Monday, September 20, 2021

Juniper - Mist API and Automation with Postman

Juniper presented at Networking Field Day 26 on Sept 14, 2021 - I really recommend you check out the presentation on network automation that Ryan and Jake did, you will likely learn something new if you are not staying super current on network automation and APIs. Even if you are staying current, it is worth a watch honestly.

Jake showed off Postman (which is an open source tool and is an API platform for building and using APIs) and how they are leveraging the "Power of the Juniper API". More importantly, they provided a Postman Collection Runner (the Collection Runner allows you to run sets of requests in a specified sequence - this link explains the runner) for free which is really amazing. You can find the Mist Runner Collection (this is the link to their actual collection) up on GitHub. This means that folks who are trying to get started with automation in networking don't have to start from zero. This helps with the stress of the situation where your management team expects you to be at automation hero level in a week or two. Jake does a full hands on demo of his runner deploying a campus fabric from a simple CSV initialization file (he provides example files too.) It really is pretty cool. Using a Collection to do workflow and automation when you are leveraging an API makes a lot of sense. And when a vendor releases for free how to leverage a tool like this to help make you life easier, it is worth checking out. You can see from the Postman UI, it is really straight forward.

You do need to create a free account with Postman, but you have to do that for things like GitHub too, and the value you get from this tool make it worth the inconveniences of doing so.

In addition, Mist has up on the GitHub repo the Mist API Cookbook. It is a good way to start figuring out how to use the Mist API. I recommend grabbing that to start exploring the API with Postman. Even if you just want to explore and learn about how an API can be useful versus doing some CLI scripting, this is a good way to figure that out. The repo contains simple PDF files that cover things like EVPN to Access Layer deployment, for instance. As you can see from the screenshot, very straight forward:

I'm excited to see vendors sharing their tooling, scripts and examples for the community to learn from. It is super difficult to get started in network API and automation when you also have to run and operate a day to day network. Being able to leverage what other smart engineers have put time and energy into in invaluable in the learning part of the journey. I look forward to seeing more content from Juniper in this space.

You can also check out Girard Kavelines' post about Juniper at TechHouse570 - Networking Field Day - Day 1 RecapJason Gintert's post on Automation and Assurance of the AI Driven Campus with Juniper Networks and Tim Bertino's post on NFD26 – Experience First Networking w/ Juniper. You can listen to Drew Conry-Murray and I chat about Juniper's NFD26 presentation on the Packet Pushers Briefings in Brief podcast. A.J. Murray and Tim Bertino did an Art of Network Engineering podcast about NFD26.

- 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 NFD26. 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, if travel was involved (this event is virtual so none of that happened). In addition, small swag gifts or donations were/are provided by some of the sponsors of the event to delegates (I didn't accept the swag gifts offered but did ask the sponsors to donate to causes that support Mental Health since this is Suicide Prevention week - Juniper was kind enough to do so). 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. So all the spelling mistakes and grammar errors are my own.

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