Network device command line interfaces

Alex Harrowell a.harrowell at
Mon Nov 28 12:32:53 CST 2011

Ray Soucy <rps at> wrote:

>One of the biggest benefits to a CLI is the ability to easily script
> 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
>Seems like the wrong direction to me.  If someone wants a managed
>they probably intend to manage it.
>I think a big key to the success of Cisco (and Juniper, etc) has been
>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,
>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
>> 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
>> text based menus and binary config backup files.
>> Doe this p*** off anyone else? The business part of the company says
>> 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
>> to the market. Does anyone know if there is anything along these
>> Jonathon.
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>Ray Soucy
>Epic Communications Specialist
>Phone: +1 (207) 561-3526
>Networkmaine, a Unit of the University of Maine System

If you've done a proper CLI, you can easily do a good REST API. If you've done that a good Web GUI is possible. 

It doesn't work the other way round.

Sent from my Android phone with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.

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