This year while at Juniper Nxtwork 2018 I had the privilege of attending the pre-event Hackathon on Tuesday, October 9th, 2018.  The goal of the Hackathon was to use, configure, and troubleshoot an SDSN environment using SaltStack.
If you are unfamiliar with SaltStack, it helps you to enable event-driven network automation.   The Salt-Master is able to monitor events and tell the Salt-Minion to take an action.  This action is defined in a json file where you are able to pass variables (log output for example) and manipulate them as required.  This was my first exposure to SaltStack and Event-Driven Automation, and I have to admit I liked it!

For attending the event you received some cool swag as can be seen below:

  • A Nxtwork Hackathon 18 shirt
  • Soft Juniper branded football
  • Bluetooth headset in Juniper green
  • Laser Pointer
  • Deck of playing cards
  • SDSN Collector Coin
  • Breath Mints
  • Stickers!!!
  • re-usable grocery bag (not pictured)

In the Hackathon this year the room as full of teams working on the challenge.  To add to the realism of the event, the Juniper hosts would try to distract us with treats like pizza, snacks, and some “beverages”.  All the things that could tempt you away from your desk and allow someone else to identify the problem or the hackers to gain deeper roots in your network.

For the event this year we had a set of external bad actors attacking our network.  These attacks could come in any form as well as in waves, thus leading to added difficulty in identifying the traffic or attacks. Ultimately our team was able to identify the appropriate log and update the JSON file as needed in order to block this traffic.
It was a great demonstration of  Event Driven Network Automation using SaltStack ) and the power that Event Driven Automation can be.

I got lucky this year and was sitting with a great team from Tractor Supply ( who just so happened to also win the first Juniper Elevate Award. ) We quickly identified the log file that we needed and figured out the json configuration in relatively short time.  This allowed us to complete the challenge first and win the Hackathon.  Below is a picture of the winning team as well as the Juniper hosts.

The winners did also receive a nice prize – a lighted badge to show off at the conference and a really nice Ogio backpack with the NXTWORK 18 Hackathon logo.

I am hoping that Juniper chooses to continue this tradition at the US Nxtwork, and perhaps even expand this to the other global Juniper Nxtwork events.  This is a great way to demonstrate the power of Juniper Junos and what it can do for you.