Jekyll2024-05-03T13:10:38+00:00https://blog.networktocode.com/feed.xmlThe NTC MagNetwork to Codeinfo@networktocode.comLast Month in Nautobot - April 20242024-05-03T00:00:00+00:002024-05-03T00:00:00+00:00https://blog.networktocode.com/post/last-month-in-nautobot-2404Welcome to our monthly Nautobot community update! We’ll dive into the latest updates across the Nautobot community, highlighting the key milestones, releases, and noteworthy contributions. From new features and enhancements to bug fixes and events, there’s always something happening in our dynamic ecosystem. Open source is at the core of our values, empowering individuals and organizations to collaborate, innovate, and make a positive impact together. This monthly blog post is our way of celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of our Nautobot community members.

New Nautobot Book Announced

The Nautobot book, Network Automation with Nautobot: Adopt a network source of truth and a data-driven approach to networking, is now available for preorder. For more information, including where to place your preorder, take a look at the blog post.

Nautobot Core

Releases - Stable

  • Nautobot: v2.2.3 - 2024-04-30
    • #2946 - Added custom link support for interfaces, console ports, console server ports, power ports, power outlets, front ports, rear ports, device bays, and inventory items.
    • #5034 - Added a view to convert location contact information to contacts or teams.
    • #5537 - Re-added run_job generic Celery task as a wrapper for execution of all Nautobot Jobs.
  • Nautobot: v2.2.2 - 2024-04-18
    • #2459 - Improved performance of bulk-edit and bulk-delete UI operations by refactoring change logging logic.
  • Nautobot: v2.2.1 - 2024-04-15
    • #5493 - Added a configuration setting METRICS_DISABLED_APPS to disable app metrics for specific apps.
    • #5521 - Updated most dependencies to the latest versions available as of 2024-04-01.

Releases - LTM 1.6

Apps Ecosystem

Community

Get in Touch!

Do you have any cool Nautobot-related project we should write about? Swing by the Network to Code Slack -> channel #nautobot and write us a quick line! Sign up here if you don’t have an account.

-Cristian and Gary

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Cristian Sirbu and Gary Snider
New Book Announcement—Network Automation with Nautobot2024-04-17T00:00:00+00:002024-04-17T00:00:00+00:00https://blog.networktocode.com/post/new-book-announcement-network-automation-with-nautobotOver seven years ago, I had the opportunity to cowrite what would be the first book on network automation. It was an amazing experience getting to share and do what was needed to move the industry forward. The book no doubt has helped many organizations on their network automation journey and many individuals in their career progression. It is still humbling to see by the day. For those tracking, the second edition of Network Programmability & Automation was released last year too!

Fast forward to today: I am humbled and pleased to announce another book! In partnership with Glenn Matthews, Josh VanDeraa, Ken Celenza, John Anderson, Brad Haas, Christian Adell, Bryan Culver, Gary Snider and technical reviewers Tim Fiola, Cristian Sirbu, and Eric Chou, we and everyone at NTC are delighted to announce Network Automation with Nautobot: Adopt a network source of truth and a data-driven approach to networking.

Cover of the Network Automation with Nautobot book

With the advent of artificial intelligence, there is nothing more important than for enterprises to have quality data that can be trusted and acted upon to drive automation and future generative AI applications. Nautobot is the open source data platform for networking. Full stop.

Three years ago, we forked NetBox and launched the Nautobot project because we saw the gap in the market. There was no platform or company that saw the relationship between data and automation—and treated both as first-class citizens. And now, over the last three years, we’ve deployed Nautobot at some of the world’s largest organizations across verticals, from enterprise financials and higher education institutions to high-growth tech companies and government entities. And we’ve done it together with a welcoming community, transparent and in the open, while creating over two dozen Nautobot Apps (all open source, by the way). We even launched Nautobot Cloud for those organizations that don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing applications and want the elasticity of cloud.

We’ve seen firsthand what works and doesn’t work and where people spend time learning. While Nautobot is an open source project and docs are publicly available, we knew we needed to share even more about how Nautobot can be used as a Network Source of Truth and automation platform to transform those teams that have been stuck doing network management the way they’ve done it for years.

In the book, you’ll learn how to deploy, manage, and integrate Nautobot as a Source of Truth and network automation platform by better understanding the relationship between data and automation. By the end, you’ll be able to design and manage Nautobot deployments, understand its key features, and extend them by creating custom data models and apps that suit your network and your team.

The book is broken down into 4 major parts with 16 chapters and 3 more appendixes.

  • Part One: Introduction to Source of Truth and Nautobot
  • Part Two: Getting Started with Nautobot
  • Part Three: Network Automation with Nautobot
  • Part Four: Nautobot Apps
  • Appendix 1: Nautobot Architecture Deep Dive
  • Appendix 2: Integrating Distributed Data Sources of Truth with Nautobot
  • Appendix 3: Performing Config Compliance & Remediation with Nautobot

We want as many teams as possible to have the knowledge and skills necessary to build a strong foundation for a network automation stack.

The book takes you on the Nautobot journey, starting with understanding the problems around network automation, data, and Source of Truth. It then reviews navigating the UI and its extensibility features. From there, we dive into all of the automation goodness, looking at its APIs, Ansible collection, pynautobot, and later looking at network automation architectures powered by Nautobot. Finally, we have several chapters dedicated to developing Nautobot Apps. From there, we have great reading in the appendixes, diving into the Nautobot architecture and then into two of the most popular Nautobot Apps: Single Source of Truth (SSoT) and Golden Config (which performs configuration compliance and remediation).

