After messing tinkering for some time with Python and Nornir I felt the need of some more structured approach to speed up the learning process.

The very same day I received and email from Kirk Byers advertising his Nornir Automation Training. That’s destiny!

If you’re not familiar with Nornir, it is an open source automation framework written in Python.

In a very short, super simplified overview, Nornir helps to manage and filter an inventory and runs tasks on the objects of the inventory, in parallel.

The task can be a script executed by Netmiko or Napalm to collect information or change the configuration of some devices. Or it can generate devices configurations leveraging Jinja2 templates.

It doesn’t really matter what the task is, Nornir will take care of the parallel execution, freeing the developer from all the details about how it works under the hood.

I started using Nornir as a replacement of Ansible, I’m very satisfied with the results so far.

Course Syllabus

The training is composed by six classes (or lessons), one per week:

  • CLASS1 - Nornir Fundamentals
  • CLASS2 - Configuration Options, Handling Results, Simple Networking Tasks
  • CLASS3 - Nornir Inventory Expanded, Networking Tasks Expanded
  • CLASS4 - Custom Tasks, Configuration Tasks with Netmiko and NAPALM
  • CLASS5 - Inventory Data, Inventory Connection Options, Using Jinja2 in Nornir
  • CLASS6 - Failed Tasks, Keys and Secrets, Troubleshooting

Each class includes videos, exercises and links to additional content to go even deeper in the topics.

For the duration of the training (and some time afterwards) a Slack channel is available for immediate support. I didn’t use the support very much but the channel is very active and answers arrive in short time.

A remote lab is assigned to each participant, so even if you don’t have access to your own lab it will not be a problem. The lab environment network devices consist of:

  • Cisco IOS-XE routers
  • Arista vEOS switches
  • Juniper SRX
  • NX-OSv switches

Premium Package

The training was fully paid by my employer so I chose the Premium Package that includes two additional lessons:

  • Ansible Inventory Plugin, Netmiko-NAPALM Direct Tasks
  • BGP Exercise / Genie, Processors, Netbox Inventory

The Netbox Inventory lesson was very useful to me, I use it to document some networks and now it’s even more valuable when used as a source of truth for automation.

Wrap-up

I appreciated the structure of the training. The learning curve and the topics per lesson are balanced.

The topics are discussed in a clear way, covering all the major use cases of the features. The exercises are really helpful to consolidate the theory. The length of the videos are just right. I’m not a fan of very long videos, the format with short videos, one topic per video, is my favorite.

In a recent discussion somebody asked me why to pay for training when there’s plenty of material available online?

A paid training is an exchange of money and time.

What I expect from a training is to get me to the results faster that I would get by myself. This doesn’t mean the training should be a cookbook, but that the material will save me from all the time researching what to study, troubleshooting common mistakes, thinking about a wide variety of options trying to figure out what is the most efficient for my case.

This training fully matched what I expected. With a little investment of time and money I managed to create the scripts I needed and to get the value almost immediately.

I strongly advise anyone interested in Nornir or in network automation in general to attend this training.

DISCLAIMER

My company fully paid for the training. Twin Bridges Technology (the company delivering the training) did not asked for any endorsement or advertisement. I blogged about it on my own to share my expericence.