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NAPALM is a framework which can be used to interact with compatible network devices. Its strength is that it exposes functions that will automatically do what is necessary given the device type. There is a page detailing what functions are supported depending on the device and its OS.

Peering Manager uses NAPALM for features such as:

  • Installing rendered configurations on devices
  • Discovering BGP sessions setup on a device for an IXP
  • Polling BGP state for known BGP sessions

MAPALM uses a concept of driver to interact with devices. Drivers for some well known network operating systems (Junos, IOS-XR, …) are provided out of the box. If the hardware is not supported, installing third-party drivers is required. Most people do it by adding Python packages corresponding to drivers in a local_requirements.txt file.

To make the link between a NAPALM driver and a device, Peering Manager uses platforms. A platform is an object representing a network operating system. If supporting a new NOS with a valid driver is necessary, a new platform must be created with the NAPALM driver identifier set in NAPALM Driver field.

For Peering Manager to know how to connect to devices, a valid usernamde and password couple is required. These values can be set for all devices using configuration parameters.

NAPALM_USERNAME = 'peeringmanageruser'
NAPALM_PASSWORD = 'letsfindabetterpassword'
NAPALM_TIMEOUT  = 30 # Timeout which defaults to 30 seconds
NAPALM_ARGS     = {} # Python dictionary of supported NAPALM arguments

They can also be set in the device object.

Once all the details filled in, Peering Manager should be able to connect on the devices. You can check by clicking the Ping button in device views. This ping button does not send ICMP echo requests. It tries to connect to the device using the protocol defined by the NAPALM driver (can be SSH, HTTP, …).

Automatic Configuration Deployment

If Peering Manager is used to generate complete or partial configurations and push them to routers, this task can be automated using the given command.

# venv/bin/python3 configure_routers --no-commit-check

This will generate the configuration for each router and push it. If there are no new peering sessions to be deployed, this command is also useful to deploy any new configuration information, such as maximum prefix changes peers may have made against existing peering sessions.

If the --no-commit-check flag is set, the command will try to push the configuration on the router without checking if there are any changes to be deployed.

If the --limit flag is set, it expects a list of router hostnames on which the new configuration must be installed. The router hostnames must be separated by commas without spaces.

If the --tasks flag is set, it will schedule background tasks for running multiple configuration processes instead of running it as part of the command process.

If no configuration template is attached to a given router, it will be ignored during the execution of the task.

Poll BGP Sessions

Peering Manager is able to retrieve some BGP session details such as state, received route number, advertised route number. To fetch these values, sessions must be attached to a router, via a BGP group or a connection to an IXP. The router must also be enabled for polling.

A --limit flag is available to limit the polling process to a given set of routers, thanks to a comma separated list of hostnames.

A --tasks flag is available to schedule background tasks for running multiple polling processes instead of running it as part of the command process.

# venv/bin/python3 poll_bgp_sessions