Vendors CLI Usability vs UNIX Shell

Justin M. Streiner streiner at
Sun Jul 21 05:33:06 UTC 2013

On Sun, 21 Jul 2013, Kasper Adel wrote:

> My vendor is giving me speeches on how they are improving their
> product Serviceability, Usability and Manageability. They told me they
> are adding a lot of new way of doing things, introducing more Unix-like
> utilities and over all making CLI smarter by exposing more visibility into
> system status and stuff like that.

So... catching up with where many other vendors have been for years?

> I wouldnt imagine Huawei doing anything advanced there so i guess its J vs
> C on this front. But i'd be interested in comparing them to Unix/Linux
> Shells too.

JunOS is pretty much BSD on top of specialized hardware, so a lot of the 
CLI functionality is Unix-like.  You can pipe the output of a command into 
another command, do regex matching, tab auto-completion, start shells, 

Cisco is leaning in that direction, depending on the platform.  IOS has 
some of the same functionality, but NX-OS is built on a Linux kernel, so 
the Unix-like functionality is 'closer to the surface' than it is with 

Some other vendors' gear (F5, Infoblox) is built on a Linux kernel, so 
their CLIs are often 'shells' within that environment, and how much 
access to the underlying OS depends on what the CLI allows you to do.

I'm not too sure what other major vendors' CLIs look like, so I can't 
comment on them.

Also, some vendors offer other ways of managing their gear (web 
interfaces, proprietary GUIs (there is a special place in hell for these 
vendors), etc.  One thing to watch out for is whether parity exists 
between the CLI and whatever other means the vendor provides for managing 
their stuff.  I can think of a few cases where this isn't (or wasn't) the 


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