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Whether you're looking to increase reliability or speed, or drive down cost, the Network Automation Summit is your best source for the expertise and coaching you need to take your automation strategy to the next level. We'll break down key concepts and tools while examining how organizations have transformed culturally to fully embrace network automation. Over two information packed days we'll compare and contrast network automation tools, dive into the nuts and bolts of development strategies, and explore network automation architecture and design.

New this year, based on your feedback, the Network Automation Summit will provide a rich mix of curriculum to give network automation novices a fast start and put veterans on the cutting edge to accelerate their strategies. In plenary sessions you’ll hear from engineers and leaders who have successfully deployed network automation and are already reaping critical benefits. These general sessions will be geared towards all members of our audience, whether you're new to automation or a seasoned pro.

Network Automation Summit preview featuring Jason Edelman Founder & CTO of Network to Code

Jason Edelman Founder & CTO of Network to Code previews the Network Automation Summit

October 5 - Day 1 (Please note times are shown in PT.)

Plenary Sessions

9:00am - 9:30am
Welcome & State of Network Automation
Jason Edelman, Network to Code
Network Automation adoption continues to grow at a rapid pace. Since the last Network Automation Summit, the industry continues to mature; there is greater focus on platforms and source of truth, there are new network automation certifications, and we at Network to Code have nearly doubled in size. This is a testament to those companies that are investing in their people and adopting the tools, culture, and processes to successfully transform their organizations with network automation. This session will kick off the summit while exploring the state of the network automation industry.

9:30am -10:00am
Riot Direct Network - Our infrastructure as Code Journey
Jaime Botello, Riot Games
Managing the Riot Direct network as code helps ensure consistency along with Riot Direct network devices and services, increasing our speed, accountability and allowing us to deliver deterministic outcomes.

As Riot Direct increases its footprint and expands its scope to a multi-game network, we aspire to lay down the foundation for a more agile, collaborative, and accountable network management paradigm.

The goal of this presentation is to share our current network as code strategy, what's working, what's not, challenges, and what's ahead.

10:00am -10:30am
Network Automation Architecture: Platform vs Power Tools
Damien Garros, Network to Code
There needs to be careful consideration given to network automation technology and how the technology is deployed within an organization. Without proper planning for network automation, there could be catastrophic results with ad-hoc and disjointed tools.  In this session we’ll discuss what a Network Automation Platform is and why it’s important to plan the architecture of your network automation system as a platform instead of building individual power tools.

10:30am -10:45am
Why Ansible vs. Salt vs. Nornir is the Wrong Question to be Asking
Ken Celenza, Network to Code
The age old question...what is the best tool? You have likely heard of Ansible, Salt, and Nornir as you look to build your automation strategy, and likely pondered the same question. If you are looking for a clear answer to that question (not exclusive to those tools either), this is not the session for you. However, if you are looking to better understand how to build the right automation solution for your environment, this is the session for you.

During the session, we’ll review some high-level differences and clear pros and cons of different solutions, then get into the heart of a process for picking the right platform for your organization going well beyond these three.

2:00pm - 2:30pm
Game Show
Hank Preston, Cisco DevNet
Everyone is learning network automation and programmability, but can you handle the pressure when the clock is ticking? In the Network Automation Game Show contestants are given the chance to show off their knowledge on topics such as Python, Ansible, NETCONF/YANG, Source of Truth, and more!

Getting Started Track

11:30am - 12:00pm
Network Automation Tools & Technology
Cristian Sirbu, Redbit Networks
For those network engineers just getting started with network automation, it can be quite daunting exploring new tools, open source projects, concepts, and in general, the technology required to deploy network automation. This session introduces and explores key concepts within network automation such as Automation, Orchestration, Telemetry & Visibility, Source of Truth, and CI/CD. In addition, tools and projects are explored--both commercial platforms and open source projects that provide visibility, telemetry, configuration management, orchestration, automated testing--and we'll discuss how they can integrate and be used within a Software Defined World.

