Querying Netbox with Pynetbox

You should be using Netbox or something equivalent. I’m serious. Stop documenting your network with Word docs and Wiki pages and use something where the information can be queried. I’ve been using Netbox for a couple years, and it’s where I keep all that important information about my network. I use it to store hardware inventory, circuit inventory, contact information, site information…all sorts of stuff. Since all this information is already recorded there, I can just query it for the information I need. That includes any time I need to write some Python code to do something on the gear. I use the pynetbox module to do that.

To use pynetbox (or anything that uses API calls to Netbox), you’ll need to set up an API token. I am not qualified to tell you what the best way to manage these are, so we’re just going to assume you have an appropriate token configured already.

The Python Code

We’re going to write a short script to get all the devices from the Netbox instance…and here it is!1

import pynetbox
import urllib3

NETBOX_SERVER = "*.*.*.*"
NETBOX_API_KEY = "742*****"

nb_conn = pynetbox.api(url=f"https://{NETBOX_SERVER}", token=NETBOX_API_KEY)
nb_conn.http_session.verify = False

devices = nb_conn.dcim.devices.all()

for device in devices:
    print(f"DEVICE NAME: {device.name:^10} DEVICE IP: {device.primary_ip4}")

Lines 1 & 2 are for importing pynetbox and urllib3. We don’t have a proper certificate installed on the Netbox server, so we’re going to get some warnings and messages about that. We import urllib3 so that we can suppress those later. I’m working with a VM on my home machine, so I don’t really need one for my testing. Your production instance should have one, though.

Next, on lines 4 & 5, we set some constants for the server address and API token. Obviously, this is edited for security, but put in your values.

To actually do some real work, we need to define a pynetbox API object on line 7. This is the object we’ll use to send our queries. In our case, we’re defining a variable called nb_conn as the type pynetbox.api. This takes at least two arguments — url and token. In the example here, we’re using Python f-strings to send it a proper URL (that is, https://<the IP you declared above>). The token argument is just what we declared earlier.

Lines 8 & 9 are to keep those dang warnings from showing up. Again, if you’re in a production environment, put a real cert on the box and don’t worry about all this. You could also just leave these lines out and live with the warnings. Either way is fine and won’t affect what we’re doing.

We’ve got a pynetbox.api object created as nb_conn, so let’s ask Netbox to tell us everything about all the devices that it knows about. We’ll store that information in a variable called devices so we can go through each device and print some information we need.

Note that the directive to get all the devices is nb_conn.dcim.devices.all(). Does any of that look familiar? If you were to open the devices page in the Netbox GUI, you would see that your URI is dcim/devices. Coincidence? I think not! A lot (most? all?) of pynetbox consists of a nice mapping of the API, which makes it pretty easy to use. What’s your guess on what to use to get a list of sites? How about your IP addresses? nb_conn.dcim.sites.all() and nb_conn.ipam.ip_addresses.all()2. Easy.

If all went well, we now have a list of all our devices. Let’s look closer at the data we have, though. In Python, when you have a more than one of a particular type of object, you keep them in a list. If you were to look at the data type of the variable devices, though, you’ll see that it’s not a list. It’s actually a RecordSet. This is a different data type than a list, but, for what we’re doing, we can just treat it as if it were just a list. You may see some different behaviors when you get into some more advances stuff. Ask me how I know.

In line 13, we go through that RecordSet and address each device as the variable called device. If you look at line 14, you’ll see that we’re calling object attributes for each device (name and primary_ip4) as opposed to calling dictionary keys or something. That’s because the devices in the RecordSet are actually all of the type Devices. This is a Netbox data type that includes all the information you may (or may not) want for the device. It includes the Netbox ID, the name, the device type, device role, serial…pretty much anything associated with the device.3 Because these are Devices object, we can simply call the name and IP address of each device and print them out.

Here’s the output from the code above.


Some Points on Netbox Data Types

What other information can we get in the Devices data type? If you were to do a dir() on one of the devices (i.e., print(dir(device))), you can see all the variables that you can pull out of the object. These are the ones that don’t start with the underscores (which is another topic all together). You can see name in there somewhere. You can also see primary_ip4. Here’s the output of the dir() so you can see what I’m talking about.

