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From Wikitech

Netbox is used by Wikimedia as a tool for data center infrastructure management (DCIM) and IP address management (IPAM). It also serves as an integration point for switch and port management, DNS management, and other network operations.

Web UI



  • It consists of a single bullseye VM (netbox-devXXXX) combining frontend and database
  • Reachable on netbox-next.wikimedia.org and netbox-next.discovery.wmnet
    • Behind caches, similarly to the prod infrastructure
  • It's data comes from a manual dump of production's database
    • Reach out to Infrastructure Foundations if you need a more fresh database
    • Be careful not to leak any of its data
  • It is used to test Netbox upgrades, scripts, reports, etc
  • This host is active in monitoring (with notifications disabled)
    • As such, make sure that all the alerts cleared after your tests

Production infrastructure

the production Netbox infrastructure consists of 4 bullseye VMs (see all Netbox VMs):

  • 2 active/passive frontends (netboxXXXX)
  • 2 primary/replica postgresSQL databases (netboxdbXXXX)

By default the active/primary servers are the eqiad ones.

The public endpoint is behind our CDN so the request flow is:

  1. CDN - (using the wildcard *.wikimedia.org as its TLS certificate)
  2. active frontends
    1. Apache (using cfssl for its TLS certificate)
    2. Django app (through uwsgi)
  3. Active database



See all Netbox related Icinga checks: https://icinga.wikimedia.org/cgi-bin/icinga/status.cgi?search_string=netbox

In addition to the regular set of VM checks that are run on all servers, there are Icinga checks that only run on the active servers.

Controlled by the profile::netbox::db::primary and profile::netbox::active_server Hiera keys.


Controlled by the profile::netbox::active_server Hiera key:

  • Alerting for the Ganeti sync systemd timers (are they running correctly?) - see also Netbox#Ganeti sync
  • Alerting for the Netbox reports (is there invalid data in Netbox?) - see also Netbox#Reports
  • Alerting for the DNS export automation (are there Uncommitted DNS changes in Netbox?) - See also Netbox#DNS


The replica have a check for replication delay.


Setup task: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T243928

Global health overview (beta): https://grafana.wikimedia.org/d/DvXT6LCnk/





Using confctl, pool the passive server and depool the previous active one.

confctl --object-type discovery select 'dnsdisc=netbox,name=codfw' set/pooled=true
confctl --object-type discovery select 'dnsdisc=netbox,name=eqiad' set/pooled=false

If the failover is going to last (eg. longer than a server reboot), change the profile::netbox::active_server Hiera key to the backup server. This will ensure the cron/systemd timers as well as Icinga checks are running.

Note that having the active frontend in a different datacenter than the primary database will result in Netbox being slower.


If the primary database server needs a short downtime it's recommended to not try a failover and instead have Netbox offline for a short amount of time.

There are currently no documented procedure on how to fail the database over, and even less how to fail back to the former primary.

See also Postgres



First of all analyze the Netbox changelog to choose what's the best action to perform a restore.

The general options are:

  • Manually (or via the API) re-play the actions listed in the changelog in reverse order. The changelog entries don't have full raw data, some of them might show the names instead of the IDs required in the API
  • Restore a database dump. This ensure consistency at a given point in time, and could even be used to perform some partial restore using pg_restore.

To restore files from Bacula back to the client, use bconsole on helium and refer to Bacula#Restore_(aka_Panic_mode) for detailed steps.


Dumps backups

On the database servers, a Puppetized systemd timer (class postgresql::backup) automatically creates a daily dumps file of all local Postgres databases (pg_dumpall) and stores it in /srv/postgres-backup

  • On primary node: daily dumps
  • On secondary node: hourly dumps

This path is then backed up by Bacula#Adding a new client

For more details, the related subtask to setup backups was Phab:T190184, improved in task T262677

Stop the Netbox services before restore

Postgres may prevent us from deleting the current database before the restore if there are active remote connections to it. This is usually not the case but it has been observed on occasion. To minimize the chance of it happening we should stop the Netbox services on primary netbox host (as of June 2022 netbox1002) prior to restoring the db.

