Understanding YANG on Devices Running Junos OS


YANG is a standards-based, extensible data modeling language that is used to model the configuration and operational state data, remote procedure calls (RPCs), and server event notifications of network devices. The NETMOD working group in the IETF originally designed YANG to model network management data and to provide a standard for the content layer of the Network Configuration Protocol (NETCONF) model. However, YANG is protocol independent, and YANG data models can be used independent of the transport or RPC protocol and can be converted into any encoding format supported by the network configuration protocol.

Juniper Networks provides YANG modules that define the Junos OS configuration hierarchy and operational commands and Junos OS YANG extensions. You can download the YANG modules from the Juniper Networks website, from the Juniper Networks GitHub repository for YANG, or you can generate the modules on the device running Junos OS.

YANG uses a C-like syntax, a hierarchical organization of data, and provides a set of built-in types as well as the capability to define derived types. YANG stresses readability, and it provides modularity and flexibility through the use of modules and submodules and reusable types and node groups.

A YANG module defines a single data model and determines the encoding for that data. A YANG module defines a data model through its data, and the hierarchical organization of and constraints on that data. A module can be a complete, standalone entity, or it can reference definitions in other modules and submodules as well as augment other data models with additional nodes.

A YANG module defines not only the syntax but also the semantics of the data. It explicitly defines relationships between and constraints on the data. This enables you to create syntactically correct configuration data that meets constraint requirements and enables you to validate the data against the model before uploading it and committing it on a device.

YANG uses modules to define configuration and state data, notifications, and RPCs for network operations in a manner similar to how the Structure of Management Information (SMI) uses MIBs to model data for SNMP operations. However, YANG has the benefit of being able to distinguish between operational and configuration data. YANG maintains compatibility with SNMP’s SMI version 2 (SMIv2), and you can use libsmi to translate SMIv2 MIB modules into YANG modules and vice versa. Additionally, when you cannot use a YANG parser, you can translate YANG modules into YANG Independent Notation (YIN), which is an equivalent XML syntax that can be read by XML parsers and XSLT scripts.

You can use existing YANG-based tools or develop custom network management applications to utilize YANG modules for faster and more accurate network programmability. For example, a client application could leverage YANG modules to generate vendor-specific configuration data for different devices and validate that data before uploading it to the device. The application could also handle and troubleshoot unexpected RPC responses and errors.

For information about YANG, see RFC 6020, YANG - A Data Modeling Language for the Network Configuration Protocol (NETCONF), and related RFCs.