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Cisco NSO and Anuta ATOM integration

Cisco NSO and Anuta ATOM Integration – Redefining Network Integration


In navigating the complexities of modern network infrastructure, the imperative for efficient automation and orchestration has never been so crucial, making the demand for streamlined, intelligent solutions essential.

Cisco NSO (Network Services Orchestrator) stands out by providing a model-driven, hybrid network orchestration platform designed to seamlessly support multi-vendor networks through an extensive array of network element drivers (NEDs). This versatility ensures that Cisco NSO is not just a solution; it’s a comprehensive approach to orchestrating diverse network environments.

Anuta ATOM is a versatile network automation platform with configuration management and monitoring capabilities. It is equipped with low-code and no-code automation workflows, facilitating the creation of use cases. ATOM seamlessly complements the Cisco Network Service Orchestrator, which is vital to the entire service management life cycle.

The integration of Cisco NSO and Anuta ATOM, promise efficiency and a transformative experience in managing and orchestrating network services. For instance, if we need to provision any service like L3 VPN or Eline, the inputs to configure the services can be fed from ATOM. Before deploying the services on the devices, ATOM performs prechecks to avoid overlapping and duplication of services, as well as to verify the availability of network resources. After the provisioning of the service, ATOM performs post-checks to ensure that the service configurations are pushed as expected and will work as intended. Additionally, service reconciliation, configuration management of the devices, day-N operations like monitoring, and CRUD operations can be managed from ATOM. In this blog, we delve into the harmonious collaboration between Cisco NSO and Anuta ATOM, unraveling the layers of their capabilities, integration, and the tangible benefits they bring to the forefront of network automation.

Fig: ATOM CISCO NSO Integration

Anuta ATOM Integration and Interdependence

The collaboration between ATOM and NSO extends beyond integration; it’s a symbiotic relationship that enhances the entire service management life cycle.

Fig: NSO ATOM Integration Summary

  • ATOM can deploy a dockerized Cisco NSO within its cloud-native Kubernetes cluster or by integrating a dedicated NSO instance through northbound integrations.
  • The NSO instance, once installed, seamlessly becomes a part of the system, allowing interaction with other containers within ATOM.
  • NSO effectively maintains device configurations or configured service states, which ATOM can monitor directly. 
  • Devices from NSO can be boarded onto ATOM, either as NSO-managed devices or ATOM-managed devices, enabling the monitoring of services through an out-of-band connection to ATOM.
  • ATOM ensures version control for configurations, storing and tagging each changed version. This feature simplifies the rollback process to a previous version if the deployed services are deemed undesirable.
  • NSO holds the current configuration state and can reconcile configurations based on change alerts. On the other hand, ATOM retains a historical record of past states, allowing NSO to roll back to previous configurations as needed.
  • NSO is particularly adept at the day-0 configuration of devices, while ATOM extends its capabilities to day-N operations and monitoring of services. This includes the utilization of SNMP, syslog trap definitions, and streaming telemetry for efficient monitoring.
  • ATOM offers a user-friendly workflow development environment, facilitating the creation and validation of custom use cases through Cisco NSO integration.


Ease of Development with ATOM-NSO Workflows

ATOM streamlines workflow development through its user interface, allowing for the programmatic generation of device configurations, the creation of payloads, and the capability for verification. Low-code workflow development for specific use cases can be initiated directly within ATOM or through the assistance of the ATOM workflow assistant. Scripts required to execute tasks can be generated based on the logic defined by network DevOps.

For illustration, the following snapshots showcase the ATOM workflow assistant accomplishing sample tasks suitable for inclusion in workflows tailored to specific requirements. Consider building a sample workflow where a network operator needs to check the interface status of a device onboarded to NSO. The workflow assistant in ATOM proves invaluable in obtaining the appropriate RPC for this task. The ATOM AVA (AI-Powered Virtual Assistant) is underpinned by the ATOM workflow assistant, which is adept at processing requests received in natural language from user prompts.

Fig: ATOM received a request to get an RPC to check the interface status of the managed device

The groovy code to fetch the interface status from the device can be seen in the ATOM payload window. The necessary variables like NSO instance IP and Device ID can be taken as input variables from the user form built by the workflow assistant, as shown in the snapshot below.

ATOM CISCO NSO Integration fig. 5

Fig: User input form seeking NSO IP, Device IP, NSO ID, and password 

Integration Monitoring, Reporting, and Administration

  • ATOM and NSO DB Sync:

ATOM acquires knowledge of the NSO YANG schema through REST API interactions with NSO. Additionally, ATOM can be set up to monitor change notifications from NSO, either all or a subset. Upon receiving a change notification, ATOM identifies the differences from the previous configuration and updates it to the current version. In cases where ATOM initiates data changes in NSO (via NSO APIs), the alterations are first applied to NSO. Subsequently, the ATOM data copy undergoes updates as a consequence of processing subsequent change logs.

  • NSO Device Management from ATOM:

ATOM streamlines device onboarding to NSO through northbound transactions, incorporating specified authentication and SNMP groups. This user-friendly approach simplifies creating auth and SNMP groups directly from ATOM.

  • NSO Health Status Monitoring:

ATOM guarantees uninterrupted monitoring of the NSO instance, whether it resides as a docker instance within the ATOM cluster or operates as a dedicated standalone instance. This monitoring includes aspects such as connectivity, performance, and the overall health status of the NSO instance, ensuring the smooth operation of the integrated system.

  • Reporting: 

ATOM offers reporting capabilities that empower users to monitor and track the status of different NSO service provisioning tasks. This encompasses real-time insights into completed tasks, pending tasks, and ongoing or delayed service provisioning activities. These features facilitate efficient management and optimization of service deployment processes.

  • NSO Administration from ATOM:

ATOM streamlines the management of NSO instances by offering an integrated platform for onboarding, deleting, and removing NSO instances using the external integrations plugin. Additionally, ATOM simplifies the administration of rule lists, groups, and users within the NSO environment.

  • Alarms and Notifications:

ATOM facilitates the import and display of alarms triggered within NSO, ensuring real-time tracking and synchronization of alarm status within ATOM at regular intervals. The NSO dashboard within ATOM classifies alarms into two distinct categories: alerts generated within NSO and alerts specific to NSO raised within the ATOM environment. This comprehensive approach ensures thorough monitoring of service and device events originating from Cisco NSO.

These functionalities collectively showcase the robust capabilities of ATOM in effectively managing, monitoring, and administering the integration with NSO, providing network administrators and operators with a comprehensive and streamlined experience.


The combination of Cisco NSO and Anuta ATOM presents a robust solution for effectively managing, automating, and orchestrating network services. Their strong capabilities and seamless interoperability render them well-equipped to tackle the challenges of modern network infrastructure in varied, multi-vendor environments. The seamless integration of these platforms streamlines operational workflows and lays the foundation for a more agile and responsive network infrastructure.

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Additional Contributors: Sukirti Bhawna

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