Benefits of NAPALM for Network Automation

2 minute read


NAPALM (Network Automation and Programmability Abstraction Layer with Multivendor support) is a Python library developed to interact with network devices and manage configurations across a multitude of vendors. In this tutorial, we’ll delve deep into the benefits of NAPALM for network automation and walk you through the steps of using it to configure network appliances.

  1. Multi-vendor Support: NAPALM supports a wide variety of vendors, making it an invaluable tool for multi-vendor environments. You can interact with devices from Cisco, Juniper, Arista, and many others using a uniform API.

  2. Consistent API Structure: Regardless of the vendor, the API structure remains the same. This means learning one set of commands, eliminating the need to deal with vendor-specific nuances.

  3. Unified Data: When retrieving data, NAPALM provides it in a structured format. This makes it easier to integrate with databases, monitoring tools, or custom applications.

  4. Configuration Management: NAPALM can compare, merge, replace, and commit configurations, making configuration management streamlined and less error-prone.

  5. Flexibility and Integration: Being a Python library, it can be seamlessly integrated into other Python applications or tools, granting significant flexibility.

Step-by-Step Guide to Use NAPALM

1. Installation

First and foremost, you need to install NAPALM. Ensure you have Python and pip installed.

pip install napalm

2. Create a Connection to the Device

You need to create a connection to the network device. Here’s a basic way to do so:

from napalm import get_network_driver

driver = get_network_driver('ios')  # 'ios' is for Cisco IOS. Change this for other vendors.
device = driver(hostname='', username='admin', password='pass123', optional_args={'secret': 'enable_password'})

Remember to close the connection once done:


3. Fetch Device Information

To get device facts:

facts = device.get_facts()

4. Retrieve Configuration

To retrieve the current configuration:

config = device.get_config()

5. Load and Apply Configuration


To commit changes:


If you need to discard changes:


6. Error Handling

NAPALM supports robust error handling:

except Exception as e:
    print(f"An error occurred: {e}")


NAPALM stands as a crucial tool for those in network automation, owing to its versatility, consistency, and vendor-agnostic approach. With the steps above, you can embark on your journey of leveraging NAPALM to manage your network devices seamlessly.

Hope this tutorial helps you in understanding and getting started with NAPALM for network automation. Remember to always back up configurations and test in a controlled environment before applying any changes in production.

Back to Automation Tutorials Overview

Note: This tutorial is a basic introduction to NAPALM and its usage. Ensure to check NAPALM’s official documentation and resources for detailed insights and advanced configurations.

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