Chapter 12. Automation Tools

No discussion of network automation would be complete without evaluating the role that automation tools—​like Red Hat Ansible, Nornir, and HashiCorp Terraform—​play in a network automation context.

Traditionally, this tooling has been more focused on the server automation use case. This was understandable given that some of these tools had their origins in automating server operating systems and managing OS and/or application configurations. In recent years, though, multiple companies have expended a great deal of effort to enhance the network automation functionality of their products. These enhancements make these products much more useful and powerful for network automation.

Automated configuration management was the primary use case in the beginning. But with the advent of dynamic infrastructure services offered mainly by public cloud providers, tooling has evolved and new actors have entered the playground to enable the IaC paradigm.

This chapter introduces how to use some popular open source automation tools in the context of network automation:

  • Ansible

  • Nornir

  • Terraform

Before we get into the details and examples of using these tools for network automation, let’s take a quick look at an overview of them.

Reviewing Automation Tools

While all of these tools are focused on automation, each has its own architecture and approaches automation in a slightly different way. This gives each tool its own set of strengths and weaknesses. In this ...

Get Network Programmability and Automation, 2nd Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.