Are you a community engineer who’s tinkering with community programmability, however want extra assist implementing your imaginative and prescient for mass provisioning and/or observability?
Or, perhaps you’re a software program developer who’s all for utilizing your programming, API, database, and visualization abilities in a brand new approach with networking, however want product perception to know what’s impactful?

If both of those are true, you is perhaps all for some background on how we used DevOps fundamentals within the CiscoLive Community Operations Middle (NOC).

Jason Davis NOC CLUS

A pair months have handed since CiscoLive 2022 in Las Vegas, so it appears time to replicate. I had the privilege to take part once more within the Cisco Reside NOC – specializing in automation, observability, and community programmability. I’ve served multi-purpose roles of speaker and event-staff/NOC for a few years. It’s one in every of my favourite actions through the 12 months.

Working a safe, continuous, high-performance community

Preparation for the June Las Vegas occasion began quickly after the New Yr. We start with our base necessities of working a safe, continuous, high-performance community that showcases product capabilities and advantages. We collect product steerage and new-release intent from the assorted product groups and map that towards well-developed community infrastructure designs we’ve used year-over-year that embody modularity, layered safety, service resiliency and virtualization.

NOC topology at CLUSCiscoLive Community Topology

NOC material specialists

The final in-person occasion for the US was CiscoLive 2019 in San Diego. Since then we’ve realized many product modifications. In my view, I used to be to train new streaming telemetry capabilities that have been evolving a number of years earlier.
The NOC has a number of material specialists throughout the corporate in Buyer Expertise (CX) [includes TAC], Engineering, IT, and Gross sales. I’m coming from the Engineering facet in our Developer Relations crew (DevNet). Whereas familiar with most of our networking applied sciences, I specialize within the programmability, APIs, databases, dashboarding, virtualization and cloud-native applied sciences wanted to attach our business merchandise along with open-source options.

NOC at CLuSTo get the community monitoring facets solidified we depend on a conventional DevOps mannequin the place a developer – me – pairs up with material specialists in every of the assorted IT domains. I met with area specialists like Jason F on routing, Mike on safety, Chris on wi-fi, Richard on switching and others to make sure correct operational protection.

Acquainted instruments FOR IT Service Administration

We clearly use our business merchandise like Cisco DNA Middle, Cisco Prime Community Registrar, Cisco Identification Providers Engine (ISE), Intersight, the Wi-fi LAN Controller, Meraki Dashboard, Crosswork, ThousandEyes, and the assorted SecureX options. We complement these with different acquainted instruments of an IT Service Administration setting, like VMware vCenter, NetApp ONTAP, Veeam, and specialised instruments like WaitTime. We continued our occasion design by figuring out the configuration administration and provisioning features we wish and think about the efficiency, fault, and telemetry metrics we hope to realize. The performance every instrument offers is mapped towards these intents and gaps are recognized. At this level we think about workaround choices. Is supplemental info accessible instantly by way of APIs? Can we develop a proximate analog by combining information from a number of sources? Do now we have to drop again to legacy strategies with SNMP and/or CLI scraping?

When now we have a strong understanding of the necessities, merchandise for use, the administration instrument capabilities and the gaps, we regularly use open-source options to fill within the wants. For the reason that area specialists are often centered on their domain-specific administration instruments, the open-source merchandise, programming, and API orchestration actions amongst all of the instruments are the place I focus my energies.

Extra streaming telemetry

As I discussed, I needed to make use of extra streaming telemetry at this 12 months’s Cisco Reside occasion. We did. Not solely did we use gRPC dial-out with some dial-in, but in addition NETCONF RPC polling for effectivity in some circumstances. SNMP was not utilized by ANY of our tailor-made collectors – solely with a number of the business purposes.  Because the programmability SME, I supposed to make use of YANG fashions with gRPC streaming telemetry or NETCONF RPC, the place accessible.  I frolicked reviewing Cisco’s YANG Mannequin Repository and used YANG Suite to check the fashions towards a staging setting.

For instance, the ‘Web Visitors Quantity Dashboard’ confirmed what number of terabytes of visitors we exchanged with the Web.

