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NETCONF XML Management Protocol and Junos XML API Overview

The NETCONF XML management protocol is an XML-based protocol that client applications use to request and change configuration information on routing, switching, and security devices. It uses an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based data encoding for the configuration data and remote procedure calls. The NETCONF protocol defines basic operations that are equivalent to configuration mode commands in the command-line interface (CLI). Applications use the protocol operations to display, edit, and commit configuration statements (among other operations), just as administrators use CLI configuration mode commands to perform those operations.

The Junos XML API is an XML representation of Junos OS configuration statements and operational mode commands. When the client application manages a device running Junos OS, Junos XML configuration tag elements are the content to which the NETCONF XML protocol operations apply. Junos XML operational tag elements are equivalent in function to operational mode commands in the Junos OS CLI, which administrators use to retrieve status information for devices running Junos OS.

The NETCONF XML management protocol is described in RFC 6241, Network Configuration Protocol (NETCONF), which is available at

Client applications request information and change the configuration on a switch, router, or security device by encoding the request with tag elements from the NETCONF XML management protocol and Junos XML API and then sending it to the NETCONF server on the device. On devices running Junos OS, the NETCONF server is integrated into Junos OS and does not appear as a separate entry in process listings. The NETCONF server directs the request to the appropriate software modules within the device, encodes the response in NETCONF and Junos XML API tag elements, and returns the result to the client application. For example, to request information about the status of a device’s interfaces, a client application sends the Junos XML API <get-interface-information> request tag. The NETCONF server gathers the information from the interface process and returns it in the Junos XML API <interface-information> response tag element.

You can use the NETCONF XML management protocol and Junos XML API to configure devices running Junos OS or to request information about the device configuration or operation. You can write client applications to interact with the NETCONF server, and you can also use the NETCONF XML management protocol to build custom end-user interfaces for configuration and information retrieval and display, such as a Web browser-based interface.