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NOC 20.2 is Released

In accordance to our Release Policy we're proudly present release 20.2.

20.2 release contains of 249 bugfixes, optimisations and improvements. Refer to the Release Notes for details.


Python3 Compatibility

As it was declared 20.2 is the first Python3-only release. This allows us to clean up and optimize code base in following ways:

  • All Python2 compatibility layers are removed.
  • Key dependencies (Tornado, Django, etc) are upgraded to latest stable versions.
  • async/await are used instead @tornado.gen.coroutine in all the places.
  • Type annotations are heavily used in newly-introduced and in modified code.

Low-level network-handling code, including SNMP, RPC, HTTP-client and all CLI variants are rewritten from Tornado to Python3-native asyncio. It allows to clean up code, fix some old cryptic bugs and introduce gentler error- and timeout- handling.

NOC 20.2 is compatible with Python 3.7 and 3.8.

So we have to admit the Python3 migration Odyssey is over. It tooks over one year, consumes lots of work, sometimes with acrobatic exercises to maintain compatibility and stability. But in addition to code simplicity, stability and instrumentation we gave serious performance benefits. Our investigations on real-world installation shows that NOC 20.2 requires 10-15% less CPU, than previous Python 2 based releases.

Interface Description Topology Discovery

Meet the ifdesc topology discovery method. It is last-resort semi-automatic method of linking based on interface description analysis. ifdesc comes to resque when all other methods failed. Operator has to define a set of regular expressions to extract a neighbor information from descriptions and has to configure network equipment. In contrast to manual linking, ifdesc is configurable as common topology discovery method. Its precedence over other methods can be adjusted, so its results may be refined by more precise automatic methods (i.e. LLDP), and it can be used to refine more error-prone methods (i.e. MAC).

ifdesc is the 14th topology discovery method available out of the box.

MAC Blacklist

Costs cutting and lack of proper Q&A sometimes leads to large parties of network equipment with non-unique MAC addresses. Overall impact may vary: from insignificant, to ARP-cache poisoning, to inpredictable STP topology changes. It-also affects the topology discovery methods based on neighbor identification upon MAC address (LLDP, STP, MAC). So its safer to maintain a list of broken MAC addresses to notify personnel on possible problems.

MAC blacklist is maintained and distributed on deploy, like other collections, and can be adjusted and maintained locally and shared back to the repo.

LLDP discovery method now consults on MAC Blacklist and tries to mitigate problem by using neighbor information from additional TLVs.

Real-world networks often repeats the pattern when aggregation switch (A) is placed on PoP with redundant reserved power and connected to home access switches (B, C, D, E), which are powered from non-redundant city power grid.

graph TD;
    A --> B;
    A --> C;
    A --> D;
    A --> E;

During the maintenance on power grid, several access switches may expect power loss, while aggregation switch stays on-line as unaffected or switched to reserve power. Current topology-based RCA scheme will register each access switch failure as separate root cause alarms and will propagate them as separate trouble tickets. It may take a time for personnel to detect all those problems are related and inferred by power problems.

NOC 20.2 introduces additional Downlink Merge policy. Downlink Merge is enabled on aggregation switch (A) and allows to tie all direct children alarms together and to process and escalate them as a one failure. Network personnel will take a hint to check alarms as related together and will be notified to check the power.

Multi-Format Datastreams

Datastreams can be configured to separate views, filtering or morphing records. Views, called formats can be used to enrich datastreams with data from external sources, or to restring amount of data to be passed to external systems.

Each format can be configured to additional API Key role, allowing granular access.

Customized SNMP-response parsers

Broken SNMP implementations are in the wild. Sometimes responses are malformed, while still containing meaningful data. So we added Profile.get_snmp_response_parser() method to override default response parser to customized one when necessary.