Network engineers keep hearing about Software Defined Networking (SDN) and wonder, “Will I have to become a programmer to keep my job?” The answer is, “Probably not.” However, there’s still an awful lot to be said for network engineers becoming familiar with the tools of network automation. There’s a gain in productivity to be had by eliminating repetitive work, as well as a reduction in human error. Plus, there’s the chance to integrate certain network provisioning tasks with the larger automated IT world.
In this show, network automation geeks Jeremy Schulman and John Deatherage join host Ethan Banks for a practical look at getting started with Python and a host of related tools that the networking industry is making use of. The point being…you can, too. The automation movement in networking is driven in no small part by the open source community, meaning that there’s a lot of tools available for free.
Special note that Jay Swan of the “Loopback Mountain” blog was also going to be a guest on this show, but was called away at the last minute and couldn’t join the discussion. Jay wrote “Quick Thoughts on Learning Python” as a contribution to the community. Give it a read if you’re going to dip your toe in the Python waters.
Our conversation runs through the following questions.
- Why is the networking industry heading toward programming of network devices?
- When does it make sense to use programming techniques instead of the CLI?
- There’s lots of available tools when it comes to programming. Why Python?
- What does an engineer need to run Python scripts? (interpreter, text editor, IDE, Windows vs. Linux vs. Mac OS X, etc.)
- Where can folks go for a example networking scripts to help them get started?
- What are some other tools aside from Python that the networking automation community is working with?