Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Network Field Day 21 - Network to Code - Changing the networking landscape

It is not often you get to see a friend and colleague start and grow a business from scratch and have major impact on your industry. My friend Jason Edelman has done just that with his company, Network to Code. It was cool to have him, and his team, present at NFD21 and I wanted to highlight a couple of the things I found impressive about what they are investing in.

First, they are supporting NetBox as an open source project and developing on top of that. They are extending what NetBox can do by hiring Jeremy Stretch (who started the project while he was at Digital Ocean) to work full time on building out functionality and features in NetBox. This allows Network to Code to provide best in class capabilities for companies that wish to use, extend and scale up their projects leveraging NetBox. If you haven’t heard of NetBox, you can check it out the GitHub repository at https://github.com/netbox-community/netbox and the documentation at https://netbox.readthedocs.io/en/stable/ for a more in depth understanding. In summary, from the documentation site: “NetBox is an open source web application designed to help manage and document computer networks.” And it includes the following:

  • IP address management (IPAM) - IP networks and addresses, VRFs, and VLANs
  • Equipment racks - Organized by group and site
  • Devices - Types of devices and where they are installed
  • Connections - Network, console, and power connections among devices
  • Virtualization - Virtual machines and clusters
  • Data circuits - Long-haul communications circuits and provider
  • Secrets - Encrypted storage of sensitive credentials
As accurate as the description is, it really doesn’t do this project justice. It is cool what Jeremy and the community has built out, I think many organizations will find it incredibly useful in helping to keep their infrastructure world in order without having to glue together a crazy number of NMS, spreadsheets and diagrams together in a wiki and hope to keep that current. Because it is API and automation focused it makes it easier for operators to leverage custom scripts, normalized data models, and integration into a lot of other tools. The exciting part is that Network to Code is planning on providing commercial support for the product so customers who are nervous about not having formal support for an open source product they would run can obtain it from Network to Code. This is fantastic news for adoption and interest in NetBox. You should check out the NFD21 presentation Jeremy and John gave about NetBox.

Second, for me is the community and the effort that Network to Code has put into helping to put support and resources behind that. If you are not aware, they host a Network to Code slack channel (https://slack.networktocode.com/ ) that has 10,000+ members and is a great resource to start learning about what is happening in the networking automation space. They continue to invest in open source tooling and contributions and believe in the model of sharing and supporting interesting projects. The team at Network to Code has build some of the largest commercial network vendor integrations for a variety of platforms but most notable is for Ansible. If you are not familiar with Network to Code then check out Jason giving an overview of the company, and explaining who is Network to Code.
I’m excited to hear what Network to Code will do next and they are a company you should keep an eye on if you are in the networking space. Great people with a goal to change how the industry is doing networking.
 - Ed

In a spirit of fairness (and also because it is legally required by the FTC), I am posting this Disclosure Statement. It is intended to alert readers to funding or gifts that might influence my writing. My participation in Tech Field Day events was voluntary and I was invited to participate in NFD21. Tech Field Day is hosted by Gestalt IT and my hotel, transportation, food and beverage was/is paid for by Gestalt IT for the duration of the event. In addition, small swag gifts were/are provided by some of the sponsors of the event to delegates. It should be noted that there was/is no requirement to produce content about the sponsors and any content produced does not require review or editing by Gestalt IT or the sponsors of the event.