['__class__', '__delattr__', '__dict__', '__dir__', '__doc__', '__eq__', '__format__', '__ge__', '__getattr__', '__getattribute__', '__getitem__', '__getstate__', '__gt__', '__hash__', '__init__', '__init_subclass__', '__iter__', '__key__', '__le__', '__lt__', '__module__', '__ne__', '__new__', '__reduce__', '__reduce_ex__', '__repr__', '__setattr__', '__setstate__', '__sizeof__', '__str__', '__subclasshook__', '__weakref__', '_add_cache', '_diff', '_endpoint_from_url', '_full_cache', '_init_cache', '_parse_values', 'airflow', 'api', 'asset_tag', 'cluster', 'comments', 'config_context', 'created', 'custom_fields', 'default_ret', 'delete', 'device_role', 'device_type', 'display', 'endpoint', 'face', 'full_details', 'has_details', 'id', 'last_updated', 'local_context_data', 'location', 'name', 'napalm', 'parent_device', 'platform', 'position', 'primary_ip', 'primary_ip4', 'primary_ip6', 'rack', 'save', 'serial', 'serialize', 'site', 'status', 'tags', 'tenant', 'update', 'updates', 'url', 'vc_position', 'vc_priority', 'virtual_chassis']

Be very careful, as I’ve misled you a little bit here. Data points like name come back as strings. ID comes back as an integer. Device_role, device_type, and primary_ip4 (even primary_ip and primary_ip6) come back as nested objects, though. The script output shows a nice IP address in the last column, but it’s a trick. The primary_ip4 object just happens to be named with the IP and mask so that it looks like a string. The object returned, though, is of type IPAddresses. Here’s a dir() on one of those for you to see.

['__class__', '__delattr__', '__dict__', '__dir__', '__doc__', '__eq__', '__format__', '__ge__', '__getattr__', '__getattribute__', '__getitem__', '__getstate__', '__gt__', '__hash__', '__init__', '__init_subclass__', '__iter__', '__key__', '__le__', '__lt__', '__module__', '__ne__', '__new__', '__reduce__', '__reduce_ex__', '__repr__', '__setattr__', '__setstate__', '__sizeof__', '__str__', '__subclasshook__', '__weakref__', '_add_cache', '_diff', '_endpoint_from_url', '_full_cache', '_init_cache', '_parse_values', 'address', 'api', 'default_ret', 'delete', 'display', 'endpoint', 'family', 'full_details', 'has_details', 'id', 'save', 'serialize', 'update', 'updates', 'url']

As before, the non-underscored items are things you can call. If you wanted to get a string of the IP address, you could call device.primary_ip4.address. This returns a real string that includes the mask in CIDR notation. It would be something like “”. You can just split it at the “/” to get the address and mask. Or, if you just want the address, you can do something like.

for device in devices:
    print(f"DEVICE NAME: {device.name:^10} DEVICE IP: {device.primary_ip4.address.split("/")[0]}")

Notice that a couple of the lines in our output above have an address of “None”. This is another trick, really. It’s not a string of value “None”, but, rather, it’s an object of NoneType. In Python, if something doesn’t exist, a NoneType object is returned. If a device in Netbox doesn’t have a primary IP address assigned, this code will return a value of “None”, which is a NoneType object. If we printed the type() of each device’s primary_ip4, we could verify that.

<class 'pynetbox.models.ipam.IpAddresses'>
<class 'pynetbox.models.ipam.IpAddresses'>
<class 'NoneType'>
<class 'pynetbox.models.ipam.IpAddresses'>
<class 'NoneType'>

If you were to run the code with the split in it, it would die with a TypeError exception. The code was expecting a type of IPAddresses, but it got back NoneType. You would have to add some code to check the type to get past that.

Now What?

Alright. You’ve got all your devices and a bunch of information for each. Now you can go and actually do something useful. Pull the address and name and generate an list to import into an SSH program. Pull the name and serial for your annual support contract renewal. Get a count of the number of each device you have in the network. Provide your audit team with a full inventory to include in audit preparation.

Send try-except code snippets any questions my way.

  1. This is just something I wrote really quickly. Use more Pythonic techniques on your finished product
  2. Notice the _ and not the – here. Python doesn’t like the dash, so you have to use the underscore.
  3. For some reason, interfaces aren’t included here. I don’t know why.