Not a Exhausting NOC Life for a Developer at CiscoLive!


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, possibly you’re a software program developer who’s interested by utilizing your programming, API, database, and visualization expertise in a brand new means with networking, however want product perception to know what’s impactful?

If both of those are true, you could be interested by 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 a great 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 among my favourite actions through the yr.

Operating a safe, continuous, high-performance community

Preparation for the June Las Vegas occasion began quickly after the New 12 months. We start with our base necessities of operating a safe, continuous, high-performance community that showcases product capabilities and advantages. We collect product steering 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 consultants

The final in-person occasion for the US was CiscoLive 2019 in San Diego. Since then we’ve realized many product adjustments. Individually, 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 consultants 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 staff (DevNet). Whereas accustomed to 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 standard DevOps mannequin the place a developer – me – pairs up with material consultants in every of the assorted IT domains. I met with area consultants 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 Id Companies 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 surroundings, like VMware vCenter, NetApp ONTAP, Veeam, and specialised instruments like WaitTime. We continued our occasion design by figuring out the configuration administration and provisioning capabilities we wish and take into account the efficiency, fault, and telemetry metrics we hope to realize. The performance every device gives is mapped towards these intents and gaps are recognized. At this level we take into account workaround choices. Is supplemental info obtainable instantly via APIs? Can we develop a proximate analog by combining information from a number of sources? Do we now have to drop again to legacy strategies with SNMP and/or CLI scraping?

When we now have a stable understanding of the necessities, merchandise for use, the administration device capabilities and the gaps, we regularly use open-source options to fill within the wants. Because the area consultants are normally 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 wished to make use of extra streaming telemetry at this yr’s Cisco Reside occasion. We did. Not solely did we use gRPC dial-out with some dial-in, but additionally 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 meant to make use of YANG fashions with gRPC streaming telemetry or NETCONF RPC, the place obtainable.  I frolicked reviewing Cisco’s YANG Mannequin Repository and used YANG Suite to check the fashions towards a staging surroundings.

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

NOC at CLUSCiscoLive Web Site visitors Quantity Dashboard

We liken it to the ‘Tote Board’ that movie star 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 obtained, the knowledge was parsed into an InfluxDB time-series database, then Grafana was used to question InfluxDB and produce the dashboard visualization as above. Utilizing this methodology  allowed us to be extra granular concerning the particular stats we wished and lowered 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 under optimum thresholds, then efficiency would endure, or worse – the hyperlink would have a fault.

Sadly, the instrumentation was not supplied on the particular person lane [optical lambda] stage we wished, so we had a spot. Researching work-arounds resulted in a fallback to CLI-scraping of ‘present transceiver’ instructions. Whereas this was suboptimal, I used to be in a position to give you a programmatic methodology 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 useful 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 state of affairs was managing observability with a number of wi-fi environments. The principle convention community, adjoining lodges and keynote space have been managed by completely different clusters of Cisco Wi-fi LAN Controllers (WLCs). The 4 Seasons resort 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 obtainable within the WLC and Meraki Dashboard. There was a mix of NETCONF and REST API strategies to contemplate 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 gives us a number of observability dashboards; some we present on the video show wall the place you may see what we do!

Many different examples of DevOps collaboration and tailor-made observability may very well be shared, however this weblog would scroll a lot, for much longer!  When you’re interested by a number of the Python scripts and Grafana dashboards developed for the occasion, take a look at this Github repo – you may have the ability to repurpose a number of the effort to your particular wants!

Hopefully this weblog impressed you to collaborate in a DevOps trend; for those who’re a community engineer – hunt down a developer to assist in making your imaginative and prescient a actuality; for those who’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:

Comply with me on Twitter for the subsequent occasion – I’d be glad to speak to you!

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