Why We Built Slurp’it

Aug 1, 2023

In this blog, we will explain why we saw an urgent need to develop Slurp’it, a robust network discovery solution that promises to solve many of today’s network inventory challenges.

Despite the obvious benefits, network automation is yet to be fully embraced. One of the major hurdles is visibility. Engineers are reluctant to automate a network whose state they are unsure of. This fear is not unrealistic, as the risks can be enormous. Therefore insight in the state of a network is crucial.


The Challenges of Homegrown Scripts

To mitigate the visibility issue, network engineers often resort to writing their own scripts that read and parse information from individual show commands. While this can work, it often results in a disorganized collection of custom-made scripts and programs that don’t work together.

These scripts are typically known to a single engineer and live on some (jump host) server that is hard to integrate for broader automation. If that person leaves the organization, maintaining or even understanding these scripts becomes problematic.

Show commands can retrieve a wealth of network information, from all kinds of network parameters to identifying state information. There’s practically a command for everything. However, mining these treasures has never been easy.


The Game-Changer: TextFSM

The birth of TextFSM, an open-sourced technology by Google turned out to be a game changer. It revolutionizes the way we can interpret show command outputs. It allows unstructured data to be converted into structured data by means of regex. The only challenge though, is that it requires a TextFSM template to be developed for every possible show command.

This is where the OpenSource community stepped up and proved to be of great value. Over the last few years, a wealth of these ‘show-command’ TextFSM templates (around 580+ and counting) have been developed by the NetworkToCode community. It supports all major vendors and is made available on GitHub for everyone to use.

However, there was no system or application to easily use these templates in an enterprise setting. Ease of use, ongoing development of enterprise features, scalability, security and support were some of the main issues that needed to be addressed to gain broader adoption in the market.


The missing link: Slurp’it

We decided to build Slurp’it based on the following principles:

  1. Use OpenSource technologies were possible (Python, Netmiko and TextFSM)
  2. Intuitive and easy configurable GUI build on a full REST API-based backend
  3. Modern architecture utilizing docker for both on premise and cloud architecture
  4. Pre-configured discovery for all major vendors and most used show commands
  5. Easy to extend, build, test and share textFSM templates with OpenSource community
  6. Highly scalable and secure by storing all discovered data on premise (also with future cloud solution)
  7. Offer both a FREE and commercially supported version

We are excited that Slurp’it is now available for everyone to download.


So, what is Slurp’it all about?

In a nutshell, Slurp’it lets you easily retrieve and store any data you want from your network in an offline, structured database. Out of the box, all major vendors and templates are already pre-configured. Simply run the installation wizard and Slurp’it will start mining your network. You can add as many templates as you want. Some of the key features:

  • Discover (new) network devices in your network (150+ vendors)
  • Ability to sync discovered devices with your CMDB or Source of Truth systems like NetBox, Nautobot or NetYCE
  • Select from over 580 (and growing) TexFSM templates what inventory data you want from your network devices.
  • Advanced scheduling, for either monthly updates or near real time monitoring
  • Build, test and share new TexFSM templates
  • Store as much (historical) inventory data you want on your own local drive
  • Access and share any data with RestAPI, reports or exports


How to use it

The number of use cases with Slurp’it is endless. From finding hardware info such as Mac addresses, software versions, interface statuses etc. to daily or hourly parsing of all your ARP tables to identify where all IP addresses and VLANs live(d).

Slurp’it is used for projects such as new deployments, upgrades and migrations. For security teams to find unwanted devices and users in the network. To trace the history of a specific IP address; when it was connected to what port(s). Check here for more use-cases.


Enterprise solution with OpenSource contribution

Slurp’it finally delivers an enterprise network discovery solution working with OpenSource knowledge and technology. This means that anyone can now gain the benefits of inventory discovery and continue their network automation journey with way more confidence.


Interested to learn more and ‘slurp’ up the hidden gems in your network? Make sure you get your free version here. This will get you unrestricted Device Discovery for life plus all the other things that Slurp’it has to offer for an additional 10 devices.

Read more about what you get with the free version >>>

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