12:00pm - 12:30pm
Introduction to Ansible for Network Automation
Hector Isaza, Network to Code
Ansible by Red Hat continues to gain momentum as a core platform used for network automation. It can automate network and security devices, but also orchestrate SDN controllers and platforms such as Forward Networks, Cisco ACI, NSO, DNAC, VMware NSX, and any SD-WAN platform just to name a few! This session provides a brief introduction to Ansible for network automation highlighting what is possible automating common repetitive tasks by writing Ansible playbooks that take less than one-hour to write to start to make an impact on your day to day network operations!

12:30pm - 1:00pm
Introduction to Python Network Libraries (Netmiko, NAPALM, Nornir, and More)
Kirk Byers, Twin Bridges Technology
Nornir, NAPALM, and Netmiko -- Norse Gods, the CLI in flames, and "do you support telnet." Network automation and Python open-source libraries: an overview of various Python, open-source libraries and their use in network automation.

1:00pm - 1:30pm
Understanding CI/CD in Networking Context
Josh VanDeraa, Network to Code
CI/CD can be seen as daunting and tough to get started with. In this session, we'll explore examples of getting started with CI using linting and unit tests with the focus around code quality for network automation related projects. We'll also walk through how to approach adding CI into an existing project looking at bandit, black, pylint, ansible-lint, and much more!

1:30pm - 2:00pm
Introduction to Source of Truth & NetBox
Jeremy Stretch, Network to Code
There are many technical and business aspects that blend together to form a successful network automation transformation, but at the root of that transformation is data. Networks comprise many different types of data like IP prefixes, device inventories, peering relationships, VLAN assignments, rack layouts, and much more. In a manual world, much of this information tends to live in a variety of different systems with differing levels of data hygiene. What's worse, more often than not, tribal knowledge rarely gets expressed in a readily accessible format. Humans are capable of bridging the gaps between systems and their data, but our robot friends prefer to have more explicit representations and data constraints. As humans, we know we should strive to better document our network and organize its data, but simply put, for network automation to be successful, this is a strict requirement. How then do we go about organizing that data to make it more accessible and what does that look like? Enter the concept of a network data model and source of truth (SoT). This session introduces the core concepts of network data models and how sources of truth lay the foundation for effective network automation platforms. Additionally, NetBox (an open source SoT application) will be reviewed covering how it can be used to put these principles into practice.

2:00pm - 2:30pm
Game Show
Hank Preston, Cisco DevNet

Advanced Track

11:30am - 12:00pm
Deep Dive on Ansible Collections for Network Automation
Ganesh B. Nalawade, Red Hat
Ansible collections are the future of Ansible content delivery including how users consume modules, roles, and much more. This talk will cover extending Ansible to work with new network platforms by talking about how one can create a new collection, write multiple network plugins within the collection and distribute it using Ansible Galaxy.

12:00pm - 12:30pm
Nornir: Solve Big Problems Fast
Brett Lykins, Network to Code
Nornir is an extremely powerful Python automation framework. It is Python from top to bottom; made to be used by Python, for Python, and in Python. If you're sick of learning a new pseudo-language or writing logic into YAML files just to automate a simple task, Nornir is for you. This session explores Nornir and how it can be used to perform network automation tasks.

12:30pm - 1:00pm
Network as Code
Federico Olivieri, Ticketmaster
There is a significant movement happening with the intersection of open source, DevOps, and network operations. This session covers how we've at Ticketmaster approached using modern concepts to age old NetOps issues. We'll take a look at how classic software developer tools are applied to networking operations and overall management of the network. Some examples include how to enforce compliance policies across the network along with simplified "Click and Forget" network provisioning.

1:00pm - 1:30pm
Test Automation in a Networking World
Nick Keating and Chi Sherriff, Telstra
There is a lot of information out there about automation tools and concepts in our industry, but little around their implementation in the network testing space. This talk covers the journey to build, implement and maintain a test automation framework in a large, multi-vendor network testing lab for one of Australia's largest telcos.

1:30pm - 2:00pm
Network Data Analysis With Elastic Stack
Eric Chou, A10 Networks
In this talk, we will see how we can use the Elastic Stack to ingest network data from different sources, normalize, index, and ultimately answer the questions we have in mind.

