You’ve seen the meme: AUTOMATE ALL THE THINGS. And for the most part, you can. In the data center of today, automating just about anything you want to can be done with your choice of scripting languages, configuration management tools, and more.
But networking has largely remained that blank cloud on the whiteboard. That unknown thing that hampers the known things of storage and compute. Why has networking been so far behind the automation curve? Why is the network such a difficult bit of infrastructure to automate? And what progress has the industry made towards fixing this problem?
Joining the Datanauts today to sketch in the details of that whiteboard network cloud is Jason Edelman. Jason is the founder of Network to Code, a consultancy that provides training and services around network automation, DevOps, virtualization, and open networking. Jason is a CCIE and VCDX.
To join the Network to Code Slack channel, you can sign up at slack.networktocode.com.
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Part 1 – Network Automation Is Hard
- Why is network automation so painful?
- Snowflake architectures
- Unpredictable infrastructure (Cisco vs. Juniper vs. Arista vs. …)
- Craptastic interfaces
- Hard to reverse when it blows up
- OOB control networks are not ubiquitous
- Screw it up competently enough, and you take down the whole DC
Part 2 – But It’s Getting Better
- We have interfaces!
- APIs (you know, sorta)
- We have tools! Tools that integrate with what other people are using, too
- Ansible (and related)
- Python & netmiko
- How does automation help with design / architecture, if at all?
- We have modeling!
- We have intent!
- Do we have intent?
- How do we describe what we want the network to be, anyway?
Part 3 – You Can Learn
- Jason, how in the bleep did you learn all this stuff when there was no path to follow?
- What do you recommend for folks who want to get into this?
- I need to learn this on the cheap. Can you recommend lab infrastructure?