NOC at CLUSCiscoLive Web Visitors Quantity Dashboard

We liken it to the ‘Tote Board’ that superstar Jerry Lewis used to point out what number of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} have been raised for the Muscular Dystrophy Affiliation charity through the Labor Day telethons from 1966 to 2014.

Creating our dashboard

Our dashboard was created by extracting stats from the sting ASR1009-X routers offering our 100 Gbps hyperlinks to the Web. A customized NETCONF RPC payload, like the next, was requested each 10 seconds.

<filter xmlns="urn:ietf:params:xml:ns:netconf:base:1.0">
    <interfaces xmlns="">

Instance – NETCONF RPC payload to acquire environment friendly interface stats

As soon as acquired, the data was parsed into an InfluxDB time-series database, then Grafana was used to question InfluxDB and produce the dashboard visualization as above. Utilizing this technique  allowed us to be extra granular in regards to the particular stats we needed and diminished the necessity for filtering on the collector.  We sit up for enhanced capabilities in defining particularly filtered sensor-paths for gRPC dial-in/-out for future deployments.

Persevering with the DevOps theme of collaboration, our WAN SME was eager to get optical transceiver energy ranges on the 100 Gig and 10 Gig Web hyperlinks. We mentioned how If the transmit or obtain energy ranges dropped beneath optimum thresholds, then efficiency would undergo, or worse – the hyperlink would have a fault.

Sadly, the instrumentation was not supplied on the particular person lane [optical lambda] stage we needed, so we had a niche. Researching work-arounds resulted in a fallback to CLI-scraping of ‘present transceiver’ instructions. Whereas this was suboptimal, I used to be capable of give you a programmatic technique to ballot the unstructured information and inject it into InfluxDB utilizing Python. The Python schedule library was used to automate this course of each 2 minutes. Grafana dashboard templates have been created to render information queries to our most popular visualization. The outcomes have been helpful as we might see every lane of all optical transceivers and their transmit and obtain energy ranges.

NOC CLUSGrafana dashboard of Optical Transceiver Energy Ranges

Aligning with DevOps

One other DevOps-aligned scenario was managing observability with a number of wi-fi environments. The principle convention community, adjoining inns and keynote space have been managed by completely different clusters of Cisco Wi-fi LAN Controllers (WLCs). The 4 Seasons lodge had Meraki Wi-Fi 6-enabled entry factors managed by way of Meraki cloud. After consulting with the wi-fi SMEs to get their deep insights, expertise, and intent, I reviewed the present state of the administration instruments and portals. To fill in gaps and lengthen present capabilities, I researched the instrumentation and telemetry accessible within the WLC and Meraki Dashboard. There was a mix of NETCONF and REST API strategies to think about and we relied on Python scripting to collect information from completely different sources, normalize them and inject into InfluxDB for Grafana to visualise. The outcomes clarified utilization and useful resource distribution.

NOC CLUSConverged WLC-Meraki Wi-fi Shopper Dashboard

NOC CLUSConverged WLC SSO Pair Well being Standing Dashboard

NOC CLUSSkilled Mode WLC Wi-fi Community Controller Daemon (WNCd) Well being Monitor

Placing all of the instruments and assortment scripts collectively offers us a number of observability dashboards; some we present on the video show wall the place you possibly can see what we do!

Many different examples of DevOps collaboration and tailor-made observability could possibly be shared, however this weblog would scroll a lot, for much longer!  For those who’re all for a number of the Python scripts and Grafana dashboards developed for the occasion, try this Github repo – you may be capable of repurpose a number of the effort on your particular wants!

Hopefully this weblog impressed you to collaborate in a DevOps trend; in the event you’re a community engineer – hunt down a developer to help make your imaginative and prescient a actuality; in the event you’re a developer – hunt down a community engineer to get extra insights on how the merchandise work and what instrumentation and metrics are most significant.

For extra info of NETCONF, gRPC, telemetry, verify these studying assets out:

Observe me on Twitter for the subsequent occasion – I’d be completely happy to speak to you!

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