2:00pm - 2:30pm
Game Show
Hank Preston, Cisco DevNet

October 6: Day 2 (Please note times are shown in PT.)

Plenary Sessions

9:00am - 9:30am
Engaging People & Process Around Enterprise Adoption for Network Automation
Bryan Culver, Network to Code
Whether approaching the project from the mind of a consultant, an executive striving for increased business value, or an engineer looking to help change the way work gets done, there are many roadblocks and hurdles to adopting new ways of thinking. However, ingrained processes held onto by teams to an older way of thinking or doing are not developed in a vacuum. This talk will focus on how to navigate those waters, understand why existing processes are in place, and ways to not just remove roadblocks, but drive newer and better roads with better collective buy-in.

9:30am -10:00am
Can Big Data and Machine Learning Really Improve Network Operations?
Srividya Iyer, CANIV-TECH INC.
Networks have become more complex to design and operate and often network administrators are blamed for any issues related to IT operations. Machine learning, data mining, and big data analytics have been touted as the solution to provide better insights into the network and streamline the operations. However, these technologies are often poorly understood from the perspective of how they would fit in with the current network operations. This talk will address some of the common questions that the network administration staff and management have including:

  • How does it impact the current infrastructure and supporting systems?
  • What processes need to be adapted to support this?
  • What is the additional cost to implement this?
  • What skills do people need and how does it affect their job security?

10:00am -10:30am
How We Built an Automated Data Center Network in Less Than 6 Months
Hank Preston, Cisco DevNet
They say timing is everything, and our team knows how true that is. While in the process of deploying NetDevOps and network automation across our existing network, we decided to build a new one - and it had to happen in less than 6 months. Our motto was to, "Innovate up to the point of panic," and we decided to see how much we could transform the architecture and operations for a fully automated network. We'll share how we decided what parts of the network to focus on, approached the challenge of designing both a new architecture, AND automated with new tooling before a single rack was powered up. Spoiler alert, not everything we wanted to do made the cut, and we'll share lessons learned and where we go next. There will be a demo of multi-domain automation spanning networking across networking, compute, virtualization, and security.

Getting Started Track

10:30am - 11:00am
ChatOps for Network Automation
Tim Schreyack, Network to Code
Take a deep dive into ChatOps and explore what is possible when you unlock the power of ChatBots to integrate Network Management tasks into chat applications like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Webex Teams.  We will spend most of the session demonstrating how to use these tools and exploring the power of chat interacting with systems like NetBox, Ansible, Kentik, and more!

11:00 am - 11:30am
Automating Networks Using Salt, Without Running Proxy Minions
Mircea Ulinic, DigitalOcean
Salt is originally an agent-based open source software used to automate the management and configuration of application infrastructure. It typically requires a Salt Minion service to be running on the node managed by Salt. While this is not a blocker on any server, generally speaking, in the networking world, it is not typically possible to install custom software on the network gear you want to manage. In this session, we'll be looking into an alternative approach, by leveraging Salt SProxy, a plug & play Salt plugin that allows you to manage network infrastructure, without having to run any additional services - while still integrating easily into existing Salt environments. Using Salt SProxy, you can continue to benefit from the most important Salt components, such as REST API, event-driven automation, or hundreds of other features and integrations.  

11:30am - 12:00pm
Testing Your Python Code
Dr. Xenia Mountrouidou, Network to Code
Have you ever written hundreds of lines of Python network automation code only to find out that it does not work as expected? Have you had bugs in your programs that could have been found, if only you had tested for them? In this talk, we will present different types of testing such as unit, system, and integration testing, and how you can integrate these in your current network automation programming workflow. We will introduce mock Python objects that simulate network functions, fixtures, and best practices for comprehensive testing of API requests and network devices. The talk will include coding samples and templates, offering you the tools to start testing your Python code immediately.

