Would you be able to provide any further insight into your Don’t #5 – “Don’t 
agree to change management. Managers are rarely engineers and should not be 
making technical decisions. (nor should sales)“.


From: Job Snijders []
Sent: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 4:03 PM
To: Brian Knight <>; Graham Johnston 
Subject: Re: Templating/automating configuration


Here are some extra pointers:

Kind regards,


On Tue, 6 Jun 2017 at 13:49, Brian Knight 
<<>> wrote:
Because we had different sources of truth which were written in-house, we wound 
up rolling our own template engine in Python. It took about 3 weeks to write 
the engine and adapt existing templates.  Given a circuit ID, it generates the 
full config for copy and paste into a terminal session.  It also hooks into a 
configuration parser tool, written in-house, that tracks configured interfaces, 
so it is easy to see whether the template would overwrite an existing interface.

I used the Jinja2 template engine, along with pyodbc/unixODBC/FreeTDS for 
access to a Microsoft SQL backend.

The keys for us are:

* extracting information from a source of truth

* validating the information for correctness

* making sure you don't overwrite existing config

* outputting the right templates for the circuit features

It made more sense to write a tool than it did to try to adapt something for 
our environment.

If I had a free hand and unlimited budget, I would find a single app that 
functions as a source of truth for all circuits and products, which includes a 
templating engine that hooks in easily.


---- On Tue, 06 Jun 2017 08:22:59 -0500 Graham Johnston 
&lt;<>&gt; wrote 

Short of complete SDN, for those of you that have some degree of configuration 
templating and/or automation tools what is it that you run? I'm envisioning 
some sort of tool that let's me define template snippets of configuration and 
aids in their deployment to devices. I'm okay doing the heaving lifting in 
defining everything, I'm just looking for the tool that stitches it together 
and hopefully makes things a little less error prone for those who aren't as 

Graham Johnston

Network Planner

Westman Communications Group


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