30 DevNet Network Automation Modules To Help You #LabEveryday

Updated: Jan 8

Everyone is talking about Cisco’s new Devnet platform and certification track. But who is it for? I have received a ton of messages asking how does it apply to network engineers?


Is it just for developers?


If not, then where do I start?




If you have not already, check out my interview with Cisco DevNet CTO and Founder Susie Wee. In this video Susie covers everything you need to know about DevNet.


In this post I am going to share with you 30 modules that are freely available on Cisco’s Devnet platform that you can begin using right now. To not only educate yourself on network automation. You have the opportunity to learn skills that no other platform is offering for free. In this list you will learn everything from Python, Git, APIs, ACI, Kubernetes, SD-WAN and more. There are over one hundred modules on the platform and I have been through them all in depth.


Quick note. In some of the modules you will need a vpn connection into Devnet. For many of the labs you won't need it. Here's a link to download anyconnect.


1. Networking Basics

Duration 1 Hour 20 minutes

Before we even get started with network automation, we have to know the basics of networking. If you are brand new to networking this is ground zero. This module breaks down networking basics, topologies, and ip addressing. The module is not that long, so you will have to continue to build on this knowledge if you are just starting out. https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/networking-basics


2. Developer Workstation and Environment Setup

Duration 3 Hours

This module focuses on helping you setup your computer or laptop for devnet. You will go through why you need a developer environment along with explaining tools like IDE, version control, and shells. If you are brand new to automation but already have a grasp on networking, I would start here.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/dev-setup


3. Python Fundamentals

Duration 2 Hours 15 Minutes

Python is the most popular network automation language right now. This module focuses on teaching you the fundamentals python, APIs, JSON, and git for version control as well. Here will be the core of your beginner skills that you will be building on. The more you practice, the better you will git! https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/intro-python


4. LM-4402: REST APIs

Duration 1 Hour 55 Minutes

The previous module touches on APIs (Application Programming Interface) and this module dives even deeper while introducing us to postman. You will enjoy this module because you get to parse data from an actual WebEx API. Enjoy! https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/devnet-express-np-rest-python


5. Network Programmability

Duration 2 Hour 20 Minutes

You may ask why this was not listed sooner. But we had to cover some of the fundamentals before we start diving deeper. In this module you will learn about Network Programmability and all of its intricacies. https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/network-programmability


6. Introduction to Model Driven Programmability

Duration 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Now its time to get out of our comfort zone and explore NETCONF and RESTCONF to communicate with Cisco XE IOS devices. I am not a real fan of NETCONF, because I prefer JSON over XML and YANG. Either way you will learn and enjoy this module.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/intro-device-level-interfaces


7. Cloud Native Development

Duration 1 Hour 50 Minutes

It’s odd that we are talking about microservices before we talk about virtualization. Either way this module will introduce you to the world of Docker Containers. Which has become the way of future. As you develop your scripts and apps you will need a location to host them. Rather than using your personal computer or taking up resources on a server you can create a container that performs your single task or a series of tasks.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/cloud-native-development


8. Introduction to Ansible

Duration 1 Hour 5 Minutes

My goal with this post is to share resources that you can use to improve your skills. To be honest I see a future where knowing a coding language will not be as necessary. And this is because of tools like Ansible. This tool makes automation seems so simple.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/sdx-ansible-intro


9. Cisco SD-WAN

Duration 2 Hours 5 Minutes

If we are preparing for the future then knowing about the latest technologies is a must. This module will introduce you to Software Defined Wide Area Networking. I know it’s a big term that can have some even bigger implications if you misconfigure it.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/sd-wan


10. DevOps

Duration 4 Hours 45 Minutes

This module goes over some of the moving pieces in DevOps. It focuses on CI/CD/CD which is continuous integration, continuous delivery and continuous deployment.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/devops


11. Introduction to NetDevOps Configuration Pipelines with CICD

Duration 1 Hour 5 Minutes

Continuing on with the DevOps theme this module will walk you through building your own CICD pipeline. This is a must if you are making changes to your code. You will need to know if there are issues before your push code out to production.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/netcicd


12. Vagrant Up for Network Engineers

Duration 2 Hours 5 Minutes

If you are going to be working in virtual environments and with containers. Vagrant is an opensource tool that helps you simplify this process. This module will walk you through the process of using Vagrant to build out your test virtual environments.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/vagrant_up


13. NETCONF/YANG on Nexus

Duration 1 Hour 10 Minutes

Next to Json my next favorite data model is yang. Its readable and makes sense. This module walks you through the process of using yang data models and NxOS. https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/netconf-yang-nexus


14. Introduction to ACI Programmability

Duration 1 Hour 40 Minutes



In this video I discuss 5 technologies that you should be learning right now and aci is one of them. Not to be bias but I think ACI is the coolest technology in networking today. There is so much to learn and we are at the beginning of its implementation. For the next few modules we will focus on learning about aci. Then learning how to automate it by using tools like the ACItoolkit, Arya, and Cobra. I think you will enjoy this module.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/intro-to-aci