One of the book’s main points is that non-technical skills, such as an understanding of the value of data, are crucial when deploying network automation. But the right technical skills are important too. We wrote the book under the assumption that readers would have some background knowledge about network automation, such as familiarity with using Python or Ansible, plus knowledge of networking. As long as you have one to three years of networking experience and six to twelve months of using Python or Ansible, you’ll be sure to get value from the book on your network automation journey.

The book will be published by Packt, and we are targeting a May ship date. You can find it on Packtpub and Amazon.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make Nautobot a success over the last few years. The ecosystem around Nautobot continues to grow by the day and we have even more in store from here on out! Onward and upward.

Happy automating,

–Jason

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Jason Edelman
Unlocking the Power of Network Automation—How Large Enterprises Can Stay Ahead2024-04-10T00:00:00+00:002024-04-10T00:00:00+00:00https://blog.networktocode.com/post/unlocking-the-power-of-network-automation-how-large-enterprises-stay-aheadIn today’s digital transformation era, traditional manual network management processes fall short in managing the complexity and scale of modern networks.

Particularly for large enterprises operating expansive networks across multiple locations and serving vast user bases, automation presents a critical advantage.

Why? Because it offers a streamlined and efficient approach to network configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting. Automation of repetitive tasks through intelligent algorithms not only enhances network reliability and operational efficiency but also frees up IT teams to concentrate on strategic initiatives, thus adding significant value to business operations.

The Value of Network Automation for Large Enterprises

Network automation is not just a luxury for large enterprises; it has become a necessity. With the ever-increasing demand for seamless connectivity to a growing number of users and devices, these organizations cannot afford unreliable networks, downtime, or delays in implementing changes. By automating network configuration and management, large enterprises can ensure faster provisioning, reduce human errors, and enhance overall performance.

Moreover, network automation enables large enterprises to adapt quickly to changing business needs. As new services and applications are introduced, network infrastructure must be agile enough to support them. Manual configuration processes can be time-consuming and error-prone, leading to delays in service deployment. With network automation, large enterprises can respond to business requirements promptly, gaining a competitive edge in the market.

Network automation is not just a buzzword; it is a growing trend in the industry. According to a recent Gartner study, a growing percentage of large enterprises now automate more than half of their network activities, reflecting a robust trend toward embracing automation technology.

One of the key drivers behind this trend is the increasing complexity of networks. As networks become more distributed and hybrid in nature, the inefficiency of manual management becomes a significant obstacle. Network automation provides a centralized and standardized approach to network configuration and monitoring, simplifying operations and improving overall network performance.

Understanding the Role of Network Source of Truth in Automation

In network automation, the concept of a network source of truth plays a crucial role. It refers to a centralized repository or database that holds accurate and up-to-date information about the network infrastructure. This source of truth serves as a single reference point for network engineers and automation tools, ensuring consistency and accuracy in network configurations.

Network Architecture

By having a reliable source of truth, large enterprises can avoid configuration conflicts and minimize the risk of network outages. Network changes automatically synchronize with the source of truth, ensuring it remains the authoritative record of the network state. This not only simplifies troubleshooting but also enables efficient network auditing and compliance management.

Introducing Nautobot: A Powerful Network Automation Tool

Selecting the right tool is pivotal for network automation success. Among the leading solutions is Nautobot, an open source platform that has become a favorite among large enterprises for its robust capabilities in network management. It provides an excellent framework for managing network infrastructure, from device configuration to IP address management.

Nautobot offers a wide range of features that make network automation a breeze. It allows for the creation of standardized network templates, enabling consistent and error-free network configurations. With its intuitive user interface, network engineers can easily visualize and manage network devices, interfaces, and connections. Nautobot also integrates seamlessly with other automation tools and platforms, making it a versatile choice for large enterprises.

The Benefits of Using Nautobot for Large Enterprises

By using Nautobot for network automation, large organizations can more quickly provision and deploy network services. By automating the configuration process, network engineers can save valuable time and effort, allowing for rapid service delivery.

Nautobot also enhances network reliability and stability. With its centralized source of truth and standardized templates, it minimizes configuration errors and reduces the risk of network outages. This translates into improved user experience and increased customer satisfaction.

Additionally, Nautobot provides a scalable and flexible solution for large enterprises. As network infrastructure grows and evolves, Nautobot can easily adapt to accommodate new devices and technologies. Its modular architecture allows for seamless integration with existing systems, ensuring a smooth transition to network automation.

Calculating the ROI of Network Automation

Although implementing network automation demands substantial time, resources, and budget, the long-term ROI justifies the initial investment. To justify this investment, large enterprises need to calculate the return on investment (ROI) of network automation.

While the benefits of network automation are evident, quantifying the financial impact can help organizations make informed decisions.

Multi-Project ROI

By automating manual tasks, large enterprises can benefit in multiple ways:

  • Reduce labor costs and minimize human errors, resulting in significant cost savings
  • Focus on strategic initiatives, driving innovation and improving overall productivity
  • Provide faster response times, reduce network downtime, and deliver better quality services to end users
  • Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, strengthening business outcomes

Best Practices for Implementing Network Automation in Large Enterprises

Implementing network automation in large enterprises requires careful planning and execution. Here are some best practices to consider:

  1. Start small, but think big. Begin by automating a few processes or tasks before scaling up. Starting with reporting or data sync tasks before impacting actual network operations is also a smart initial step. This allows time for learning and practice with the tools and concepts, creates a gradual transition, and minimizes disruption to existing operations.
  2. Involve stakeholders. Engage key stakeholders, including network engineers, IT teams, and business leaders, early in the process. Their input and support are crucial for successful implementation.
  3. Invest in training and upskilling. Network automation requires a new set of skills and knowledge. Provide training and resources to equip your IT teams with the necessary expertise to leverage automation tools effectively.
  4. Establish clear goals and metrics. Define clear objectives and key performance indicators for network automation. Regularly measure and track progress to ensure alignment with business goals.
  5. Leverage vendor support. Seek assistance from automation tool vendors or consultants who specialize in network automation. Their expertise can help streamline the implementation process and address any challenges.