First downtime the active netbox server with the downtime cookbook from a cumin host:

sudo cookbook sre.hosts.downtime --minutes 30 -r "Restoring DB from backup on netboxdb1002" -t <task> netbox1002.eqiad.wmnet

Then on the active netbox host itself:

sudo systemctl stop rq-netbox
sudo systemctl stop uwsgi-netbox.service

Restore the DB dump

NOTE: The below instructions are valid to copy live db dump to 'netbox-next', the postgress db runs locally on that host rather than connecting to a dedicated DB VM. Also see note below about running puppet afterwards to change the netbox db user password (which is different on the dev host so should be changed if we dump the db from live one).

  • Check the dump files on the secondary DB host (as of Dec. 2022 netboxdb2002) in /srv/postgres-backup, if any issue with those files, do the same on the primary host. The secondary host performs hourly backups while the primary only daily.
  • If the secondary host has a more newer backup:
    • Copy the dump to the primary DB host (as of Dec. 2022 netboxdb1002), you can use from one of the cumin hosts (cumin1002.eqiad.wmnet, cumin2002.codfw.wmnet) as root, run:
      SSH_AUTH_SOCK=/run/keyholder/proxy.sock scp -3 root@netboxdb2002.codfw.wmnet:/srv/postgres-backup/psql-all-dbs-latest.sql.gz root@netboxdb1002.eqiad.wmnet:/srv/
    • SSH into the primary DB host (as of Dec. 2022 netboxdb1002)
    • Change the permissions of the copied backup to be owned by postgres:postgres
  • Take a one-off backup on the primary DB host (as of Dec. 2022 netboxdb1002) right before starting the restore with (the .bak suffix is important to not be auto-evicted):
    $ su - postgres
    $ /usr/bin/pg_dumpall | /bin/gzip > /srv/postgres-backup/${USER}-DESCRIPTION.psql-all-dbs-$(date +\%Y\%m\%d).sql.gz.bak
  • Become postgres user:
    sudo -i -u postgres
  • Connect to the DB, list and drop the Netbox database:
$ psql
postgres=# \l
postgres=# DROP DATABASE netbox;
# NOTE - you may still get a message saying 'database "netbox" is being accessed by other users' which prevents you dropping the db.  These can be from the active netbox host, running reports triggered by systemd timers, and the backup db host.  It is probably easiet to wait until these complete and re-try, if it cannot wait probably the services/processes connecting from those remote hosts need to be stopped.  As a last resort 'DROP DATABASE "netbox" WITH(FORCE);' can be used.
  • Still as the postgres user, restore the DB with:
$ gunzip < /srv/psql-all-dbs-SOME_DATE.sql.gz | /usr/bin/psql

If the dump has been restored to the DEV host hosting netbox-next, run puppet to fix the netbox DB user password at this time.

Start Netbox services after a restore

After the DB has been restored we can restart Netbox. If the restore was on the nebox-next host first run puppet to fix the DB password. SSH into the Netbox active host (as of June 2022 netbox1002) and execute:

sudo systemctl restart uwsgi-netbox.service
sudo systemctl restart rq-netbox.service
sudo systemctl status uwsgi-netbox.service
sudo systemctl status rq-netbox.service

Then check the logs in /srv/log/netbox/main.log and that netbox.wikimedia.org works properly. Check also the last item in the Netbox changelog section in the UI to ensure the data is correctly loaded.

Sanitizing a database dump

The Netbox database contains a few bits of sensitive information, and if it is going to be used for testing purposes in WMCS it should be sanitized first.

  1. Create a copy of the main database createdb netbox-sanitize && pg_dump netbox | psql netbox-sanitize
  2. Run the below SQL code on netbox-sanitize database.
  3. Dump and drop database pg_dump netbox-sanitize > netbox-sanitized.sql; dropdb netbox-sanitize


-- truncate secrets
TRUNCATE secrets_secret CASCADE;
TRUNCATE secrets_sessionkey CASCADE;
TRUNCATE secrets_userkey CASCADE;

-- sanitize dcim_serial
UPDATE dcim_device SET serial = concat('SERIAL', id::TEXT);

-- truncate user table

-- sanitize dcim_interface.mac_address
UPDATE dcim_interface SET mac_address = CONCAT(
                   LPAD(TO_HEX(FLOOR(random() * 255 + 1) :: INT)::TEXT, 2, '0'), ':',
                   LPAD(TO_HEX(FLOOR(random() * 255 + 1) :: INT)::TEXT, 2, '0'), ':',
                   LPAD(TO_HEX(FLOOR(random() * 255 + 1) :: INT)::TEXT, 2, '0'), ':',
                   LPAD(TO_HEX(FLOOR(random() * 255 + 1) :: INT)::TEXT, 2, '0'), ':',
                   LPAD(TO_HEX(FLOOR(random() * 255 + 1) :: INT)::TEXT, 2, '0'), ':',
                   LPAD(TO_HEX(FLOOR(random() * 255 + 1) :: INT)::TEXT, 2, '0')) :: macaddr;

