Sunday, December 25, 2016

Bash on Windows10

In other posts I talk about how how using basic bash utilities will help you be more efficient when doing most tasks at work. Here I talk about how you can set this up.

The steps below explain how to enable Bash for Windows 10. I should note that this will require admin privileges. In most Enterprise environments you won't have admin rights and this may require special access to do.

Intalling Windows Subsystem for Linux

  1. Press the Windows Key
  2. Type Features
  3. Click "Turn Windows Features on or off"
  4. Enter root password if prompted
  5. In the dialog that appears click "Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta)"
  6. Click Ok

Using Bash for the First Time

Once the application is installed you can start using bash (bourne again shell). Bash is the shell, or command language interpreter, for the GNU operating system and is extremely versatile and powerful. If you're new to this (which you likely are if you are following this guide) then the power of bash may not be immediately obvious to you. I'll discuss this in detail in later posts.

To start bash you can do either of the following
  • Search for "bash" after hitting the Windows key
  • Hitting Windows+R to open the Run menu and typing "bash"

A comment about interpreters

By default the interpreter you will run "C:\Windows\System32\bash.exe" inside of is trash. It feels very similar to the command prompt interpreter. I immediately recommend you go and install ConEmu.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The wrong tools

I preface this post by saying that I have spent my career working in Operations. As such, I spend a lot of time thinking about the tools I use and how to be efficient. True efficiency necessitates that your workstation act as an extension of yourself. This means that your ability to execute actions should be able to closely track your train of thought. More succinctly, the latency between the idea "I should grab the logs from this device" and the moment you are executing that action should be brief.

Ask yourself, how long does it take you to open a terminal? The answer to that question should be less than 1 second. How quickly can you be at the prompt of any remote device (router, VM, etc)? The correct answer here is no longer than the amount of time it would take you type the hostname.

The Wrong Tools

In my experience network engineers working in larger institutions (generally internet service providers or big enterprise corporations) use primarily Microsoft Windows for their workstation or laptop. As a consequence of this, these engineers are primarily using tools like

  • PuTTY for SSH or TELNET (ugh)
  • PuTTY Connection Manager (if you want to be "efficient")
  • SecureCRT (if you're wanting to go even fancier)
  • Some crappy third party FTP server and FTP client
  • Some crappy third party SCP client (if you're lucky, your crappy third party FTP client does this for you!)
  • WinRAR and WinZIP (I guess Windows can do this for you nowadays, space age technology, I tell ya)
  • Microsoft Excel (it's already installed on your work computer, so why not use it for everything, right?)

It's my contention that using any of the above software applications in your daily work as a network engineer is making you an inefficient engineer. Let's set aside the fact that having to download third party applications in order to do things as simple as SSH and SCP is crazy. The important point is that these functions are part of your day to day job. They should require zero thought to use and should be inter-operable.

How much of your time would it take backup configs from a single endpoint. How about 100 endpoints? The answer shouldn't differ greatly. And if you thinking that you'll need to find an scp client that can consume a list of targets from a Excel .xlsx file, you're on the wrong track.

The Right Tools

Largely the answer here is use a linux distribution as your primary operating system to perform your work. If your employer does not let you do this, kick and scream until they do. Other options include

  • Mac OS (be careful of overly glossy buttons)
  • Windows 10 with Linux Bash Shell (is this a thing yet?)
  • Cygwin 

Once you're sitting within the warm glow of a linux shell, acquaint yourself with the below tools. All of these tools are older than you are and have withstood the test of time. 

  • awk
  • sed
  • grep
  • tr
  • scp
  • tar

Learn how to use command line editors like VI or EMACS. Then learn enough bash scripting so that you can chain all of these tools together without needing to read MAN pages. And lastly learn to not overdo it. That is, don't write bash scripts to when you're dealing with a problem that is sufficiently complex that you should be using a proper programming language.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Excel User Defined Function for String Split - Split an IP Address by Octet

I routinely find myself in a situation in Excel where I am having to use annoying string manipulation functions in order to extract a desired string from rows of text. Having some experience in Python and VBA the one function I end up missing the most is the split function. Simply put, this function breaks up a string by a specified delimiter and returns an array of the results. This proves to be very useful.

