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Networking Summit: Automated Network Operations, presented by Network to Code - Day 2

Jason Edelman (Founder/CPO, Network to Code, LLC)

Matt Davy (WAN Architect and Automation Lead)

Jeremy Stretch (Network Developer, DigitalOcean)

Damien Garros (Network Reliability Engineer, Roblox)

Nick Russo (Technical Leader, Cisco)

Kirk Byers (Founder, Twin Bridges Technology)

Date: Tuesday, May 21

Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Pass type: All Access, Summits & Workshops - Get your pass now!

Track/Topic: Infrastructure

Format: Summit

Vault Recording: TBD

See Day 1

The network industry is in the midst of a drastic shift in the way networks are deployed, managed, and operated. This transformation includes adopting DevOps and software development methodologies coupled with IT service management and enterprise solutions for creating holistic systems to significantly improve network operations.

This two-day summit will be packed with segments including technical overviews, tutorials, and deep dives. Attendees will also hear from end users, engineers and senior leaders who are already well into their network operations and automation transformations.


Network Automation Transformation Phase 0: Source of Truth
Jeremy Stretch (Network Developer, DigitaOcean)

There are many technical and business aspects that blend together to form a successful network automation transformation, but at the root of that transformation is data. Networks comprise many different types of data like IP prefixes, device inventories, peering relationships, VLAN assignments, rack layouts, and much more. In a manual world, much of this information tends to live in a variety of different systems with differing levels of data hygiene. What’s worse, more often than not, tribal knowledge rarely gets expressed in a readily accessible format. Humans are capable of bridging the gaps between systems and their data, but our robot friends prefer to have more explicit representations and data constraints. As humans, we know we should strive to better document our networks and organize its data, but simply put, for network automation to be successful, this is a strict requirement. How then do we go about organizing that data to make it more accessible and what does that look like? Enter the concept of a network data model and source of truth (SoT). In this presentation, John Anderson, a Network Automation Engineer at Network to Code will introduce the core concepts of network data models and how sources of truth lay the foundation for effective network automation platforms. Together with Jeremy Stretch, the Network Development Manager at DigitalOcean, the two will demonstrate how NetBox (an open source IPAM and DCIM tool) can be used to put these principles into practice.

Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) in Product

At this point in 2019, most network vendors offer some form of Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) as a part of their products for bootstrapping network devices. Generally this allows a network operator to bootstrap a new device by installing an OS image and loading a configuration. Vendors typically keep these solutions simplistic to cover the broadest use case possible. This presentation with introduce some methods and concepts that can be used to extend these ZTP functions to build the right solution for your deployments. This session will guide you through a solution that was built and used in production which renders device configs on the fly, enabling large scale “pull-device-off-pallet” type ZTP deployments. It will focus on the differences in the vendor provided portion vs. what an organization will need to build for a platform to be successful. Important concepts that will be covered include the use of a Source of Truth, workflow orchestration, and process visibility.

Making YANG Usable for Network Automation

Network Automation: A Journey Not a Destination
Matt Davy (WAN Artichect and Automation Leader)
Historically, the network has been the last piece of infrastructure to be automated. The traditional argument has been that the network is the core component on which all other infrastructure components rely and therefore the risks are higher and more caution is required. However, if the benefits of automation actually include more reliable changes (ie fewer change induced outages), it logically follows that the network stands to benefit most from automation in terms of improving uptime.

But how do I get started ? How do I sell network automation to management ? What key choices do I need to be considering ? Where does automation belong in my organization structure ? What technologies should I be using ? Should I use commercial solutions, open source, or some combination of the two ? What are the common pitfalls and how do I avoid them ?

In this presentation, Matt Davy will share insights from his 20+ years of experience with network automation in a variety of service provider and enterprise organizations, including most recently at a large financial company. Learn from practical experience on a variety of topics ranging from technology choices to considerations for incremental deployment.

Network Automation Journey at Roblox, How to Build a Network Automation Stack From The Ground Up
Damien Garros (Network Reliability Engineer, Roblox)
In December 2017, Roblox’s network was managed in a traditional way without automation.
To sustained its growth, the team had to deploy 2 datacenters, a global network and multiple point of presence around the world in few months, the only solution to be able to achieve that was to automate everything.

12 months later, the team has made tremendous progress and many aspects of the network lifecycle has been automated from the routers, switches to the load balancers.

Synopsis

This talk is a retrospective of Roblox’s journey into Network automation:

* How we got started and how we automated an existing network.
* How and why we organized the project around a source of truth based on Github and Netbox
* How Docker helped us to package Ansible and create a consistent environment.
* How we managed many roles and variations of our design in a single project
* How we migrated from a traditional SNMP based monitoring to a modern architecture using Influxdb & Grafana

For each point, we’ll cover what was successful, what was more challenging and what limitations we had to deal with.

Just Enough Network Automation to Get You Started
There can be any number of real and perceived obstacles to getting started with Network Automation. There is no question that for many this revolution in networking is way, way outside our “comfort zone”. We’ve gone from network automation being a ‘boutique’ capability for those so inclined to a booming business with many choices. We’ve gone from “show interface” to Python, Netmiko, Ansible, REST, API, SaltStack, Postman, NETCONF, RESTCONF, JSON, YAML and so many more. Every day we get closer to a world where this is a required skill set rather than a desired one so lets get started.
We will take a common network engineering activity and look at performing that task using python and using Ansible so we can compare and contrast each approach. It’s time to revel in being outside your comfort zone.

A Deeper Look into Operationalizing Network Automation

Automation for Bureaucracies
Nick Russo (Technical Leader, Cisco)
Many networkers today have at least heard of common automation tools like Ansible. The value proposition of automated networking is without question, but some especially bureaucratic organizations struggle to adopt it (and struggle with change in general). Governments, large corporations, and other Byzantine holdovers still stand to gain much from automation, and I’ve developed a zero-risk Ansible role that anyone can adopt. The tool generates configuration snippets and professional looking documentation only, still empowering engineers to make changes, hence carrying no risk. I’ll demonstrate how the tool works and provide specific contextual examples of how my team used this in production to save millions of dollars for a large US Government customer.

Engineering Panel Finale: A Tale of Different Network Automation Perspective
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Jason Edelman (CCIE, Network to Code)
Nick Russo (Technical Leader, Cisco)
Kirk Byers (Twin Bridges Technology)
Have questions on the network automation industry--from either a strategic or low-level technical level? This panel is filled with engineers that can go as deep as you can on any network automation topic. Do you want to debate one product or tool with another? Do you want guidance on a network automation learning path? Every engineer on the panel has deployed or supported tools or code that are in production, while coaching or training many network engineers on their automation journey. In this summit finale, come prepared with all your network automation questions. The panelists have the answers! You won't want to miss this!

See Day 1