Archives For VRFBackupTool

VRFBackupTool shares the same broken function as VRFSearchAndBackup, so I decided I would update this one as well.

Yesterday I discovered an error in my DownloadRouterConfig application where it would terminate abnormally if a variable (a path name) in the settings.cfg file was left blank.  Should no path name be specified, the application should have used it’s current working directory.  Instead, it just crashed.

In fixing the code, I realized that all my other applications used this same function — so I corrected all of them as well.  (I also took care of a few other miscellaneous things while I was in there.  See the CHANGELOG, if interested.)  If you happen to be using any of these applications to help manage your own Cisco routers, you’ll want to pull the latest code down to prevent any possible errors in the future.

The primary reason I decided to revive my rusty programming skills was to automate tedious or time-consuming functions at work.  I’m a big proponent of automation whenever possible and in an age of employment where we’re all asked to do more with less, I’ll gladly invest the time required to “automate all the things”.

However, automation is only useful if embraced by everyone that can benefit from it.  Despite frequent lip service from colleagues who expressed excitement over the creation of a few of my applications, I had reservations about who may actually be using what within the team.

So I decided to have a look…

Several weeks ago I placed a small bit of code in all of my applications to capture their usage data:

import getpass # Required to read username from the command line
def trackUsage():
# This function appends a line to a file with the timestamp, user name
# and name of the application so I can see who is using what
with open("X:\path\to\file.log", "a") as appUsage:
try:
appUsage.write(str(datetime.now())+","+getpass.getuser()+","+__title__+" "+__version__+"\n")
except IOError:
pass

Of course, it could be that some of my teammates are using antiquated versions of some of my applications despite corrected bugs or limited functionality — and there certainly isn’t any way for me to determine that.  Given the frequency in which I have communicated that each person obtain the newest version AND the results I’ve outlined above — I must conclude that either my enthusiasm for improving our work flow and time management isn’t shared among my team or I hold my applications in higher regard than they’re actually worth.

This isn’t a new tool, just newly discussed on my blog. 🙂

Building on the experiences of my other Python applications (namely the VRFSearchTool), I took this knowledge to the next level and created an entirely new application.  Similar in functionality to the VRFSearchTool, the VRFBackupTool will back up the VRF VPN configuration of a Cisco router when provided with the VRF Name.  Unlike the VRFSearchTool, it does not display any information regarding the VRF Name provided — it simply locates it among the index file, connects to the router(s) holding the configuration specific to the VRF Name and backs it up to a directory specified in the configuration file.

There is a lot more I could say about this application but since it’s been out several weeks now and I’m just now catching up on blogging about it, you can head on over to it’s GitHub repository if you’d like to learn more or see it in action.