For example, say you want to break out the octets of multiple IP addreses. In order to accomplish this task in Excel you would have to use a combination of find() and mid() functions. Although possible, this is time consuming and often requires a bit of tuning before you get exactly what you want. Instead, try this UDF. 
'bcell     : A reference to a cell
'delimiter : a string containing the character(s) you would like to use to split the input string by
'index     : which item from the resulting array you would like to return
Function stringsplit(bcell As Range, delimiter As String, _
                     index As Integer) As String
On Error GoTo errHandler
Dim splitStr As Variant
'We want index to start from 1, not 0
'This is a more user friendly approach
If index = 0 Then
    GoTo errHandler
End If
index = index - 1
varSplit = Split(bcell.Value, delimiter)
StringSplit = varSplit(index)
Exit Function
    StringSplit = "#N/A"
End Function

Here are some examples how we can use this in Excel. Let's assume A1 has the value "" and we want to break out individual octets of this IP address. 

=stringsplit( A1, ".", 1 )

=stringsplit( A1, ".", 2 )

If you're looking for something that is more specialized for handling IP addresses you may be interested in the below function. Usage is simply, =octet(A1,2) returns the second octet. The findIP() support function is used in case the text you are trying to parse contains other characters. 

'This function returns the value of a specified octet in an IP address
'address : IP address stored as a string e.g. ""
'index   : integer value ranging from 1 to 4, specifying the octet to be returned
Function octet(address As String, index As Integer) As String
Dim addSplit As Variant
'Catch some typical error cases
If index = 0 Or index > 4 Or FindIP(address) = "" Then
    GoTo errHandler
End If
'Use this offset to index the array
index = index - 1
addSplit = Split(FindIP(address), ".")
Octet = Int(addSplit(index))
Exit Function
Octet = "#N/A"
End Function

'A support function that parses input strTest through a regular
'expression to find an IP Address
'A blank value is returned if no IP address can be found
Function FindIP(strTest As String) As String
    Dim RegEx As Object
    Dim valid As Boolean
    Dim Matches As Object
    Dim i As Integer
    Set RegEx = CreateObject("VBScript.RegExp")
    RegEx.Pattern = "\b(?:\d{1,3}\.){3}\d{1,3}\b"
    valid = RegEx.test(strTest)
    If valid Then
        Set Matches = RegEx.Execute(strTest)
        FindIP = Matches(0)
        FindIP = ""
    End If
End Function

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Using TFTP to copy a new IOS Image

Copying a new IOS version to a cisco device can done in a variety of ways, the below shows one such method

  1. Connect the port Fa0/2 of the device to your computer with an ethernet cable
  2. Change your computer IPv4 settings
    1. instead of automatically detect
  1. Turn off any firewall or policy settings on your computer that may prevent your computer being a TFTP server
  2. Run SolarWinds TFTP Server (or any TFTP server application of your choice)
  3. Start the TFTP Service
  4. On the device use the below configuration

conf t
vlan 2
int vlan 2
ip address
no shut
int fa0/2
switchport access vlan 2
wr me

  1. Do a test ping between the computer and the cisco device to test connectivity
  2. Perform a TFTP copy command on the device 

copy tftp flash

  1. Do a show flash if you want to verify the file was copied
  2. To boot from the new flash you would use the below configuration commands

conf t
boot system flash:c2960-lanbasek9-mz.122-58.SE2.bin
wr mem

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Query Access Database (MDB) from Python

Ever wish that you could quickly run a query against an Access database (MDB) from a command line? If you're already working within a command line this can be very efficient to do a quick lookup. Here's how this can be accomplished.

