The Cisco DevNet certification monitor displays the broader adjustments occurring throughout the networking business.
Networking has largely moved past the standard command-line interface and guide administration and now follows a trajectory towards software-defined networking, automation and DevOps. The DevNet certification focuses on these ideas, exploring how networking, programmability and software program growth construct on each other.
Whereas software program, APIs and dealing with code would possibly look like daunting matters to community practitioners, they’re worthwhile investments — and it is potential to beat the intimidation with a mindset change, observe and research steerage.
That is the place the authors of Cisco Licensed DevNet Skilled DEVCOR 350-901 Official Cert Information, from Cisco Press, enter the scene. Most community professionals who observe Cisco certifications and DevNet carefully have probably encountered the names of Hazim Dahir, Jason Davis, Stuart Clark and Quinn Snyder.
Specialists of their fields, the authors are not any strangers to automation, steady integration and steady supply (CI/CD) and community administration. They perceive what community engineers ought to know to collaborate with utility and safety groups and construct networks that higher assist enterprise purposes. Right here, they focus on DevNet challenges and the intersection between networking and CI/CD and supply recommendation for candidates finding out for the DevNet Skilled examination.
Editor’s notice: The next interview was edited for size and readability.
What are a few of the tougher elements of the DevNet monitor?
Quinn Snyder: When you’re coming from a community infrastructure standpoint, the onerous half is studying all of the software program growth lifecycle issues — writing good code, writing safe code, writing all of the bits and items you be taught in software program engineering courses.
When you take a look at the way you begin as a community engineer, you are finding out your CCNA [Cisco Certified Network Associate] or CCNP [Cisco Certified Network Professional], and also you’re attending to work on the identical gear you are finding out at night time. Now, you must make a aware effort to observe these rules as a result of chances are you’ll not be capable to use them in your day job. So, it is that rather more intimidating to get began.
Coming from software program growth, pc science or engineering, then it is understanding all of the completely different components and items of Cisco’s portfolio and the way they play collectively to make packets commute throughout the web.
Jason Davis: The normal community infrastructure engineer, particularly one which has a long-tailed profession, goes to be extra snug with a main interface that has been perpetuated for years, which was the command-line interface. Once we look again eight or 9 years in the past with software-defined networking, or SDN, that pivoted the concept of getting to handle each machine atomically by a command line to managing 1000’s, tens of 1000’s and doubtlessly hundreds of thousands of units by controllers, then APIs and community programmability.
That shifted the mindset, and a few conventional community engineers are having to be taught that you could’t scale if you must sort all the things. I name that finger-defined networking, or FDN. The power to pivot your mindset to studying Python, APIs, REST interfaces, the authentication, knowledge encoding that is crucial — whether or not that data is available in XML format or my favourite JSON-encoded. And it’s a thoughts shift.
How are community practitioners moving into automation?
Hazim Dahir: There is a strategic shift from firms and huge enterprises as they deploy networks on a worldwide stage and have this standardization of processes and procedures. We began programming the community, however now, we’re programming the community for an utility or enterprise function.
In a top-down or bottom-up strategy — any manner you take a look at it — there is a strategic emergence of the DevOps groups that sit within the center and handle your complete infrastructure. In addition they present the setting for deploying capabilities to facilitate enterprise processes or purposes.
That strategic emergence of DevOps groups was initially a comfort. Now, we’re seeing that line blur between DevOps groups that weren’t associated to or within the community — now, they see these environments they deploy require storage, compute, community, safety. All these items must be optimized, deployed, configured and programmed concurrently as a result of it is a complete setting or workload.
Davis: Cluing in on utilizing industrial instruments or rolling your individual, open supply and all that — it is a legitimate query. Totally different firms have completely different investments in folks, processes and instruments, in order that’s going to dictate what they do.
I will provide you with a latest expertise from once we had our Cisco Stay occasion. I used to be answerable for serving to with automation, monitoring and dashboarding all of the expertise we use at our Cisco Stay occasion. I get to put on a buyer hat, in a way, for the present.
After all, we used our personal industrial administration instruments — DNA Middle, Prime Community Registrar, the ACI APIC [Application Centric Infrastructure Application Policy Infrastructure Controller] controller. However we additionally had different options that helped assist the occasion: VMware vCenter, the NetApp OnTap administration device. IT service administration is not simply networking; it is numerous issues. We used the industrial merchandise, after which we checked out them and mentioned, ‘Is that this sufficient? Or are there gaps we have to fill in the place we would like extra visibility or observability?’
