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Full-day network automation tutorial at USENIX LISA Conference, Mon 2 Nov 09

I'll be presenting a full-day tutorial on "Automating Network Configuration and Management" at the 2009 USENIX LISA Conference, on Monday 2 November 2009 in Baltimore MD.

For over 20 years, the Large Installation System Administration Conference (LISA) has been the must-attend system administration conference. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to meet and mingle with the leaders of the system administration industry.

-- Adam Moskowitz, LISA 2009 Program Chair

I'll also be doing a "Guru is In" Q&A session on Network Management on Thursday afternoon at the conference.

I'm going to LISA '09I hope I'll see you there!

Details about the "Automating Network Configuration and Management" Tutorial

Who should attend: Network and system administrators who want to bring the benefits of automated configuration and management to their networks. These benefits include consistency, reliability, repeatability, and scalability; the automation techniques covered apply to the whole range of network devices (routers, switches, load balancers, firewalls, etc.) and services (SNMP status and performance monitoring, DNS, DHCP, ACLs, routing, etc.). Students should already be generally familiar with networking fundamentals (addressing, naming, routing, etc.), the roles and basic methods of operation of common network devices and services, and how these devices and services are typically configured and managed by hand; this tutorial isn't going to teach you what a firewall is or how it works, for example, but it will teach you how to automate the configuration and management of a typical firewall.

This tutorial introduces students to a variety of network automation principles and practices, as well as to specific network automation tools such as Netomata Config Generator (NCG) for generating device/service config files, RANCID and ZipTie for managing configs on devices, and Nagios and MRTG for SNMP network status and performance monitoring. In addition, the tutorial shows how to integrate these network automation tools with host automation tools such as Puppet and Cfengine.

Take back to work: Effective techniques for automating the configuration and management of common network devices and services, as well as approaches to getting the most out of automation and arguments to convince peers, managers, and executives that automation is worth the effort.

Topics include:

  • Benefits of automation
  • Aspects of automation
    • Keeping track of what is connected to your network, and how
    • Generating configs
    • Getting configs to and from devices
    • Change management and control
    • Principles of automation
    • Levels of automation
  • Tools
    • RANCID
    • ZipTie
    • NCG (Netomata Config Generator)
    • Vendor-specific device configuration tools
  • Automating configuration of network devices
    • Routers
    • Switches
    • Firewalls
    • Load balancers
    • PDUs
  • Automating configuration of network services
    • SNMP status monitoring (e.g., Nagios)
    • SNMP trend monitoring (e.g., MRTG)
    • DNS
    • DHCP
    • ACLs
    • VLANs
    • VPNs
  • Integration with host automation systems, such as Puppet and Cfengine
  • Best practices, pearls of wisdom, tips and tricks
  • Emerging trends and special circumstances
    • Virtualization
    • Cloud computing (including public, private, and hybrid clouds)
    • QA labs, testbeds, and development environments
    • IPv6
    • CoBIT
    • ITIL
  • Strategies for promoting automation in your organization
    • Arguments to convince management to support automation
    • Arguments to convince staff to support automation
    • Methods for gradually automating existing networks

LISA '09