Templating/automating configuration

Brian Knight ml at knight-networks.com
Tue Jun 6 20:48:20 CST 2017

Because we had different sources of truth which were written in-house, we wound up rolling our own template engine in Python. It took about 3 weeks to write the engine and adapt existing templates.  Given a circuit ID, it generates the full config for copy and paste into a terminal session.  It also hooks into a configuration parser tool, written in-house, that tracks configured interfaces, so it is easy to see whether the template would overwrite an existing interface.

I used the Jinja2 template engine, along with pyodbc/unixODBC/FreeTDS for access to a Microsoft SQL backend.

The keys for us are:

* extracting information from a source of truth

* validating the information for correctness

* making sure you don't overwrite existing config

* outputting the right templates for the circuit features

It made more sense to write a tool than it did to try to adapt something for our environment.

If I had a free hand and unlimited budget, I would find a single app that functions as a source of truth for all circuits and products, which includes a templating engine that hooks in easily.


---- On Tue, 06 Jun 2017 08:22:59 -0500 Graham Johnston <johnstong at westmancom.com> wrote ----

Short of complete SDN, for those of you that have some degree of configuration templating and/or automation tools what is it that you run? I'm envisioning some sort of tool that let's me define template snippets of configuration and aids in their deployment to devices. I'm okay doing the heaving lifting in defining everything, I'm just looking for the tool that stitches it together and hopefully makes things a little less error prone for those who aren't as adept. 

Graham Johnston 

Network Planner 

Westman Communications Group 


johnstong at westmancom.com<mailto:johnstong at westmancom.com> 

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