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Network Automation with Python using network devices' REST API Interface

In this tutorial I'll show you how to configure network devices using their integrated API interface. To understand this, you should be familiar with Python, REST APIs and networking because this is intended to show how to integrate those things together.

The network I configured with this script looks like this:

Image description

Using the API interface instead of the CLI is not just faster when applying configurations on multiple devices, it allows us to take advantage of the programming language's functions, creating more flexible and smarter configurations and apply them on our network devices as needed. For this, we're going to use the requests and urllib3 libraries from Python.

You can also configure lots of devices at the same time and modify the applied configurations using conditions such as a name, a serial number ... literally anything you want to. There are tons of possibilities, it will depend on your creativity, network understanding and programming skills.

The example I'm going to show here is a Python script that creates and applies all of the base configurations on our network devices, in my case, ArubaOS CX switches. I developed this script to configure everything on the access switches newly installed in a network. The only things that you need to use this script are:

  • Remote management (https) enabled and reachable from you're executing the script
  • Device's credentials
  • The Uplink interface of your devices (when I install network devices I use the 1st available fiber port for example, you just need to have them identified)
  • Ports distribution depending on the network requirements
  • Understanding of the API interface of the target network devices

First of all, I listed all of the basic parameters I wanted to configure on my network devices. These are:

  • Device description
  • DNS, NTP, Syslog, DHCP Snooping and Radius (for centralized management) settings
  • VLANS and Voice VLAN
  • Port distribution (Trunk, access etc...) depending on the needs of the network

Note: Your needs can be different to my network's, so pay attention to the API documentation of your device for the parameters you need so you can find the correct destination of the requests later.

After that, I started looking for what I needed to configure on my devices in the ArubaOS CX API interface documentation. In my case, my targets where:

Hostname, timezone and DHCP Snooping -> /rest/v10.12/system
DNS Server and Domain Name -> /rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default
NTP Server -> /rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default/ntp_associations
Syslog Server -> /rest/v10.12/system/syslog_remotes
Radius Dynamic Authentication Clients -> /rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default/radius_dynamic_authorization_clients
AAA Groups -> /rest/v10.12/system/aaa_server_groups
Radius Servers -> /rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default/radius_servers
SSH Login Priority -> /rest/v10.12/system/aaa_server_group_prios/ssh
HTTPS Login priority -> /rest/v10.12/system/aaa_server_group_prios/https-server
VLANS -> /rest/v10.12/system/vlans/
Voice VLAN -> /rest/v10.12/system/vlans/{voice-vlan-id}
Ports -> /rest/v10.12/system/interfaces/{port}

After having my targets, I build the json structure of the data to send based on the API documentation and started to build the code as reusable as possible (I believe it has a lot of improvement opportunities) using this structure:

# Dictionary that contains all network devices to be configured
# Along with the hostname that will be configured on each of them
switches = {"": "arubaoscxsw01"}

# Credentials for the network devices, this case assumes all credentials are the same
# on all network devices
credentials = {"username": "admin", "password": "123456"}

# This is the base config dictionary, modify this as needed
# This could perfectly be a list of parameters so we can use this script faster in real implementations
base_config = {"dns_servers": ["", ""],
               "dns_domain_name": "domain.local",
               "ntp_server": "",
               "timezone": "UTC",
               "syslog_server": {"address": "syslogserver.local", "severity": "err"},
               "radius_server": {"group": "radiusgroup", "address": "radiusserver.local", "key": "serverkey"},
               "vlans": {9: "Users", 10: "SRV", 20: "VoIP", 50: "WiFi"},
               "voice_vlan": 20,
               "uplink_description": "UPLINK",
               "uplink_ports": ["1/1/1"],
               "wap_ports": ["1/1/2", "1/1/3"],
               "access_ports": ["1/1/4", "1/1/5", "1/1/6"],
               "server_ports": ["1/1/7"],
               "authorized_dhcp_servers": [""]
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This part has the basic information to establish the connection with the switches and the parameters we want to configure. This is where the JSON data is going to be filled with as shown here:

