Solutions

ChatOps

ChatOps is the pairing of collaborative Chat with IT Operations.

Using ChatOps, network teams can significantly reduce the number of tickets that network engineers need to work on.  Implementing ChatOps can reduce network operations tickets by 30% or more and increase efficiency for other teams by 20%.

The ChatOps framework from Network to Code is built on the extensible Nautobot automation platform. ChatOps integrates with popular chat apps to provide a familiar conversational interface for users to interact with tools, systems, and workflows. ChatOps redefines network operations by empowering users to quickly and easily access information, and improves collaboration and transparency across teams.

Access Information
  • Simple, but powerful User interface
  • Find information from multiple sources (SoT, Telemetry, Monitoring, etc…)
  • Works from phone, tablet, laptop
Empower Users
  • Users can easily find information they need on their own
  • Control what users can see and do based on role
  • Allow users to make scripted changes
Save Time
  • Reduce Network team tickets for simple tasks or requests for information
  • Provides quick access to automation tools
  • Troubleshoot issues while “on the go”
Team Collaboration
  • Keeps history of commands and tasks
  • Allow team members to work together while troubleshooting
  • Team members can easily “shoulder surf” to learn from others

ChatOps Provides a Familiar, Conversational Interface

  • People are comfortable with and already using chat platforms
  • Use pre-defined Chat Commands
  • ChatOps lets people of varying skill sets interact with tools, systems, and workflows through conversation
  • A chatbot can ask a person questions, or provide buttons or other controls, to get the information it needs to execute the required task

While it is possible to automate any task with ChatOps, the following are common use cases:

  • Verify devices in a rack by an onsite tech
  • Verify interface settings on an access switch in a Campus environment by the Service Desk
  • Very interface settings on a data center switch by the Server team
  • Bounce an interface on an access switch in a Campus environment by the Service Desk
  • Check to see the clients attached to an AP or SSID by the Service Desk or Wireless team
  • Check to interface statistics and errors by anyone troubleshooting a performance issue
  • Locate a device by IP address or MAC address in a Campus environment by the Service Desk
  • Check to see a firewall rule already exists that matches a 5-tuple by the Application/Server/Network team
  • Run an ad-hoc job such as config backups or predefined show commands across a set of devices by the network team
  • ANY TASK THAT YOUR TEAM OR OTHER TEAMS ALWAYS ASK FOR!

ChatOps currently supports Webex, Mattermost, Slack, and MS Teams.

ChatOps Improves the Pace of Operations

Without ChatOps

Sysadmin:

“What should this port be connected to?”

Sysadmin:

Opens ticket to get connection info

Engineer:

Logs in and verifies

Engineer:

Updates ticket

Sysadmin:

Gets info from ticket

Sysadmin:

Closes ticket

Elapsed time: minutes, hours, days?!

With ChatOps

Sysadmin:

“Hey @chatbot, what is port eth2.atl01-leaf-02 connected to?”

Chatbot:

“eth2.atl01-leaf-02 is connected to eth4/1.atl01-edge-02”

Elapsed time: seconds.

Nautobot ChatOps Extensibility

Nautobot ChatOps is open source, extensible, and allows for further integrations to lower the barrier for multi-vendor network automation. It allows network teams to expose common tasks to their teams and internal customers driving any workflow from chat quickly improving response time and delays.

For a list of existing Nautobot ChatOps integrations, see go.nautobot.com/apps

The Nautobot ChatOps Framework Provides Transparency and Security

Command permissions are handled per-command/per-user/per-org/per-channel, but behind the scenes.

The specific work is logged in the system and documented in the workspace

ChatOps logs User, command, sub-command, and other info for each command run

Work is performed transparently in the common chat workspace.

All members can see:
  • What has been done
  • When it was done
  • Ticket number(s)
  • Who performed the work
  • What remains to be done

The chat workspace provides the history of, and context around, a workflow.

Specific threads can be dedicated to specific issues/tasks.

Command permissions are handled per-command/per-user/per-org/per-channel, but behind the scenes.

Open Source ChatOps

Network to Code has created and open sourced a growling number chat integrations based on the Nautobot ChatOps framework. They include integrating with Nautobot, Ansible AWX/Tower, Arista CloudVision, Cisco Meraki, IP Fabric, Grafana, and many more. For a complete list of all existing and future Nautobot ChatOps integrations, check out the Nautobot Apps page.