remark on my suggestions that networking engineers should focus on getting fluent with cloud networking and automation:

The running thing is, we can all learn this stuff, but not without having an opportunity.

I tend to forcefully disagree with that assertion. What opportunity do you need to test open-source tools or create a free cloud account? My response was thus correspondingly gruff:

There are exactly zero barriers to entry when you want to learn cloud or automation. All public cloud providers have a free tier, and most popular automation tools have an open-source/free version. The “only” thing you need is motivation and time.

However, thinking about this topic, I slowly realized that some people might have a problem figuring out how to start the learning process, so I decided to publish the hands-on exercises from Building Network Automation Solutions and Networking in Public Cloud Deployments courses.

The first automation exercise is already public: Build Your Own Automation Lab.

I’m pretty optimistic you can solve it using public documentation. Still, it might be faster to use my build recipe and Vagrant Deep Dive by Dinesh Dutt. You have to decide where on the time/investment continuum you want to be.

In Case You’re Wondering…

Why are you doing this? When you think about it, nothing I do is rocket science. It’s just public information repackaged in a structured and easy-to-consume format.

The hands-on exercises that are part of the online courses are not some secret unicorn stuff (neither are most things marketed by various vendors, but I’m digressing). Once you figure out what someone needs to master to get fluent in automation or cloud networking, it’s pretty straightforward to create a set of steps that would gradually get you there.

Are there any strings attached? No. You can take the exercises and use them in any way you wish as long as you respect the copyright at the bottom of each page… which also means “don’t use them in your own training materials” (why do you think I had to point this out?). You will have to register for a free subscription to access them; while I’m OK working for karma points, I’m not a saint (and I never claimed I was one).

What am I missing? Oh, tons of things, but I have to charge for them. Related webinars explain the details, course materials are going even deeper, and you’ll be missing support and exercise reviews unless you enroll in the corresponding online course.


  1. Thanks Ivan, this is great stuff. See also Forrest Brazeal's "Cloud Resumé Challenge":

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