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Way too often do we want to learn a new technology, but end up spending countless hours just getting the product, tool, or technology downloaded, installed, and at a point to begin using. This is unacceptable.

We need a platform that offers on-demand network infrastructure labs that makes it extremely easy to test and learn how to use network device APIs, how to write code against a network device, and how to use DevOps tool chains in the context of networking.

It’s true, this has all become easier with tools such as Virtual Box and Vagrant, but you can still spend the same amount of time getting the underlying infrastructure setup as you spend on the actual tests you need to perform. In that model, you also need to be able have enough horsepower to run enough virtual machines as well, which often isn’t the case. On top of that, many Enterprises don’t allow tools such as these to be installed.

What I am proposing and getting ready to launch is a cloud based platform that allows you to launch pre-built network topologies in minutes. Upon launch, they are ready to be used, automated, and managed – fully eliminating the time and hassle often required to get started.

When launched, this will be the Network to Code On Demand Network Labs platform.

Many vendors have online labs – this is that, but from a multi-vendor and independent perspective. Need a leaf spine from vendor X? Need a multi-node routed WAN from vendor Y? Want to see first hand how to use Puppet on a network device from vendor Z? Sweet, well in just about 10 minutes, we get the virtual labs spun up and give you access to not only a pre-built jump host, but also a public IP address per device! And yes, there are tutorials to follow.

Here is a sneak peak:

NTCLABS

Are you interested in being an early user of our platform? If so, you need to do one thing. Email us at [email protected] and tell us the following:

  1. What platforms you are most interested in, i.e. Cisco Nexus, Cisco IOS, Cisco IOS-XR, Arista, OpenDaylight, Citrix VPX, Cumulus, Juniper vMX, vSRX, etc.
  2. What topology you’d like to see given the combination of platforms you’re requesting.
  3. What tools you’re most interested in and want to learn how to use, i.e. just raw Python, gerrit, Jenkins, Puppet, Chef, Ansible, etc.

If you email us and include those three things, we’ll offer you at least two (2) FREE labs of 4 hours each!

As much as this platform is meant for dev/test of learning automation automation technologies, it can be used for testing any feature the platform supports. Additionally, we’ve had requests for infrastructure that can be used for Continuous Integration testing such that as users deploy CI pipelines, they can test again our cloud-based virtual platforms since often times, they don’t have enough physical kit to do this kind of testing on their premises.

We look forward to hearing from the early adopters and continue to work hard preparing for a formal launch in the next several weeks!

UPDATE- This is only offering “free” labs to people that wish to be an early adopter. The on-demand labs will not be “free” at launch (unless the vendors are sponsoring them). And if you are a vendor, and want to take part and learn more, please reach out.

Thanks,
Jason
@jedelman8

P.S. If you’re interested in formal instructor-led Network Automation training that covers Ansible and Python, check this out: Network Automation Course Schedule.

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