Training and Resources for Network Automation

Various training and resources are available to empower large enterprises to adopt network automation.

Online courses, certifications, and workshops provide valuable insights into network automation best practices, tools, and implementation strategies. Additionally, vendor documentation, forums, and user communities offer a wealth of knowledge and support for those starting their network automation journey.

By investing in training and leveraging available resources, large enterprises can equip their IT teams with the necessary skills and knowledge to drive successful network automation initiatives.

Embracing the Future with Network Automation

Network automation is no longer a distant dream; it is the present and future of network management. Large enterprises cannot afford to overlook the benefits it brings in terms of efficiency, reliability, and scalability. By embracing network automation, these organizations can stay ahead of the competition, deliver better services to their customers, and achieve long-term success.

With tools such as Nautobot and a strategic approach to implementation, large enterprises can unlock the full potential of network automation. By investing in training and resources, organizations can empower their IT teams to become automation champions, driving innovation and transforming the way networks are managed.

Start harnessing the power of network automation today and unlock limitless possibilities for your large enterprise. Contact us to discover how our solutions can transform the way to build, manage, and operate your network.

Ready to take your network automation journey to the next level? Explore Nautobot and start streamlining your network operations today.

-Chris Murray

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Chris Murray
Last Month in Nautobot - March 20242024-04-04T00:00:00+00:002024-04-04T00:00:00+00:00https://blog.networktocode.com/post/last-month-in-nautobot-2403Welcome to our monthly Nautobot community update! We’ll dive into the latest updates across the Nautobot community, highlighting the key milestones, releases, and noteworthy contributions. From new features and enhancements to bug fixes and events, there’s always something happening in our dynamic ecosystem. Open source is at the core of our values, empowering individuals and organizations to collaborate, innovate, and make a positive impact together. This monthly blog post is our way of celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of our Nautobot community members.

With the release of Nautobot 2.1.9 and 1.6.16 came new requirements for pynautobot to include an authentication token for some initial calls that were not previously required. So to make sure that pynautobot (and subsequently Nautobot Ansible) and Nautobot Helm Chart work with the most recent version of Nautobot, new versions have been released. Read more in the blog post here.

Nautobot Core

Releases - Stable

  • Nautobot: v2.2.0 - 2024-03-29
    • Contact and Team Models (#230): Contact and Team are models that represent an individual and a group of individuals who can be linked to an object. Contacts and teams store the necessary information (name, phone number, email, and address) to uniquely identify and contact them. They are added to track ownerships of organizational entities and to manage resources more efficiently in Nautobot. Check out the documentation for Contact and Team.
    • Controller Model (#3111): Controller models have been added to the dcim app. A Controller in Nautobot is an abstraction meant to represent network or SDN (Software-Defined Networking) controllers. These may include, but are not limited to, wireless controllers, cloud-based network management systems, and other forms of central network control mechanisms. For more details, refer to the documentation for the Controller model.
    • Device Family Model (#3559): A Device Family represents a group of related Device Types. A Device Type can be optionally assigned to a Device Family.
    • Jobs Tile View (#5129): Job list is now available in two display variants: list and tiles. List is a standard table view with no major changes introduced. Tiles is a new type of view, displaying jobs in a two-dimensional grid.
    • Prefix and VLAN Many Locations (#4334, #4412): The Prefix and VLAN models have replaced their single location foreign-key field with a many-to-many locations field, allowing multiple Locations to be attached to a single Prefix or VLAN.
    • Software Image File and Software Version models (#1): New models have been added for Software Image Files and Software Versions. These models are used to track the software versions of Devices, Inventory Items, and Virtual Machines and their associated image files. These models have been ported from the Device Lifecycle Management App, and a future update to that app will migrate all existing data from the nautobot_device_lifecycle_mgmt.SoftwareImageLCM and nautobot_device_lifecycle_mgmt.SoftwareLCM models to the dcim.SoftwareImageFile and dcim.SoftwareVersion models added here.
    • Syntax Highlighting (#5098): Language syntax highlighting for GraphQL, JSON, XML, and YAML is now supported in the UI via JavaScript.
    • Data Imports as a System Job (#5064): The CSV import functionality for all models has been changed from a synchronous operation to an asynchronous background task (system Job). As a result, imports of large CSV files will no longer fail due to browser timeout.
    • Plugin to App Renames (#5341): Installed Plugins view has been renamed to Installed Apps. Plugin terminologies in Installed Plugins (now Installed Apps) view and dependent views have been changed to App throughout.
    • Standardization of max_length on all Charfields (#2906): Model CharFields’ max_length attributes have been standardized globally to have at least 255 characters except where a shorter max_length is explicitly justified.
  • Nautobot: v2.1.9 - 2024-03-25
    • #5450 - Updated django to ~3.2.25 due to CVE-2024-27351
    • #5464 - Added requirement for user authentication to multiple URLs
    • #5464 - Added narrower permissions enforcement to multiple URLs
    • #5464 - Removed the URL endpoints /api/users/users/my-profile/, /api/users/users/session/, /api/users/tokens/authenticate/, and /api/users/tokens/logout/ as they are unused at this time
    • #5413 - Updated Device “LLDP Neighbors” detail panel to handle LLDP neighbors with MAC address as port-id
  • Nautobot: v2.1.8 - 2024-03-18
    • #1102 - Added CELERY_BEAT_HEARTBEAT_FILE settings variable
    • #5228 - Added the option to configure and enforce validation_minimum and validation_maximum as length constraints on a Custom Field of type Text, URL, JSON, Markdown, Selection, or Multiple Selection
    • #5228 - Added the option to configure and enforce validation_regex as a constraint on valid choice definitions for a Custom Field of type Selection or Multiple Selection
    • #5400, #5401, #5402 - Added multiple power-port, power-outlet, front port, rear port, and interface types
    • #5228 - Removed the hard-coded 255-character limit on custom fields of type Text
  • Nautobot: v2.1.7 - 2024-03-05
    • #5387 - Fixed an error in the Dockerfile that resulted in pyuwsgi being installed without SSL support
  • Nautobot: v2.1.6 - 2024-03-04
    • #5319 - Updated cryptography to 42.0.4 due to CVE-2024-26130. This is not a direct dependency so will not auto-update when upgrading. Please be sure to upgrade your local environment
    • #5172 - Added Collapse Capable Side Navbar: Side Navbar is now able to be expanded and collapsed
    • #5172 - Multiple UI changes for a better mobile experience

