On my many IT adventures, I see issues, one of the biggest, is lack of network consistency. Network ports configured one way, others configured another, VLANs trunked to parts unknown, none alike, even if they share the same basic role.
Juniper Junos has a wonderful tool, that seems incredibly underused, that largely resolves this: groups. Groups are awesome, they enforce consistency, they reduce typing, and they make configs shorter, and easier to read. Here is a quick example of how to use them to manage VLANs on a switch.
Groups are basically templates of configuration settings that can be layered on top of any section of the Junos configuration with the apply-groups statement. There is some globbing support, allowing you to fine grain control when groups are applied. For more on that, check this Juniper article.
Groups essentially follow any subsection of the Junos configuration stanza, with matching patterns in place of variable data, such as interface names, ASNs, OSPF areas, etc. Here are two groups that apply Ethernet settings, namely member VLANs, and port mode, to an any interface they are applied to.
In order to apply these groups, we can apply them directly to a few interfaces with the apply-groups statement:
In order to see and verify the applied group settings, we pipe the show configuration command to display inheritance:
Using groups, one can greatly simplify the configuration of a Junos device, while at the same time enforcing consistency. Groups are not limited to interfaces, and can be applied to virtually any section of the Junos configuration. In the next part of this series, I will display some more complex examples. Please check back soon!