12:30pm - 1:00pm
Getting Started With pyATs
Claudia de Luna, Indigo Wire Networks
As the landscape of automation tools and modules grows, it may be difficult to know where to start and what to use. PyATS is a Python based Test Automation and Validation Framework originally developed by Cisco (but now open and extensible to any vendor) to parse device output and test network topologies. Initially developed for testing & assurance, pyATS gives you a flexible framework you can easily use across many phases of the common network lifecycle.

This session will look at some examples of how pyATS can get you started quickly acting on multiple devices in a network topology and automatically parsing output, baselining state, and testing the state of "relationships" between those devices. We will also look at some advanced capabilities such as integration with the Robot Framework and its easy to read Dashboard.

1:00pm - 1:30pm
Introduction to Batfish for Automated Network Testing & Verification
Mikhail Yohman, Network to Code
Batfish is an open source network configuration analysis tool that helps detect errors by analyzing configuration files offline. This session will provide examples of how Batfish can be used by multiple IT domains within an organization to assert that the changes being deployed to the network do not cause an outage or open an organization up to a potential breach.

Advanced Track

10:30am - 11:00am
Extract the Source of Truth (SoT) From Your Network With the Network Importer
Damien Garros, Network to Code
Building a Source of Truth (SoT) for your existing network can be very challenging if you don't have the right tool to properly extract and calculate the drift between your network and your SoT over time. This session will present the network-importer, an open source tool designed to help with this problem.

11:00am - 11:30am
Molecule for Testing Network Automation Ansible Projects
David Flores, Network to Code
Molecule is a project designed to aid in the development of Ansible projects. This demo aims to show its testing framework capabilities in a Network Automation context.

11:30am - 12:00pm
NetBox Custom Scripts & Plugins
John Anderson, Network to Code
A demo of using Custom Scripts in NetBox to implement custom business logic that extends the NetBox feature set. The talk will briefly cover what Custom Scripts can do and why one would choose to use them in certain use cases. The demo will center around 2-3 use cases that are hands on.

12:30pm - 1:00pm
Next-Generation Network as Code
Ken Celenza, Network to Code & Timothy Sehn, Liquidata
Infrastructure as Code has fundamentally changed how networks are managed, but came at the cost of using traditional databases. Combining the features of version control (git) with relational databases will provide the next generation of managing data and the intent of your network infrastructure. This session will showcase what this really means while bringing it to life with Dolt, a database with git semantics.

1:00pm - 1:30pm
Validating Network High Availability With Batfish
Rick Donato, Network to Code
High Availability (HA) compliance is vital to any network to ensure that network service can continue at the point of failure within the network. However, this task can be lengthy, with the various components involved such as links and nodes, along with being able to validate the expected behaviour of flows. In this talk, we'll see how Batfish can be used to automate this process, by modelling a multi-vendor environment and simulating network failure across various nodes and links.

Plenary Sessions

1:30pm - 2:00pm
Panel - Open Source vs. Commercial Tools
Moderator: Terry Slattery, NetCraftsmen
Panelists: Samir Parikh, Intentionet; Michael Haugh, Gluware; Brad Thornton, Red Hat; Daren Fulwell, IP Fabric
There is no doubt that network automation is having a major impact on how networks are managed and operated on a daily basis. While there are growing trends of the use of open source for network automation, there is still growth from manufacturers offering commercial software (some of which is built on open source). This session explores the use of open source and commercial tooling, focusing on control and extensibility, total cost of ownership, and general trends that are seen when both are used together.

2:00pm - 2:30pm
Panel - Enterprise Transformation With Network Automation
Moderator: Troy Whitney, Network to Code
Panelists: Aryo Kresnadi, FedEx; Jay Moran, Fiserv; Matt Elphick, Marsh & McLennan
Network automation offers enormous benefits to modern enterprises, but the latest tools and techniques are only part of the equation. Staff must be trained and challenged to rethink years of past assumptions of how IT is delivered to the business. Policies and procedures may no longer be relevant, and unless they are rewritten will stand in the way of meaningful progress. A monumental shift in thinking is required at large enterprises that are often slow to adopt change.

Join this session to learn how leadership teams are navigating these waters and transforming how they deploy and operate technology within their organization using network automation.