Releases - LTM 1.6

Apps Ecosystem

Community

Get in Touch!

Do you have any cool Nautobot-related project we should write about? Swing by the Network to Code Slack -> channel #nautobot and write us a quick line! Sign up here if you don’t have an account.

-Cristian and Gary

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Cristian Sirbu and Gary Snider
Network Automation Platforms - Key Insights for Network Leaders on How to Scale Network Automation2024-04-03T00:00:00+00:002024-04-03T00:00:00+00:00https://blog.networktocode.com/post/network-automation-platforms-key-insights-for-network-leaders-on-how-to-scale-network-automationThe network is the lifeblood of any organization, carrying the critical data that fuels operations. But managing complex networks manually can be a time-consuming and error-prone process. This is where network automation comes in, offering a powerful solution to streamline network management and free up IT staff for more strategic tasks.

This blog post explores insights and findings from the 2023 Gartner® Market Guide for Network Automation Platforms. You can access the Network Automation Market Guide on our site. The focus of the report is on the role of network automation platforms and how they enable enterprises to automate a significant portion of their network activities. Here are the key takeaways:

  • The Opportunity: Currently, over 65% of network activities are done manually. Network automation platforms offer a way to automate these tasks, increasing efficiency and reducing human error.
  • Beyond Point Tools: Network automation platforms go beyond single-purpose automation tools and legacy network change and configuration management (NCCM) products. They enable orchestration of workflows across various tools and network domains.
  • Ideal for Larger Enterprises: Network automation platforms are well suited for large-scale and technologically advanced enterprises due to their ability to handle complex workflows and diverse network environments.

What Is a Network Automation Platform?

Imagine a central hub that orchestrates and automates network activities across different vendors and domains. That’s the power of a network automation platform. It goes beyond point tools and legacy NCCM products, offering features such as:

  • Multi-vendor support: automates tasks across diverse network equipment
  • Workflow orchestration: connects disparate automation tools into seamless workflows
  • Low-code UI: enables building workflows without complex coding
  • Event-driven automation: responds dynamically to network events and incidents.

Benefits of Network Automation Platforms

The benefits of network automation platforms include:

  • Reduced manual work: Offload slow and repetitive manual tasks that hinder IT agility and responsiveness. Free up your network team to focus on strategic initiatives.
  • Increased agility and scalability: Manually managing a growing network becomes increasingly difficult and unsustainable. Respond faster to business demands with dynamic network changes and provisioning.
  • Improved accuracy and security: Manual configuration is prone to errors, which can lead to network outages and security vulnerabilities. Eliminate human error from manual configurations.
  • Enhanced compliance: Automate compliance checks and reporting for network configurations.

Traditional network management relies heavily on manual configuration and troubleshooting, leading to several challenges. Network automation platforms deliver their benefits by automating repetitive tasks such as device configuration, provisioning, and troubleshooting. The incredible power of network automation is the reason for Gartner’s prediction that “By 2026, 30% of enterprises will automate over half of their network activities, up from under 10% in 2023.”

Network Source of Truth as a Platform Foundation

The foundation for any successful network automation effort is the Network Source of Truth (NSoT). The NSoT holds the intended state model, providing the proper config details for any new devices, and creating the needed data differential with current state data to identify and correct any anomalous network conditions.

An NSoT eliminates data discrepancies and ensures everyone working on the network has access to the most accurate and up-to-date information. This is crucial for maintaining network stability, security, and efficiency. As Gartner states in its Market Guide report, “We recommend investing in a modern NSOT to scale network automation efforts.”

Most enterprises lack a comprehensive NSoT, relying on a combination of spreadsheets, diagrams, and network management systems. But an accurate and robust NSoT is crucial for scaling network automation beyond 50% of activities. Consider commercially available NSoT platforms such as Nautobot to enhance your automation efforts.

Network to Code: Your Automation Partner

Network to Code (NTC) offers a comprehensive suite of services and software to empower your network automation journey. This includes Nautobot, the only solution that functions as both a Network Source of Truth and a network automation platform. This unique combination offers several advantages:

  • Streamlined workflows: Network configuration data stored in Nautobot’s Source of Truth (SoT) can be directly leveraged for automation tasks, eliminating the need for data transfer between separate systems.
  • Improved data consistency: Changes made through automation workflows are automatically reflected in the SoT, ensuring complete data synchronization.
  • Reduced complexity: By having a single platform for both SoT and automation, organizations can simplify their network management toolset.