# Here we build the JSON configs from the base_config
# Consult the API to know how to build the config and
# where to POST/PATCH your desired configuration
# In this case, dictionaries match the JSON structure of the ArubaOS CX 10.12 API
dns_dhcp_auth_srv_config = {"dns_domain_name": base_config["dns_domain_name"],
              "dns_name_servers": {str(index): value for index, value in enumerate(base_config["dns_servers"])},
              "dhcpv4_snooping_authorized_servers": base_config["authorized_dhcp_servers"]}

ntp_server = {"address": base_config["ntp_server"],
              "association_attributes": {
                  "burst_mode": "iburst",
                  "maxpoll": 10,
                  "minpoll": 6,
                  "ntp_version": 4,
                  "prefer": False,
                  "ref_clock_id": "--"
              "key_id": None,
              "origin": "configuration",
              "vrf": "/rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default"}

syslog_server = {"remote_host": base_config["syslog_server"]["address"],
                 "severity": base_config["syslog_server"]["severity"],
                 "tls_auth_mode": "certificate",
                 "transport": "udp",
                 "unsecure_tls_renegotiation": False,
                 "vrf": {
                     "default": "/rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default"}}

radius_dyn_auth_client = {
    "address": base_config["radius_server"]["address"],
    "connection_type": "udp",
    "replay_protection_enable": True,
    "secret_key": base_config["radius_server"]["key"],
    "time_window": 300,
    "vrf": "/rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default"}

radius_server_groups = {"group_name": base_config["radius_server"]["group"],
                        "group_type": "radius",
                        "origin": "configuration"}

radius_server = {"accounting_udp_port": 1813,
                 "address": base_config["radius_server"]["address"],
                 "auth_type": "pap",
                 "passkey": base_config["radius_server"]["key"],
                 "port": 1812,
                 "port_access": "status-server",
                 "port_type": "udp",
                 "retries": None,
                 "server_group": {
                     f"/rest/v10.12/system/aaa_server_groups/{base_config['radius_server']['group']}": 1
                 "timeout": None,
                 "vrf": "/rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default"}

aaa_prio_ssh_https = {"authentication_group_prios":
                    {"0": f"/rest/v10.12/system/aaa_server_groups/{base_config['radius_server']['group']}"}
vlan_config = {"id": None, "name": None
voice_vlan = {"voice": True}

access_port_config = {"vlan_mode": "native-untagged",
                      "vlan_tag": {
                          "9": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/9"
                      "vlan_trunks": {
                          "9": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/9",
                          "20": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/20"},
                      "admin": "up"

server_port_config = {"vlan_mode": "access",
                      "vlan_tag": {
                          "10": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/10"},
                      "admin": "up"

wap_port_config = {"vlan_mode": "native-untagged",
                      "vlan_tag": {
                          "50": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/50"
                      "vlan_trunks": {
                          "9": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/9",
                          "50": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/50"},
                   "admin": "up"

uplink_port_config = {"vlan_mode": "native-untagged",
                      "vlan_tag": None,
                      "vlan_trunks": {
                          "1": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/1",
                          "9": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/9",
                          "10": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/10",
                          "20": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/20",
                          "50": "/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/50"},
                      "dhcpv4_snooping_configuration": {
                          "trusted": "true"},
                      "description": base_config["uplink_description"],
                      "admin": "up"
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As you can see, the structure is filled with the information on the base_config dictionary.