  1. Install pyodbc
  2. Copy the code into a file and edit the MDB and SQL variables to suit your needs
  3. Copy the lookup.bat file into a file (you may need to edit the path to point to
  4. You should save lookup.bat to a folder that is within your Windows Path

import sys, csv
import pyodbc

# Handle command line arguments
if len(sys.argv) == 1:
    print "Enter usage notes here"
    print "(use % for wildcard)"
print "Searching for '%s'" % sys.argv[1]
print ""

# Query the CLLI MDB
DRV  = "{Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)}"
conn = pyodbc.connect("DRIVER=%s;DBQ=%s" % (DRV,MDB))
curs = conn.cursor()
SQL  = "SELECT * FROM table WHERE col='%s'" % sys.argv[1]
rows = curs.fetchall()

# Print out results
i = 1
for row in rows:
    print "Result #%s" % i
    print "--------------------------"
    for col in row:
        print col
    print ""
    i = i + 1


@call python.exe %1

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Excel User Defined Function for Ping

Here's another Excel UDF that I'm sharing with everyone. This User Defined Function allows a user to execute a Windows ping command from an Excel cell. Currently this code is written to parse a string for an IP Address and ping that address (that's the desired effect I was looking for). If you wish to ping hostnames as well, you can make the following subsitution

Old: retVal = sPing(FindIP(sHost), 1, 200)
New: retVal = sPing(sHost, 1, 200)

Here are some examples of how to use the UDF and the code itself.

Ex. =ping("")        'returns average ms response time
Ex. =ping("")        'returns received ICMP packets

'Ping UDF
'A ping function formatted for use as an Excel cell formula
'sHost - the host to be pinged
'selectVal - optional parameter that defines what should be returned
'          - refer to sPing return type for clarification of what 
'            value to be used
'          - the default return is the millisecond average ping time
Function Ping(sHost As String, Optional selectVal As Integer) As String
Dim retVal As Variant
retVal = sPing(FindIP(sHost), 1, 200)
If retVal(1) <> 0 Then
    If selectVal = 0 Then
        Ping = retVal(4)
        Ping = retVal(selectVal)
    End If
    Ping = "#N/A"
End If

End Function
'Find IP Address
'A support function that parses input strTest through a regular
'expression to find an IP Address
'A blank value is returned if no IP address can be found
Function FindIP(strTest As String) As String
    Dim RegEx As Object
    Dim valid As Boolean
    Dim Matches As Object
    Dim i As Integer
    Set RegEx = CreateObject("VBScript.RegExp")
    RegEx.Pattern = "\b(?:\d{1,3}\.){3}\d{1,3}\b"
    valid = RegEx.test(strTest)
    If valid Then
        Set Matches = RegEx.Execute(strTest)
        FindIP = Matches(0)
        FindIP = ""
    End If
End Function

'Ping Support Function
'This function runs a cmd ping request 
'sHost    - the host to be pinged
'numPings - the number of ICMP ping packets to send
'msDelay  - the ping timeout delay
'The return value from this function is an array with the following 
'values defined
'sPing(0) - Transmitted ICMP Packets
'sPing(1) - Received ICMP Packets
'sPing(2) - Lost ICMP Packets
'sPing(3) - Maximum Round Trip Time
'sPing(4) - Average Round Trip Time
'sPing(5) - Comments
Function sPing(sHost As String, numPings As Integer, msDelay As Integer) As Variant
    Dim oFSO As Object, oShell As Object, oTempFile As Object
    Dim sLine As String, sFilename As String
    Dim retVal(5) As String
    Set oFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
    Set oShell = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
    sFilename = oFSO.GetTempName
    oShell.Run "cmd /c ping -n " & numPings & " -w " & msDelay & " " & sHost & " > " & sFilename, 0, True
    Set oTempFile = oFSO.OpenTextFile(sFilename, 1)
    Do While oTempFile.AtEndOfStream <> True
    sLine = oTempFile.Readline
    cmdStr = cmdStr & Trim(sLine)
    oFSO.DeleteFile (sFilename)