As the creator of Nautobot and all of its associated app ecosystem solutions, NTC brings a unique level of expertise to network automation. Our deep knowledge of Nautobot’s architecture and capabilities empowers us to deliver exceptional services to help organizations achieve a high degree of network automation in the least time possible. Key services include:

  • Configuration management
  • Firewall management
  • OS upgrades
  • New device planning and deployment
  • Device lifecycle management

Ready to Automate Your Network?

Network automation, driven by Network to Code services and Nautobot, empowers you to take control of your network. To learn more, visit https://networktocode.com/ for a wealth of resources to get you started.

Move toward a more automated, efficient, and reliable network infrastructure. Embrace network automation today!

-Jeff Bradbury

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Jeff Bradbury
Update Your Ansible Nautobot Environment & Helm Chart2024-03-27T00:00:00+00:002024-03-27T00:00:00+00:00https://blog.networktocode.com/post/nautobot-ansible-update-your-pynautobotWith the release of Nautobot 2.1.9 and 1.6.16 came new requirements for pynautobot to include an authentication token that for some initial calls that were not previously required. So to make sure that pynautobot (and subsequently Nautobot Ansible) and Nautobot Helm Chart work with the most recent version of Nautobot, new versions have been released.

pynautobot & Nautobot Ansible

First to check what version of pynautobot you have, you can run pip list to get that environment. Here is an example of using grep to only look for pynautobot.

❯ pip list | grep pynautobot
pynautobot         2.0.2

Nautobot 1.6 Environments

If you are continuing on the LTM release train of 1.6, your pynautobot needs to be upgraded to 1.5.2 in order to continue using the Ansible modules (4.5.0). No update to the Ansible modules is required-only the underlying pynautobot version. Complete this with:

pip install pynautobot==1.5.2

Accidental Upgrade to 2.x of pynautobot?

If you accidentally upgrade to the latest version of pynautobot but intended to be on 1.x, just issue the same command as above and you will get the right version. Nothing further would needs to be done-no harm.

pip install pynautobot=-1.5.2

Nautobot 2.1 Environments

For those with the latest Nautobot application version of 2.1.9, please upgrade the pynautobot instance in your Ansible environment to the latest of 2.1.1

pip install --upgrade pynautobot

Nautobot Helm Chart

First to check what version of Nautobot Helm Chart you have configured, you can run helm show chart nautobot/nautobot to get the full information about the configured chart. There will be multiple versions you will see in the output, the chart version that matters is the last line in the output and is a root key in the yaml output.

❯ helm show chart nautobot/nautobot
annotations:

... Truncated for bevity ...

sources:
- https://github.com/nautobot/nautobot
- https://github.com/nautobot/helm-charts
version: 2.0.5

Warning - READ BEFORE PROCEEDING

The latest version of the helm chart has a default version for Nautobot that is set to 2.1.9, if you are NOT providing custom image or statically declaring the version you WILL be upgraded to 2.1.9. For more information on using a custom image please see the documentation here or for using the Network to Code maintained images with a specific version please ensure nautobot.image.tag is set to the tagged version you are expecting to use. Below are some examples for values.yaml provided to a helm release.

If you are on a 1.X.X version of the helm chart please review the upgrade guide here before proceeding.

Custom Image

nautobot:
  image:
    registry: "ghcr.io"
    repository: "my-namespace/nautobot"
    tag: "1.6.16-py3.11"
    pullPolicy: "Always"
    pullSecrets:
      - ghcr-pull-secret

Network to Code Image

nautobot:
  image:
    tag: "1.6.16-py3.11"

Update Helm Repo

Before you can use the new version of the helm chart you must update the helm repo.

❯ helm repo update nautobot
Hang tight while we grab the latest from your chart repositories...
...Successfully got an update from the "nautobot" chart repository
Update Complete. ⎈Happy Helming!⎈

Update Helm Release

Now you can proceed to update your helm release with the latest helm chart version.

❯ helm upgrade <name of helm release> -f values.yml --version 2.1.0
Release "nautobot" has been upgraded. Happy Helming!
NAME: nautobot
LAST DEPLOYED: Wed Mar 27 20:09:47 2024
NAMESPACE: default
STATUS: deployed
REVISION: 3
NOTES:
*********************************************************************
*** PLEASE BE PATIENT: Nautobot may take a few minutes to install ***
*********************************************************************

... Truncated for bevity ...

Summary

When issues do arise on playbooks that were previously working fine, it’s best to give your dependency software packages a quick update. Hope that this helps. Happy automating.

-Josh, Jeremy

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Josh VanDeraa, Jeremy White
Enhancing Firewall Rule and Security Policy Management with Nautobot Automation2024-03-12T00:00:00+00:002024-03-12T00:00:00+00:00https://blog.networktocode.com/post/enhancing-firewall-rule-and-security-policy-management-with-nautobot-automationIn the evolving landscape of network security, the necessity for robust firewall rule management is undeniable. The introduction of zero trust environments, expansion of network locations, integration of new applications, and the adoption of emerging technologies necessitate the continuous addition and modification of firewall rules. However, the challenge arises due to the lack of uniform configuration standards and clear definitions of what constitutes an effective firewall rule. This variability leads to inconsistencies and complexities, particularly in large organizations where the scale of rules and requests can be overwhelming.

During a recent webinar, Network to Code’s Ken Celenza, VP of Professional Services, and Jeremy White, Principal Developer Advocate, discussed how the new Nautobot Firewall data models application revolutionizes firewall automation by promoting quality and consistent data hygiene practices.

Read on to learn more about the current state of firewall rule management, the Nautobot firewall models app, generating multi-vendor configurations, and how to get started.

Understanding the Complexities of Firewall Rule Management

The management of firewall rules is fraught with challenges, particularly at scale. Large organizations often grapple with managing tens of thousands of rules and fielding thousands of modification requests annually. The presence of multiple vendors and diverse firewall configurations further complicates this landscape, making effective management a herculean task. Additionally, the lack of comprehensive documentation and traceability exacerbates the difficulty in maintaining and auditing these rules.