After having all of our data organized, we can start posting/patching data as needed on our destinations like this:

# We create our request session
sesion = requests.Session()

# We loop for every network device in our dictionary and apply configuration as
# the API says
for switch in switches:
    # This part substitutes the hostname in every network device
    # iteration in the dictionary for later use it to apply it
    sysconf = {"hostname": switches[switch],
               "timezone": base_config["timezone"],
               "radius_dynamic_authorization": {
                   "enable": True},
               "dhcpv4_snooping_general_configuration": {
                   "enable": True},
    # We log in our device
    login ="https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/login", data=credentials, verify=False)
        # Patching hostname, timezone and DHCP Snooping
        step_1 = sesion.patch(f"https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system", json=sysconf, verify=False)
        print("step_1 " + str(step_1.status_code))
        # Patching DNS servers and domain_name
        step_2 = sesion.patch(f"https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default", json=dns_dhcp_auth_srv_config, verify=False)
        print("step_2 " + str(step_2.status_code))
        # Posting NTP Server
        step_3 ="https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default/ntp_associations", json=ntp_server, verify=False)
        print("step_3 " + str(step_3.status_code))
        # Posting Syslog Server
        step_4 ="https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/syslog_remotes", json=syslog_server, verify=False)
        print("step_4 " + str(step_4.status_code))
        # Posting Radius Dynamic Authentication Client
        step_5 ="https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default/radius_dynamic_authorization_clients", json=radius_dyn_auth_client, verify=False)
        print("step_5 " + str(step_5.status_code))
        # Posting AAA Group
        step_6 ="https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/aaa_server_groups", json=radius_server_groups, verify=False)
        print("step_6 " + str(step_6.status_code))
        # Posting Radius Servers
        step_7 ="https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/vrfs/default/radius_servers", json=radius_server, verify=False)
        print("step_7 " + str(step_7.status_code))
        # Patching SSH and HTTPS login priorities
        # This enables admin login using radius
        step_8 = sesion.patch(f"https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/aaa_server_group_prios/ssh", json=aaa_prio_ssh_https, verify=False)
        print("step_8 " + str(step_8.status_code))
        step_9 = sesion.patch(f"https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/aaa_server_group_prios/https-server", json=aaa_prio_ssh_https, verify=False)
        print("step_9 " + str(step_9.status_code))
        # Creating VLANS
        for vlan in base_config["vlans"]:
            vlan_config["id"] = vlan
            vlan_config["name"] = base_config["vlans"][vlan]
            step_10 ="https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/vlans", json=vlan_config, verify=False)
            print("step_10 " + str(step_10.status_code))
        # Assigning Voice VLAN
        step_11 = sesion.patch(f"https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/vlans/{base_config['voice_vlan']}", json=voice_vlan, verify=False)
        print("step_11 " + str(step_11.status_code))
        # Access port config
        for access_port in base_config["access_ports"]:
            step_12 = sesion.patch(f"https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/interfaces/{access_port.replace('/', '%2F')}", json=access_port_config, verify=False)
            print("step_12 " + str(step_12.status_code))
        # Server ports config
        for server_port in base_config["server_ports"]:
            step_13 = sesion.patch(f"https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/interfaces/{server_port.replace('/', '%2F')}", json=server_port_config, verify=False)
            print("step_13 " + str(step_13.status_code))
        # WAP ports config
        for wap_port in base_config["wap_ports"]:
            step_14 = sesion.patch(f"https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/system/interfaces/{wap_port.replace('/', '%2F')}", json=wap_port_config, verify=False)
            print("step_14 " + str(step_14.status_code))
        # Loging Out"https://{switch}/rest/v10.12/logout")
    except Exception as e:

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In this example, I iterate on the dictionary of switches and then apply the configuration iterating or not depending on what is being configured. I printed the state of each step just for basic troubleshooting and having some visibility of what's happening, but that's not necessary. You can instead use the response codes or text to create conditions and make your code more flexible and smarter (I'm not that creative when creating scripts). And see that depending on what I'm configuring, I use PATCH or POST, that information should come from the API documentation itself.

That's it for this tutorial, I hope that this helps you to understand how to work with network devices' API interface and enables you to create amazing automation scripts!

You can find the full script at my GitHub repository.

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