Network device command line interfaces

James Jones james at
Mon Nov 28 12:32:03 CST 2011

On Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 1:25 PM, Ray Soucy <rps at> wrote:

> One of the biggest benefits to a CLI is the ability to easily script tasks.
>  In a Cisco environment I can roll out major changes to hundreds of
> switches in seconds, for example.
> A lot of network vendors have been trying to make network devices more
> simple and easier to use while the complexity of networking has gone up.
>  Seems like the wrong direction to me.  If someone wants a managed switch,
> they probably intend to manage it.
> I think a big key to the success of Cisco (and Juniper, etc) has been that
> they "get it" in this respect.
> Even companies like Vyatta have invested time in a Web UI rather than
> expanding the core functionality offered (multicast routing support, for
> example), which doesn't seem like the best idea.
> On Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 11:41 PM, Jonathon Exley <
> Jonathon.Exley at> wrote:
> > Does anyone else despair at the CLIs produced by networking vendors?
> > Real routers use a CLI that is command based, like IOS, TiMOS or Junos.
> > These interfaces work well over low bandwidth connections (unlike web
> > interfaces), can work with config backup systems like RANCID, have a
> > (mostly) consistent structure and good show commands.
> > However vendors of low cost routers/switches/muxes seem to take a stab in
> > the dark and produce some really nasty stuff. I have a personal hate of
> > text based menus and binary config backup files.
> > Doe this p*** off anyone else? The business part of the company says
> "This
> > device is great! It's cheap and does everything." However the poor sap
> who
> > is given the task to make it work has to wrestle with a badly designed
> user
> > interface and illogical syntax.
> > Maybe the vendors need some sort of best practices guide for what
> > manageability features their kit needs to support to make them acceptable
> > to the market. Does anyone know if there is anything along these lines?
> >
> >
> > Jonathon.
> >
> >
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> --
> Ray Soucy
> Epic Communications Specialist
> Phone: +1 (207) 561-3526
> Networkmaine, a Unit of the University of Maine System

Well said. I write scripts all day long to perform automation on networking
equipment. A device needs to have a CLI, but if you have a GUI too make for
darn sure that I can access all features in either one.

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