Introducing a Nautobot App for Streamlined Security Models

Nautobot serves as a comprehensive source of truth and network automation platform, offering a groundbreaking open source application tailored for designing multi-vendor firewall rules, objects, and policies. This facilitates the clear definition of security policies and intentions. The application aids users in populating the data model through guided data input steps, followed by a suite of management functions for enhanced policy creation and insights, including API interactions, data queries, and configuration generations.

Here’s how Nautobot addresses the challenges associated with legacy firewall rule management:

Using Nautobot to Attack the Issue of Scale

  • Rule Reusability: Facilitates the reuse of security rules and groups to eliminate redundant engineering efforts.
  • Duplicate Rule Identification: Allows for the querying of existing rules to prevent unnecessary duplications.
  • Rule Compression: Employs logic to consolidate rules, simplifying firewall configurations.

Using Nautobot to Improve Workflow Issues

  • Standard Configurations: Establishes intended state configs in the model and then enforces them across all devices, ensuring all new deployments meet standards and noting any noncompliant configurations discovered.
  • Minimizing Errors: Streamlines the user interface to reduce manual input and associated errors.
  • Programmatic Interactions: Enhances the ease and efficiency of managing firewall rules through structured data models.

Using Nautobot to Simplify Environmental Complexities

  • Path Analysis: Offers insights into firewall paths and interactions, aiding in better management.
  • Unified Multi-vendor or Multi-cloud Management: Maintains consistency across different vendors and cloud environments.
  • Rule and Object Management: Enhances traceability and granularity in rule and object modifications.

Using Nautobot to Streamline Documentation and Audits

  • Ownership: Assigns and tracks ownership of rules, objects, and groups for better governance.
  • Metadata Use: Enhances querying and reporting capabilities through custom data application.
  • Auditing: Facilitates audits through detailed metadata, providing traceability for each rule and streamlining the review process.

Conclusion

The Nautobot Firewall Data Models application represents a significant advancement in the realm of firewall rule management. By addressing the core challenges of scale, workflow inefficiencies, environmental complexities, and documentation hurdles, Nautobot paves the way for more secure, efficient, and manageable network environments.

Want to learn more about firewall and security automation with Nautobot and even more benefits? Watch the full webinar here.

-Chris Murray

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Chris Murray
Last Month in Nautobot - February 20242024-03-05T00:00:00+00:002024-03-05T00:00:00+00:00https://blog.networktocode.com/post/last-month-in-nautobot-2402Welcome to our monthly Nautobot community update! We’ll dive into the latest updates across the Nautobot community, highlighting the key milestones, releases, and noteworthy contributions. From new features and enhancements to bug fixes and events, there’s always something happening in our dynamic ecosystem. Open source is at the core of our values, empowering individuals and organizations to collaborate, innovate, and make a positive impact together. This monthly blog post is our way of celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of our Nautobot community members

Nautobot Core

Releases - Stable

  • Nautobot: v2.1.5 - 2024-02-21
    • #5303 - Updated cryptography to 42.0.2 due to CVE-2024-0727. This is not a direct dependency so will not auto-update when upgrading. Please be sure to upgrade your local environment
    • #5210 - Added METRICS_AUTHENTICATED setting to control authentication for the HTTP endpoint /metrics
    • Various UI navbar improvements
    • Various bug fixes - see the v2.1.5 release notes for more details
  • Nautobot: v2.1.4 - 2024-02-08
    • #5251 - Updated Django dependency to 3.2.24 due to CVE-2024-24680
  • Nautobot: v2.1.3 - 2024-02-05
    • #5151 - Updated pillow dependency to 10.2.0 due to CVE-2023-50447
    • #4981 - Added serial types to InterfaceTypeChoices
    • #5012 - Improved performance of the change logging views
    • #5169 - Added support for user session profiling via django-silk
    • Various UI navbar improvements
    • Various bug fixes - see the v2.1.3 release notes for more details

Releases - LTM 1.6

Apps Ecosystem

  • Nautobot App SSoT: v1.6.1 - 2024-02-21
    • Updates and fixes for Infoblox and IPFabric integrations
    • Add support for custom relationships to contrib module
  • Nautobot App SSoT: v2.3.0 - 2024-02-21
    • Updates and fixes for ACI, Infoblox and IPFabric integrations
  • Nautobot Lab: 2.1.4 - 2024-02-15
    • Update Nautobot to version 2.1.4 and add Nautobot Design Builder
  • Nautobot App Design Builder: v1.0.0 - 2024-02-10
  • Nornir Nautobot: v3.1.1 - 2024-02-06
    • Add ssl_verify option to pynautobot object initilization
  • Nautobot App Device Lifecycle Mgmt: v1.6.1 - 2024-02-05
    • Add support for Python 3.11
  • Nautobot App Data Validation Engine: v3.1.0 - 2024-02-02
    • Multiple updates to Data Compliance

Community

Get in Touch!

Do you have any cool Nautobot-related project we should write about? Swing by the Network to Code Slack -> channel #nautobot and write us a quick line! Sign up here if you don’t have an account

-Cristian and Gary

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Cristian Sirbu and Gary Snider
Network Management Fundamentals - Getting Started with SoT &amp; Nautobot2024-02-16T00:00:00+00:002024-02-16T00:00:00+00:00https://blog.networktocode.com/post/network-management-fundamentals-getting-started-with-sot-and-nautobotLooking to learn how you can get started with Nautobot? You’ve come to the right place.