    If cmdStr = "IP address must be specified." Then
        retVal(5) = "IP address must be specified"
        sPing = retVal
        Exit Function
    End If
    If InStr(1, cmdStr, "Ping request could not find host", vbTextCompare) > 0 Then
        retVal(6) = "Could not find host"
        sPing = retVal
        Exit Function
    End If
    txLoc = InStr(1, cmdStr, "Sent = ", vbTextCompare)
    If txLoc > 0 Then
        txLoc = txLoc + 7
        txLoc2 = InStr(txLoc, cmdStr, ",", vbTextCompare)
        retVal(0) = Trim(Mid(cmdStr, txLoc, txLoc2 - txLoc))
    End If
    rxLoc = InStr(1, cmdStr, "Received = ", vbTextCompare)
    If rxLoc > 0 Then
        rxLoc = rxLoc + 11
        rxLoc2 = InStr(rxLoc, cmdStr, ",", vbTextCompare)
        retVal(1) = Trim(Mid(cmdStr, rxLoc, rxLoc2 - rxLoc))
    End If
    ltLoc = InStr(1, cmdStr, "Lost = ", vbTextCompare)
    If ltLoc > 0 Then
        ltLoc = ltLoc + 7
        ltLoc2 = InStr(ltLoc, cmdStr, "(", vbTextCompare)
        retVal(2) = Trim(Mid(cmdStr, ltLoc, ltLoc2 - ltLoc))
    End If
    maxLoc = InStr(1, cmdStr, "Maximum = ", vbTextCompare)
    If maxLoc > 0 Then
        maxLoc = maxLoc + 10
        maxLoc2 = InStr(maxLoc, cmdStr, "ms", vbTextCompare)
        retVal(3) = Trim(Mid(cmdStr, maxLoc, maxLoc2 - maxLoc))
    End If
    aveLoc = InStr(1, cmdStr, "Average = ", vbTextCompare)
    If aveLoc > 0 Then
        aveLoc = aveLoc + 10
        aveLoc2 = InStr(aveLoc, cmdStr, "ms", vbTextCompare)
        retVal(4) = Trim(Mid(cmdStr, aveLoc, aveLoc2 - aveLoc))
    End If
    sPing = retVal
End Function

Monday, September 19, 2011

Excel User Defined Function for CIDR Subnet Mask Notation

Here's another one of the Excel UDF's I have prepared for performing network operations in Excel. I find it specifically useful when dealing with large data sets. This function converts a subnet mask to CIDR notation. It is implemented with statically defining a dictionary object. It may not be an elegant solution, but it is works.

Ex. CIDR("")=9

'CIDR (Classless Inter-Domain Routing)
'Given an inputStr value containing a subnet mask in an IP 
'format this functio returns the corresponding subnet mask 
'in CIDR Notation
Function cidr(inputStr As String)
    Dim maskDict As Dictionary
    Set maskDict = New Dictionary
    maskDict.Add "", 1
    maskDict.Add "", 2
    maskDict.Add "", 3
    maskDict.Add "", 4
    maskDict.Add "", 5
    maskDict.Add "", 6
    maskDict.Add "", 7
    maskDict.Add "", 8
    maskDict.Add "", 9
    maskDict.Add "", 10
    maskDict.Add "", 11
    maskDict.Add "", 12
    maskDict.Add "", 13
    maskDict.Add "", 14
    maskDict.Add "", 15
    maskDict.Add "", 16
    maskDict.Add "", 17
    maskDict.Add "", 18
    maskDict.Add "", 19
    maskDict.Add "", 20
    maskDict.Add "", 21
    maskDict.Add "", 22
    maskDict.Add "", 23
    maskDict.Add "", 24
    maskDict.Add "", 25
    maskDict.Add "", 26
    maskDict.Add "", 27
    maskDict.Add "", 28
    maskDict.Add "", 29
    maskDict.Add "", 30
    maskDict.Add "", 31
    maskDict.Add "", 32
    cidr = maskDict.Item(FindIP(inputStr))
End Function

'Find IP Address
'A support function that parses input strTest through a regular 
'expression to find an IP Address
'A blank value is returned if no IP address can be found
Function FindIP(strTest As String) As String
    Dim RegEx As Object
    Dim valid As Boolean
    Dim Matches As Object
    Dim i As Integer
    Set RegEx = CreateObject("VBScript.RegExp")
    RegEx.Pattern = "\b(?:\d{1,3}\.){3}\d{1,3}\b"
    valid = RegEx.test(strTest)
    If valid Then
        Set Matches = RegEx.Execute(strTest)
        FindIP = Matches(0)
        FindIP = ""
    End If
End Function