Category Archives for Tutorials

Simplified Network Performance Tests with PerfSonar and SLX

May 3, 2018
by Lindsay Hill

PerfSonar is a super handy toolkit for measuring network performance between any two points. Combine this with the Guest VM built into the Extreme SLX series of switches, and you can easily run performance tests between any two points on your network, measuring performance, latency, jitter, MTU, path taken, etc. Combine that with StackStorm, and you can easily run those tests from Slack. No need to even login to a switch.

Demo: Network Performance Tests via Slack

Check out the video here. From Slack, we can trigger different tests between any two switches – performance, one-way latency measurement, or trace the path, showing the path MTU. The results are then shown in Slack:

Read on for more about how to set this up.
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Simple Packet Captures with SLX and CloudShark

April 27, 2018
by Lindsay Hill

Packet Captures are a necessary evil when you need to prove network innocence. But they’re tedious to configure, collect & analyze. What if you could simplify the setup, collection and viewing? That’s what we’ve done here, combining StackStorm, Extreme Insight Architecture, CloudShark, and of course Slack.

Demo: Running Packet Captures from Slack

Check out the video here – we show entering some commands in Slack, which triggers a packet capture on multiple switches. The PCAPs are automatically uploaded to CloudShark, so we can view the packets in our browser:

Read on for more about how to set this up.
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New in StackStorm 2.5: Real-time action output streaming

November 07, 2017
by Tomaz Muraus

StackStorm v2.5.0 has been released recently. In addition to Inquiries, it includes another widely requested feature – real-time output of actions.

Real-time action output streaming allows users to see any output produced by an action in real-time.

This makes troubleshooting and debugging actions much easier and faster. It is especially handy in environments where StackStorm is used as a CI / CD tool and for long running actions (do you have a long running action which builds and installs a software package and you want to see the progress in real-time? Now that and a lot more is possible).

Prior to this release, it was only possible to see the output once the action has finished (well, there were some workarounds which involved using “tail” command, but those workarounds had many limitations and issues).

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New in StackStorm 2.5: Inquiries

October 31, 2017
by Matt Oswalt

StackStorm 2.5  introduces one of our most highly requested features: “Inquiries”. Inquiries are a way of “asking a question” in the middle of a workflow (Mistral or ActionChain), to get additional data before moving on.

For instance, while you can store service credentials in the StackStorm datastore and retrieve them using a Jinja snippet, some services require two-factor authentication. It’s necessary, therefore, to be able to pause the workflow at a certain point, and allow a human to “inject” this data into the workflow midstream. There are a number of other use cases for this functionality, including the simple “I’m about to do something stupid dangerous, should I proceed?”.

Before we get into Inquiries and how they work, an important note: we’ve been working hard on making sure the new feature is useful for a variety of use cases, and as robust as possible. However, it is a complex and fairly low-level feature that has a lot of moving parts, and before recommending it for production use, we’d like to spend a release cycle gathering feedback on the API and the user experience. So, for 2.5, we would love for you to use this feature in your test/dev deployments of StackStorm and let us know what you think. Don’t worry, this is not going to stay “alpha” forever! We expect that it will be “production ready” in StackStorm 2.6, due to ship later this year.

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StackStorm Centralized Logging with Graylog

August 22, 2017
By Nick Maludy of Encore Technologies

Want to implement centralized logging for your StackStorm deployment? Read on to find out how to send your StackStorm logs to Graylog, and produce pretty dashboards like this:

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Installing StackStorm on Offline Systems

Feb 10, 2017
by Siddharth Krishna

Want to install StackStorm on a machine that doesn’t have access to the internet? If you’ve got another box on your local network that connects to the public network, you can do this by making it a local package repository server. In this post, we’ll walk you through steps for setting up an apt-mirror server with the required packages and configuring the offline client machine to quickly get a full StackStorm installation up and running!

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Event Driven Auto-Remediation with the Elastic Stack

Jan 12, 2017
by Siddharth Krishna

Recently we explained how to use Syslog with Splunk & StackStorm to auto-remediate a link going down on a switch. Splunk is a widely used log management tool but there’s also a popular open source alternative – Elastic Stack (formerly the ELK Stack: Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana). So if you’re using the Elastic Stack, and are looking to automate event remediation in your environment, you’re at the right place! In this post, we’re taking the same use case as before and talking about how to set up the Elastic stack to collect syslog data and trigger event-based network remediation workflows using StackStorm.

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Execution Time for ChatOps commands

November 7, 2017
by Eugen C. aka @armab

Did you know you can do something like this with StackStorm ChatOps?
ChatOps Command Execution time

Looks simple, but it’s a very useful thing to have in your ChatOps toolset, especially for potentially long-running commands.
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Auto-Remediation with StackStorm & Splunk

Oct 21, 2016
by Siddharth Krishna

Splunk is a great tool for collecting and analyzing log data. StackStorm is a great tool for automated event-driven remediation. So what happens when we stick them together? Here’s how to use Splunk to collect syslog data and trigger event-based network remediation workflows using StackStorm!

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How to Troubleshoot a Rule

Sep 20, 2016
by Dmitri Zimine

I set up a sensor to watch for a trigger (trigger represents an external event; sensor will fire a trigger-instance of the trigger type when the event is detected). I created a rule: if the trigger happens, and matches the criteria, it should fire an action. I see that event had happened. I expected the actions to fire. But it didn’t happen. Where did it break?

This is a long read, and may look complicated. But really, it’s just three debugging steps. And it’s long because I refuse to write briefly, drop bunch of hints on the way and get you distracted. But as they say in math, the thicker the math book the faster it reads. Brace yourself.

In the example below, I’ll be showing you how we debugged our Twitter automation that scans tweets for mentions and posts it to Slack. A pretty good way to keep track on who is trash talking about us! The debugging “runbook” is generic and applies to troubleshooting other rules just fine.

First, let’s look at the trigger chain and review how it works.

trigger-rule-action
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