During our monthly webinars in 2023, Tim Schreyack, Director of Sales Engineering at Network to Code, and Jeremy White, Principal Developer Advocate at Network to Code, came together to discuss why data is the key to unlocking successful enterprise network automation.

Their conversations covered the current state of network management, why an authoritative Network Source of Truth is necessary for a network automation framework, the importance of a validated and well-documented network intended state, and how Nautobot helps organizations take back control of their network with a data-driven approach to network automation.

Read on to learn more about how you can eliminate spreadsheets and efficiently manage everything from inventory and IPAM to BGP, firewall policies, and much more with Nautobot!

The State of Network Management

In the current state of network management, most organizations are leveraging tools, processes, and technologies developed over 20 years ago.

As companies grow, so do the scale and complexity of their networks. Eventually, this growth causes all manual CLI-driven methodologies of network management to become unviable. Commonly, what we see happening in organizations is a transition from all manual CLI to personal scripts, whether bash shell or Python scripts, that are deployed on individual computers to help maintain the network environment. Some organizations take the next step and collaborate on these power tools.

Despite the popularity of this approach to network management, the legacy management of the network ultimately succumbs to its numerous costs and inefficiencies. Not only does this approach leave engineers spending the majority of their time on monotonous tasks, but the operating costs of maintaining the environment are extremely high. Legacy management of the network also results in slow response times and excessive backlogs, limiting scalability.

As organizations continue down this journey of trying to evolve their legacy practices for network management, they discover the need for a Network Source of Truth (NSoT). This is because as the maturity of enterprise automation frameworks increases, an NSoT is necessary to increase the efficiency of network operations as well.

Companies cannot drive automation and change without an NSoT.

Introduction to NSoT

Change in network management begins with data.

“No enterprise should develop network automations on top of systemic uncertainty of the underlying in-service network data. Unfortunately, 74% of a typical enterprise’s network inventory data is partially, minimally, or not at all accurate. Network automations require a reliable NSoT,” says Gartner.

If all of an organization’s data is accessible from a Network Source of Truth (NSoT), there is the opportunity to not only drive network automation but also perform richer capacity planning, trending, and business impact analysis.

The key to understanding NSoT is that it is all about intentions and planning. Once we express our intent into the NSoT, that becomes the authoritative state for the environment against which as-is network behaviors are compared. The difference between the intended state and the as-is state identifies anomalies for investigation and correction, with the corrective action being centered on simply implementing any needed changes to the data. This is why Network to Code refers to our approach as data-driven network automation.

The more accurate the data is, the more insights we will gain.

The Power of Nautobot

For those that are unfamiliar with it, Nautobot is an extensible and flexible Network Source of Truth and Network Automation Platform that can power any network automation architecture. It is not just about the Source of Truth. It’s about how we use that Source of Truth to drive change and integrate tools into the environment.

Network to Code created Nautobot as an open source community project, purpose-built to automate network management.

One of the challenges we face as we move into an automated world is that it is very easy to go from making a change that might only impact one device to making a change that might impact a lot of devices. With this expanded impact of automation, we must ensure our data is accurate and driving the change we expect it to, because automation is only as good as the data behind it.

Nautobot supports two main ways of enforcing data validation and integrity: the Data Validation Application and User-Defined Jobs. The Data Validation Application API provides a way to express business logic into the data. Data Validation Application is a no-code solution that allows administrators to define rule-based data validation during the creation and modification of objects. User-Defined Jobs can leverage the Data Compliance feature of the Data Validation Engine to verify compliance across preexisting objects.

Nautobot Key Features for Network Source of Truth

At its core, we’ve discussed how Nautobot is a Network Source of Truth that defines the intended state of the network, but let’s dive into its key network management features.

Data Model Features: With NSoT, you can codify business rules to ensure there is nothing but high-quality data in Nautobot. NSoT enables you to create custom relationships between existing data models that replicate your network design. On top of that, you can augment existing data models through custom fields on any object, including interfaces.

Highly Extensible: Free purpose-built applications cater to your specific NSoT and network automation requirements.

Highly Available Data: NSoT allows you to easily fetch the exact data you desire across data models with a single API call. Additionally, Nautobot can make an outbound HTTP API calls based on create, update, and delete operations.

All of these key features help to support data-driven network automation.

Getting Started with Nautobot and NSoT

Now that we have identified Nautobot’s key features and several ways to load and validate data about the network, what’s next for network management with Nautobot?

Here are a few recommendations to start leveraging Nautobot:

  1. Populate interface descriptions to describe what is connected and informed by the NSoT.
  2. Leverage ChatOps to retrieve information via your favorite chat application.
  3. Maintain a few simple configuration stanzas across your entire organization.
  4. Begin tracking device lifecycles programmatically.

Want to learn more about how aggregating your network model and data into Nautobot accelerates your network automation journey?

Check out this webinar replay to learn more and get your questions answered!

-Chris Murray

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Chris Murray
Nautobot Cloud - Your Gateway to Network Automation2024-02-14T00:00:00+00:002024-02-14T00:00:00+00:00https://blog.networktocode.com/post/nautobot-cloud-your-gateway-to-network-automationNetwork to Code recently hosted a webinar on the future of network automation to demonstrate how you can elevate your network management experience with the leading SaaS network automation platform, Nautobot Cloud.

If your organization is ready to begin or improve your network automation journey with Nautobot, there are two deployment options to choose from: self-managed solutions (on-premises or within your established cloud assets) or cloud SaaS. Self-managed solutions refer to an approach where an organization’s IT infrastructure (whether physical or cloud-based) and resources are responsible for the deployment, operation, and maintenance of the enterprise software.