15. Intermediate ACI Programmability

Duration 3 Hours

This module will introduce more tools that will expand your aci automation knowledge. I personally had to break this module up into smaller sessions just so I could setup and really grasp the power of WebArya. https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/intermediate-aci-prog


16. Introduction to ACI and Ansible

Duration 1 Hour

Previous at number 8 we introduced you to ansible. Now its time to take that knowledge and apply it to automating ACI. I like ansible for the simplicity and the ease of use. In this module you will see why.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/ansible-aci-intro


17. Introduction to NX-OS Programmability

Duration 1 Hour

We cannot continue to dive into ACI without covering NXOS. In module 13 we covered Yang and were introduced to NXOS. This module provides you with an even deeper understanding of network programmability in NXOS and the NX-API. https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/sdx-intro-nxos


18. Installing and Setting Up Kubernetes and the ACI CNI plug-in

Duration 1 Hour 30 Minutes

We’ve covered containers, devops, and aci. Now its time to learn about integrating ACI with Kubernetes using the CNI plug-in. If you have not noticed the power of using Devnet by now. Literally you can leverage this platform to become an architect or an SRE.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/acik8s-setup


19. Deploying Kubernetes Applications and Managing Policy with ACI

Duration 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Building on your ACI and Kubernetes knowledge. Here you will learn how to deploy applications to Kubernetes integrated with ACI.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/acik8s-apps


20. Introduction to Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) APIs - V-1.1

Duration 1 Hour

If you know me then you know my other favorite technology besides ACI is Cisco’s ISE. With ISE replacing ACS and managing all things NAC this module is one I really recommend. It starts with a quick intro ACI and then from there you learn to use the API. The real value in this lab, like in most is the free access you get from live technology.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/ise-v11


21. Network Controllers

Duration 10 Minutes

With Cisco focusing on intent based networking the new DNA platform is one that many organizations will, if not already be implementing. In this module you will learn about network controllers and automating DNA with python.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/net-controllers


22. IOS-XR CLI Automation

Duration 1 Hour 30 Minutes

I have been in many organizations and working on ASRs and CSRs and until recently have I realized the true power they hold. In this module you will learn about IOS-XR and how you can automate with Linux and python directly on box. It can be noted that TCLsh has been around for a long time.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/iosxr-cli-automation


23. IOS-XR Streaming Telemetry

Duration 3 Hours

This module’s description starts off by stating SNMP is dead. That statement alone made me excited to dive into this lab! Learn about Streaming Telemetry capabilities in IOS-XR and how it allows tools to subscribe to structured data, contractually obliged to the YANG models representing operational state of the IOS-XR internal database (SYSDB)

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/iosxr-streaming-telemetry


24. Introduction to Meraki

Duration 1 Hour 5 Minutes

Cisco Meraki’s technology is super cool. If you have not used it before it’s a brand of Cisco products that are focused on small to medium sized businesses that want enterprise solutions without the cost and complexity.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/dnav3-meraki


25. Getting Started With Meraki

Duration 3 Hours 10 Minutes

Continuing with the Meraki theme. In this module you will learn how to automate the Meraki platform by using APIs postman and python.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/getting-started-with-meraki


26. Machine Learning Exploration

Duration 2 Hours 5 Minutes

With machine learning you can do some really cool stuff, like imagine recognition. This module introduces you to machine learning and tools like Tensorflow while leveraging the super powerful UCS in Devnet’s sandbox.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/ai-ml


27. IOx - Cisco IoT Application Development

Duration 2 Hours 50 Minutes

Are you interested in IoT? Here you will learn about the Internet of Things and then you will use what you learned about containers to build applications for IoT.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/IoT-IOx-Apps


28. Cisco SD-WAN

Duration 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There was so much buzz around SD-WAN in 2019 and judging by how every networking technology is shifting to be more API driven and software defined. SD-WAN could take off. In this module you will learn what is SD-WAN, how it works and how to use its API.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/sd-wan


29. Cisco SD-WAN with Ansible

Duration 1 Hour

Building on your previous SD-WAN knowledge. This module will allow you to learn more about vManage and using Ansible to automate SD-WAN.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/cisco_sd-wan_with_ansible


30. NSO Basics by Cisco IT

Duration 3 Hours 35 Minutes

NSO or Network Service Orchestrator is an extremely powerful tool. Follow through this module and learn the basics about network programmability and Next Generation Orchestration. There is nothing like learning theory with application and this module is all about that.

https://developer.cisco.com/learning/modules/nso-basics


So there you have it. 30 modules to help you kick your New Year into gear. I would love to hear which module you are most excited about. Let me know in the comment section below. And if you found this post helpful. Like, share and subscribe to our blog.


Peace,

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