Snyder: One lure lots of people fall into is that they’re centered on, ‘We wish this to be platform-agnostic, and we’ll roll our personal tooling as a result of which means we will take out a field by this vendor and change it with a field by that vendor.’
Even if you happen to’re not utilizing industrial administration tooling, there’s nonetheless a price related to having to retool to a brand new platform. It’s a must to work out what’s sufficient and the place you’ll want to lengthen it. Generally, it is rolling your individual, and typically, it is taking a vendor’s product, extracting knowledge out of it and gluing it along with APIs and Python code.
Stuart Clark: If you go to the roots of GitOps rules, one of many 10 commandments, if you’ll, is you are in a position to change the instruments out and in. Say, in your CI/CD pipeline, you swap out Jenkins for CircleCI, otherwise you go from utilizing one thing that is free, like Jenkins, and also you go to a industrial product.
Inside community automation, that presents its personal challenges. You see that, whether or not firms are going the DIY manner or whether or not they’re utilizing a controller to summary all that data from these units. On the finish of the day, that is the place I wish to suppose community automation goes — in that we do not care what make the field is.
How does CI/CD play with community administration and automation?
Davis: Folks get their toes moist by placing their toe within the water. We will take into consideration CI/CD in grabbing configs and placing these in a Git repo. Via that, I can begin to archive and take a look at variations, and that has numerous worth. We have had community administration instruments — it is like configuration administration self-discipline. You may tie collectively a community programmability self-discipline of getting that config by NETCONF [Network Configuration Protocol] or different means with telemetry and instrumentation after which drop it right into a Git repo. That is step one.
As you begin to make adjustments to your setting, you would possibly marvel, ‘Can I run this by some sort of coverage administration scanning? Is it operating the companies the way in which I outline them?’ And the following step could be, ‘Can I check out an thought?’ That is the place we would combine a digital community and add that config right into a digital community or digital twin. Generally, folks speak about a bodily community but in addition have a virtualized illustration of it as a digital twin. As I faux to make adjustments, I need to observe how that impacts them.
That will get us into the testing facet of CI/CD. Whether or not you go full hoo-ha into software program growth of getting one thing out right into a buyer’s arms to allow them to see the pattern web or the instance configuration steerage, and it turns into SonarQube and Artifactory and all the opposite stuff you would possibly do if you’re attempting to push code out right into a repository and produce other folks choose it up. That is a way more superior facet.
Snyder: We speak about CI/CD, and it is like this massive, amorphous blob. However there are numerous completely different components to it. There’s the mixing testing — the CI portion — and supply, and the way do you get that code from Git onto your community. We contact on that within the e book, the place now we have these methods you may add, say, Terraform plans right into a Git repository and have it push that configuration routinely to infrastructure.
Past that, there are CI/CD pipelines that do not even use a supply code supervisor. There are methods you may have sources of reality within the community that operate as a service registry or service liveliness. If a service in your community goes down or a developer rolls out a brand new model of an utility and it comes on-line, we would like the truth that a brand new utility is on-line to drive adjustments within the community routinely. And we will try this utilizing API glue and a few off-the-shelf tooling to drive community automation, with out having somebody click on a button to do a Git commit. Utility builders push an app, and we will we will make the community do issues from there.
Clark: Jason was speaking about gathering knowledge. One of many issues, if you happen to’ve spent numerous time in community engineering, is gathering metadata — with the ability to use that metadata to file towards sure occasions and issues taking place in your infrastructure, with the ability to pinpoint when adjustments impacted customer support.
For me, that is one of many massive values of CI/CD. It goes hand in hand with different instruments like telemetry, the place you dig into these occasions and perceive what’s taking place and why it is taking place. As a result of, usually, when it is two within the morning and your cellphone’s ringing, you are sleep-deprived. You are wandering round, falling over the cat, standing on the child’s Lego, these items with squinted eyes at two within the morning. Having that knowledge at hand and having some historic file of that may resolve numerous ache issues for firms and groups.
Any last ideas?
Davis: Embrace community programmability. Get snug writing packages. It means that you can use the flexibleness you’ll want to do your job.
Snyder: Programming would not must be one thing the place you’ll want to undergo this troublesome course of. Discover a venture that pursuits you. Have observability primarily based on barbecue smoking or retweeting no matter data you discover fascinating. Easy stuff like that simply to get your toes moist and preserve transferring with it. As a result of it actually might be enjoyable, so long as you discover one thing you are considering.
