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The NRE Labs community discusses network reliability engineering topics, project news, tips and tracks, and more.

Happy Birthday NRE Labs!

It’s hard to believe, but a year ago today, we unveiled NRE Labs to the world. A year later, we’re still committed to providing a “source-neutral” approach–from any relevant vendor as well as open source projects–to learning network automation for the last mile of IT infrastructure. NRE Labs focuses on operations patterns that transcend specific vendor platforms or products. Since May, we’ve held regular weekly standups, where individuals from a range of different backgrounds and organizations have attended and participated in planning, content creation and feedback, testing, contributions, and more.

The Antidote Endpoint Image Creation Process

Each lesson in NRELabs includes a sandbox environment for learners to interact with so they can explore lesson concepts on real systems. This environment consists of one or more docker images. An image could be a linux host, a virtual network appliance, an IP PBX, or really anything that a lesson creator can dream up. But how do these images get created? In this post, we’ll walk through the three stages of image creation.

Antidote Platform v0.4.0 Overview

In the last post I outlined the three major updates that we were releasing at that time. One part of that update was a new version of the Antidote platform, which is what powers NRE Labs. In this post, I’d like to dive a bit deeper into this update specifically, as it included a number of important new features and fixes. Antidote v0.4.0 is the first major platform update to take place since we established our formal community standup meetings, and related community engagement channels.

Big Update - New Platform, New Curriculum, New Infrastructure

This has been a very busy summer, and unfortunately, the impact of summer travel on the ability to provide regular updates has been felt strongly. However, I’m happy to report that today, we have something to show for it. This is the first blog post of several that will outline the changes that went live today. In this post, we’ll do a high-level summary of the changes, with some teasers for deeper explanations to come.

Workflows: Automation First Steps

NRE Labs has a lot of lessons that provide foundational information and skills on a host of automation tools but workflows are where you start bringing together a few of those tools to accomplish a specific task. The three new workflow lessons in release v0.3.2 are meant to help people bring automation to their production in a meaningful way using a crawl, walk, run approach. When companies are first starting with automation it’s better to start with read-only type automation, simple tasks that if they fail are not going to cause an outage.

v0.3.2 - Minor Platform Updates, and Three New Lessons!

Yesterday we pushed a small update, v0.3.2. This only included a few minor fixes to the platform - the main highlight here are three new workflow lessons that focus on using PyEZ, Jinja, YAML, and other tools to accomplish very common workflows that are especially useful in environments where configuration and operational consistency is crucial to the outcome of the business objective or other mission. As a result, this will be a short blog post.

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