Embracing the future of network automation has never been easier since the introduction of Nautobot Cloud. Nautobot Cloud enables engineering teams to quickly operationalize a Network Source of Truth (NSoT) and network automation platform in a single open source SaaS platform.

Before we dive into the differences between a self-managed solution and Nautobot Cloud, it’s important to understand Nautobot and its core functionality.

What is Nautobot?

Nautobot is the most widely deployed open source Network SoT and network automation platform used by large enterprises today, offering a data-driven approach to network automation. It offers organizations superior flexibility, extensibility, and control while catering to any network design.

One of Nautobot’s greatest strengths is that data doesn’t have to reside within Nautobot; Nautobot offers a neutral model allowing the data to stay where it is most easily stored and accessed, but also ensuring all necessary data is identified and available. Nautobot enables bi-directional data flows so data can be enriched from each of the various sources, and combined as necessary to fulfill the data needs of the network automation tasks. With Nautobot as your NSoT, data about the network can be stored and exposed in a multitude of ways to support operations, including Rest APIs, JobHooks, GraphQL, Git Integration, and Webhooks. With Nautobot, even disparate data sources are unified, and compliance is more easily achieved, mitigating errors and security vulnerabilities.

Additionally, Nautobot maintains an intended network state that can be confidently documented, understood, and used as a baseline to compare current network behaviors against, empowering a more modern and data-driven NetDevOps approach to network configuration and management.

Nautobot Cloud

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Network Automation Deployment Options

There are several key pros and cons between a self-managed solution and a Cloud SaaS approach.

Deploying Nautobot through a self-managed approach is a more traditional method that many organizations are familiar with. However, these solutions come with their own challenges.

To start, a self-managed solution often requires major upfront costs for hardware (or cloud capacity), software, and setup, along with an ongoing need to pay for costly maintenance to maintain functionality and avoid obsolescence. Additionally this solution takes away time and effort that could otherwise be directed toward achieving business objectives, as team members must invest labor and hours towards learning to install, maintain, and use it.

On the other hand, Nautobot Cloud offers teams significant benefits when it comes to simplifying the adoption of a data-driven network automation platform.

First, while traditional self-managed solutions are notorious for lengthy installation times, Nautobot Cloud delivers an accelerated installation time. With Nautobot Cloud, installation is done in minutes, with a single click, saving your team countless hours and labor during the setup phase.

Nautobot Cloud is also an invaluable tool for optimizing your team. Thanks to the management of the infrastructure and Nautobot in the cloud, clients can access as many Nautobot instances as they need without investing time or training in any infrastructure development and maintenance.

Self-managed solutions also require multiple departments across the organization to function together, such as network automation teams, security teams, infrastructure teams, PMO teams, and network teams. With a cloud-based approach, a few dedicated team members handle NSoT population, configuration management, data access, automation jobs, and custom applications, leaving the rest of the organization to focus on their specialized roles and objectives.

Another major benefit of Nautobot Cloud is its comprehensive cloud native architecture features. With Nautobot Cloud, users gain access to:

  • Autoscaling of resources - easily scale and dynamically change your network maintenance, configuration, and security measures based on fluctuating traffic, data, or other needs
  • Secure multi-tenancy - segregate different lines of business, based on your specific requirements
  • Dedicated clusters - Nautobot Cloud uses a multi-cluster design, relieving worries about impact from parallel environment, unlike a traditional On-Prem solution
  • Highly Available - crucial for mission-critical applications, where system outages can have significant consequences.

By providing an easy-to-use interface to deploy scalable network automation, Nautobot Cloud enables teams to focus on boosting performance—not spending unnecessary time, effort, and budget on deployment complexities.

Nautobot Platform and Service Features

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of choosing Cloud SaaS over an On-Prem solution for your network automation needs, let’s explore the key Nautobot features in a bit more detail.

Fast and easy installation and management

With Nautobot Cloud, cloud resources are created in minutes with a single click. Resource upgrades, cloning, and snapshots are also performed in one click. For organizations strapped on time and resources, Nautobot Cloud makes network automation and management faster, simpler, and more efficient.

Accelerated network automation

Nautobot is the key to accelerating your network automation adoption, thanks to its apps that solve common use cases. Each app is available in the marketplace and easily deployable via a 1-button integration model so you can quickly solve your most pressing challenges. Nautobot can also integrate with custom-made apps as needed.

Enterprise Grade Data Insights

Nautobot’s rich modern dashboard provides unique insights into your automation environment, including real-time dashboards that showcase data insights and trends in your network data and executed workflows.

Cloud Services Console

Another service feature of Nautobot Cloud is the ability for team members to access, use, and manage all cloud services through the web-based console. Cloud services include:

  • Create, clone, and upgrade Nautobot instances
  • Create and manage AWX deployments
  • Install Apps to Nautobot Instances
  • View dashboards

Nautobot Cloud Console

Full Automation Ecosystem

Nautobot Cloud is your full automation ecosystem, acting as a Network Source of Truth and your Network Automation platform. In addition to seamlessly working with Nautobot, Nautobot Cloud also enables efficient deployment and management of Ansible AWX. This means team members can truly install, manage, and maintain one of the most common network automation stacks, directly from Nautobot Cloud.

Learn More about Nautobot Cloud

Choosing between a self-managed solution and a cloud operational model is no longer a difficult choice with Nautobot Cloud. Nautobot Cloud is turbocharging the efficiency, productivity, and responsiveness of network teams across the globe.

Led by data-driven network automation, Nautobot Cloud is enabling engineering teams to quickly operationalize its Network Source of Truth and network automation platform in a single open source SaaS platform.

Ready to learn how Nabutobot Cloud can help streamline and improve your network automation journey?

Watch the full webinar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8YhkV4oE1w

-Chris M.

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Chris Murray