NetPalm Introduction - Part 1


Recently I came across this article. As I’m dealing with quite some network automation tools, it triggered my interest. I decided to give it a go. Below you can find a ‘Getting started’ tutorial.

What is NetPalm

NetPalm essentially is a REST API broker for tools like NAPALM, Netmiko, RESTCONF or Python. It exposes a set of unified APIs (getconfig, setconfig…) to allow us to interact with a variety of devices using one of the aforementioned protocols. So no need to be intimate with the underlying tools (e.g NAPALM, Netmiko,…) as it’s all abstracted away behind a simple REST API.

Internally NetPalm uses REDIS queues to process the different tasks towards our devices. In other words, if we query NetPalm’s REST API, our query will end up in a REDIS queue for that device. NetPalm will establish a queue and process for each device to ensure parallel processing and orderly execution of tasks on each device. We can query the tasks in the queue to retrieve the results of our tasks. It’ll all become clear in the below use cases.

Installing NetPalm

The installion instructions on NetPalm’s Github repo are pretty straightforward. Just do the following:

(venv) WAUTERW-M-65P7:Netpalm_Introduction wauterw$ git clone
(venv) WAUTERW-M-65P7:Netpalm_Introduction wauterw$ cd netpalm/

NetPalm runs inside docker containers, so we’ll need to build these:

(venv) WAUTERW-M-65P7:netpalm wauterw$ sudo docker build -t netpalm .
Successfully built a56e1fb19bfb
Successfully tagged netpalm:latest

Let’s check on the docker images that got pulled:

(base) WAUTERW-M-65P7:netpalm wauterw$ docker images
REPOSITORY                                  TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
netpalm_netpalm                             latest              13fcfbb459fc        5 hours ago         1.04GB
netpalm                                     latest              42b2d099b087        5 hours ago         1.04GB
python                                      3.8                 d47898c6f4b0        2 weeks ago         933MB
redis                                       latest              4cdbec704e47        2 weeks ago         98.2MB

In the above output, you can clearly see NetPalm uses Redis for queue management. Next, we need to bring up the containers in such a way that the NetPalm containers can talk to the Redis container. The author of the tool, Tony Nealon, decided to use docker-compose for that.

(venv) WAUTERW-M-65P7:netpalm wauterw$ docker-compose up -d
Creating network "netpalm_default" with the default driver
Creating netpalm_redis_1 ... done
Creating netpalm_netpalm_1 ... done

Let’s check what happened here:

(venv) WAUTERW-M-65P7:netpalm wauterw$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                    NAMES
603fe3088632        netpalm_netpalm     "/bin/sh -c 'python3…"   33 minutes ago      Up 33 minutes>9000/tcp   netpalm_netpalm_1
654a0b2623ec        redis               "docker-entrypoint.s…"   33 minutes ago      Up 33 minutes       6379/tcp                 netpalm_redis_1

As mentioned in the documentation, we can reach our NetPalm container via the URL http://localhost:9000. Note: NetPalm is a REST API broker, so don’t use a browser to go to that URL, but instead use a tool like POSTMAN.

Pro tip: the Github repo also published the Postman collection (see here).

Let’s now look into some simple use cases. Have fun!

Use Case 1: get configuration via Netmiko

Let’s start with something fairly basic. We’ll get an overview of all the interfaces on our device through NetPalm. According to the API documentaton we need to call the getconfig method. In this use case, I’m using the netmiko variant, in later use cases we will experiment with other tools like NAPALM and ncclient. In case Netmiko is rather new to you, have a look at this blog post.


You’ll notice we get back a task_id in the response. We can use this id to query the task API (see here). As a result, you will see that we get back an overview of all the interfaces on our IOS XE device.


Use Case 2: get configuration via NAPALM

As mentioned above, one of the nice things about NetPalm is that it provides the same API regardless of the underlying tool it uses to retrieve (or set) the configuration. In what follows, we will do exactly the same as what we did in use case 1 above but instead of Netmiko, we’ll use NAPALM. In case NAPALM is rather new to you, have a look at this and this blog post.

You will see the only change we have made is in the JSON body of the getconfig request. We changed the library from ‘netmiko’ to ‘napalm’. In case you would want to explore the API further, this particular API is documented here. One small note here is to pay attention when you are specifying an SSH port. The syntax in NAPALM to set a port is a little different from how it’s done in Netmiko.


Next, we’ll query the task API (via the ID that was returned in the previous call) to retrieve the list of interfaces.


Here you can clearly witness the strength of a tool like NetPalm. Using the same API getconfig we can use different tools (depending on our needs) to retrieve some information.

Use Case 3: get configuration via ncclient

Let’s do something similar but with ncclient now. In case ncclient is rather new to you, have a look at this and this blog post.

Let’s call the getconfig API (documented here). netpalm

Pay particular attention to the JSON body of the request. You’ll see we are using the ncclient library in this example. You also notice we can specify a filter. For this example, I have been using the following filter as I’m only interested to receive information about interface ‘GigabitEthernet1’.

  <interfaces xmlns='urn:ietf:params:xml:ns:yang:ietf-interfaces'>

Query again the task API and you will get back the interface configuration through ncclient.


Here you can see again that we have retrieved an overview of all the network interfaces on our XE device.

Use Case 4: get configuration via RESTCONF

I imagine you start to get the big picture here…Yet another way to receive configurations from our device is through RESTCONF. We added this example, more for completeness than anything else. If you want to learn more about RESTCONF, check out this and this post on the topic.

Let’s call the getconfig API (documented here. Note that we are using the RESTCONF URL /restconf/data/ietf-interfaces:interfaces to retrieve the interfaces on this device.


Query again the task API and you will get back the interface configuration through RESTCONF.


Above use case all focused on retrieving information via NetPalm.

In a next blog post, we’ll dive deeper into changing and deleting information through NetPalm. Stay tuned!