Agentless device automation with Puppet’s Cisco Nexus module

We’re pleased to let you know that it is now possible to use Puppet to automate Cisco Nexus devices with no Puppet agent installed on the device.

The existing agent-based module has been updated to support an agentless mode of operation, which uses puppet device to issue commands to the device remotely, removing the need for an agent to be installed on the device. Communication with the device is via the Cisco NX-API. Now you can manage all of the Nexus resources that you've historically managed with an agent, but in an agentless manner. It should be noted that the upgraded module can still be used with the agent, but it is recommended to use the agentless approach.

What’s supported

The module supports a broad range of Cisco Nexus devices, including those from the Nexus 9K, and 7K families. The full list of supported Cisco devices is listed in the module’s Read Me. A large number of various resource types are supported by the module. If your chosen resource isn’t available then it’s possible to use the utility provider known as cisco_command_config to execute user-defined commands against the Nexus devices and have the result returned.

Getting started with the agentless Cisco module

The latest copy of the module can be downloaded from the Puppet Forge, with instructions included on how to use the module with puppet device.

To help set up the module to work with Puppet, we have created the device_manager module. Agentless devices leverage puppet device, which acts like a Puppet agent to request certificates, collect facts, retrieve and apply catalogs, and store reports. This module manages the configuration files used by the puppet device command, installs libraries required by device modules, and provides additional resources for scheduling and orchestrating puppet device runs on those proxy Puppet agents. A single proxy can support many devices from various vendors.

We hope you enjoy using the module and no longer installing agents on your devices! We’d love to get feedback. Please reach out on the Puppet community slack channel in the #forge-modules room. Alternatively, feel free to email me directly at davin dot hanlon at puppet dot com or post to one of the Puppet user groups.

Davin Hanlon is the product manager for network automation and modules at Puppet.

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