Clark: One piece of recommendation after I’m speaking to folks about that is consistency. When you’re making use of your self to community programmability, preserve at it. To Quinn’s level, discover just a little venture — some low-hanging fruit at work. Begin attempting to resolve these tedious activity issues, those the place venture managers come to you on a Friday night time with a half-eaten pizza, and you will be working late. Attempt to automate all these duties away.
Dahir: It is quite a bit to soak up. What we tried to do with our e book is not only allow you to cross a check, but in addition give you a technique to know the why behind instruments and processes, no matter what course you’re taking.
In regards to the authors
Jason Davis is a distinguished engineer for the DevNet program within the Developer Relations group at Cisco. His function is technical technique lead for the DevRel group as he collaborates with varied Cisco enterprise unit leaders, companions, prospects and different business influencers. Jason is targeted on automation, orchestration, cloud-native applied sciences and community administration/operations applied sciences. He has a tenured profession working with lots of of shoppers, worldwide, in a few of the largest community automation and administration tasks and is sought out for consulting and revolutionary management. His former expertise as a U.S. Military Sign Corps officer has offered insights to protection, authorities and public-sector tasks, whereas his in depth work in skilled companies at Cisco has spanned industrial, large-enterprise and repair supplier segments. Most of his buyer engagements have been in automotive, manufacturing, giant retail, giant occasion venues and well being care. Jason has achieved Cisco Stay Distinguished Speaker Corridor of Fame standing and is an automation/monitoring lead for the community operations middle (NOC) at Cisco Stay occasions within the U.S. and Europe. He resides in Apex, North Carolina, and enjoys IoT tasks, dwelling automation and audio/video applied sciences in homes of worship. Jason and his spouse, Amy, have 4 youngsters whom they homeschool and cherish each day. Jason is discovered on social media @SNMPguy.
Hazim Dahir, CCIE No. 5536, is a distinguished engineer on the Cisco workplace of the CTO. He’s working to outline and affect next-generation digital transformation architectures throughout a number of applied sciences and verticals. Hazim began his Cisco tenure in 1996 as a software program engineer and subsequently moved into the companies group specializing in large-scale community designs. He is at present specializing in growing architectures using safety, collaboration, edge computing and IoT applied sciences addressing the way forward for work and hybrid cloud necessities for giant enterprises. Via his ardour for engineering and sustainability, Hazim is at present engaged on superior software program options for electrical and autonomous autos with world automotive producers. Hazim is a Distinguished Speaker at Cisco Stay and is a frequent presenter at a number of world conferences and requirements our bodies. He has a number of issued and pending patents and a lot of innovation and R&D publications.
Stuart Clark, DevNet Knowledgeable #2022005, began his profession as a hairdresser in 1990, and in 2008, he modified careers to turn out to be a community engineer. After chopping his enamel in community operations, he moved to community tasks and packages. Stuart joined Cisco in 2012 as a community engineer, rebuilding considered one of Cisco’s world networks and designing and constructing Cisco’s IXP peering program. After a few years as a community engineer, Stuart grew to become obsessive about community automation and joined Cisco DevNet as a developer advocate for community automation. Stuart contributed to the DevNet exams and was a part of one of many SME groups that created, designed and constructed the Cisco Licensed DevNet Knowledgeable. Stuart has introduced at greater than 50 exterior conferences and is a multitime Cisco Stay Distinguished Speaker, overlaying matters on community automation and methodologies. Stuart lives in Lincoln, England, along with his spouse, Natalie, and their son, Maddox. He performs guitar and rocks a powerful two-foot beard whereas consuming espresso. Stuart might be discovered on social media @bigevilbeard.
Quinn Snyder is a developer advocate throughout the Developer Relations group inside Cisco, specializing in knowledge middle applied sciences, each on premises and cloud-native. On this function, he aligns his ardour for training and studying along with his enthusiasm for serving to the infrastructure automation group develop and harness the powers of APIs, structured knowledge and programmability tooling. Previous to his work as a DA, Quinn spent 15 years in a wide range of design, engineering and implementation roles throughout knowledge middle, utility and repair supplier prospects for each Cisco and the associate group. Quinn is a proud graduate of Arizona State College (go Solar Devils!) and a Cisco Community Academy alumnus. He’s the technical co-chair of the SkillsUSA – Arizona Internetworking contest and is concerned with programmability training on the state and regional stage for the Cisco Networking Academy. Quinn resides within the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, along with his spouse, Amanda, and his two children. In his free time, yow will discover him behind a grill, behind a digital camera lens or on the soccer discipline teaching his daughter’s soccer groups. Quinn might be discovered on social media @qsnyder, normally posting a combination of technical content material and his culinary creations.