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Day One: Using JSNAP to Automate Network Verifications

In order to reduce the risks of getting into an unpleasant situation after a change, many engineers have developed procedures and tools to verify their networks. The good news is that there is JSNAP – an automation tool that details pre- and post-verifications. JSNAP is a collection of SLAX scripts that runs on top of juise, the environment that runs SLAX scripts off-the-box. From setup, to sample scripts, to complete SLAX configurations, this Day One has it all – and you can put what you’ve learned to use in a matter of hours.

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About the Author(s)

Diogo Montagner (JNCIE #1050 and PMP #1616862) holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (UFSM) and MBA in Project Management from Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV). He has been working in the Juniper Advanced Services Team since 2008.

Author Q & A

What got you started on this book?

There were two things that drove me writing this book. The first thing was that I wanted to write my first book. For a while I was looking for interesting topics where I have some experience and I think they are worth sharing to a broader audience, i.e., beyond the customers I work on a daily basis. The second thing is all about the benefits of using automation on networks. I have been using automation for collecting snapshots but I had never automated the analysis of the snapshot prior to JSNAP as this task requires huge programming efforts. With JSNAP, we reduce the programming efforts to the minimum levels when implementing automated network verifications. And since it is automated, the human error factor is also reduced to a minimum level.

Who is this book for?

This book is targeted to any network engineer that wants to improve the effectiveness of their network verifications, either for doing the first step towards automation or improving existing automated verifications. It also approaches the network verifications from a business perspective introducing a method for developing a concise network verification process in case the company doesn’t have one in place.

After reading this book, what’s the take away?

I think the biggest take away is a method to scan and analyse a large number of long snapshots in a matter of seconds. Not only this, but also the small amount of time required to code a large number of tests when compared to traditional scripting techniques.

What are you hoping that people will learn from this book?

I have seen more automation on provisioning areas than operations. I hope this book can show the benefits of automating network operations. I chose network verification as this is a common area where often the automation happens up to the snapshot collections but rarely goes beyond that point. There are many other opportunities to automate operations and JSNAP combined with other automation toolkits such as Chef, Puppet and PyEZ can help a lot. Hummm, that's actually a good topic for a future book.

What do you recommend as the next item to read after this book?

If you have read this book, that means you are interested in network automation. If you want to create more complex network tests with JSNAP, I suggest you read the XML XPath tutorials. You can find the pointers inside the book. If you want to bring your network automation to the next level, then have a look on the following things:

What’s your inspiration?

I think my inspiration comes from the fact that I see my job as hobby and my hobby as a job. In another words, I love to do what I do as a network engineer and I love to share these experiences.

What’s your favorite bit/part in the book?

My favourite parts of the book are Chapter 1 and Chapter 4. I love Chapter 1 because it demonstrates the needs and benefits of automating the network verification process. Then, as a good engineer and let’s say network geek, Chapter 4 presents things that are not usually found in publications.