-- sanitize cricuits_circuit.cid
UPDATE circuits_circuit SET cid = concat('CIRCUIT', id::TEXT);

Netbox Extras

CustomScripts, Reports and other associated tools for Netbox are collected in the netbox-extras repository at https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/plugins/gitiles/operations/software/netbox-extras/. This repository is deployed to the Netbox frontends under /srv/deployment/netbox-extras. It is not automatically deployed on merged, and must be "manually" updated after merge on the front-ends. This can be most comfortably accomplished with a cookbook on a Cumin host:

For Netbox DEV: sudo cookbook sre.netbox.update-extras --reason 'a good reason' -a netbox-canary

For Netbox PROD: sudo cookbook sre.netbox.update-extras --reason 'a good reason' -a netbox

If files in the "validators" directory are changed, the cookbook will also restart uwsgi-netbox

This will also reset any local changes.

Netbox (and source of truth) principles

  • Data automatically synced from the infrastructure should not drive the infrastructure
    • It is to be used for information purposes (eg. VM disk space) or as support for original data (eg. server interfaces for cables/IP/dns_name)
  • All data manually entered will have entry mistakes
    • Use helper scripts, input validation or post entry consistency checks (reports)
  • All data manually entered will go stale
    • Refrain from adding data that will not drive the infrastructure

Netbox features

WebUI (defined there): https://netbox.wikimedia.org/extras/custom-links/

Doc: https://docs.netbox.dev/en/stable/models/extras/customlink/

Netbox allow to setup custom links to other websites using Jinja2 templating for both the visualized name and the actual link, allowing for quite some flexibility. The current setup (as of June 2022) has the following links:

  • Grafana (for all physical devices and VMs)
  • Icinga (for all physical devices and VMs)
  • Debmonitor (for all physical devices and VMs)
  • Procurement Ticket (only for physical devices that have a ticket that matches either Phabricator or RT)
  • Hardware config (for Dell and HP physical devices, pointing to the manufacturer page for warranty information based on their serial number)
  • LibreNMS (for Juniper, opengear and sentry devices)
  • Puppetboard (for all physical devices and VMs)


WebUI (reports results): https://netbox.wikimedia.org/extras/reports/

Doc: https://docs.netbox.dev/en/stable/customization/reports/

Defined in https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/plugins/gitiles/operations/software/netbox-extras/+/refs/heads/master/reports/

Netbox reports are a way of validating data within Netbox.

In summary, reports produce a series of log lines that indicate some status connected to a machine, and may be either error, warning, or success. Log lines with no particular disposition for information purposes may also be emitted.

It is better to prevent the invalid data entry at the first place when possible (eg. regex, custom validation)

Report Conventions

Because of limitations to the UI for Netbox reports, certain conventions have emerged:

  1. Reports should emit one log_error line for each failed item. If the item doesn't exist as a Netbox object, None may be passed in place of the first argument.
  2. If any log_warning lines are produced, they should be grouped after the loop which produces log_error lines.
  3. Reports should emit one log_success which contains a summary of successes, as the last log in the report.
  4. Log messages referring to a single object should be formatted like <verb/condition> <noun/subobject>[: <explanatory extra information>]. Examples:
    1. malformed asset tag: WNF1212
    2. missing purchase date
  5. Summary log messages should be formatted like <count> <verb/condition> <noun/subobject>
  6. If possible followed with a suggestion on how to fix it (for example what are the proper values

Report Alert

Most reports that alert are data integrity mismatches due to changes in infrastructure, as a secondary check, and the responsibility of DC-ops.

Some (eg. network report) can have unforeseen consequences on the infrastructure (eg. miss-configurations).

Reports and their Errors
Report Typical Responsibility Alerts Typical Error(s) Note
Accounting Faidon or DC-ops
Cables DC-ops
Coherence DC-Ops
LibreNMS DC-ops or Netops You can ignore a LibreNMS device by setting its "ignore alert" flag in LibreNMS
Management DC-ops
PuppetDB Whoever changed / reimaged host <device> missing from PuppetDB or <device> missing from Netbox. These occur because the data in PuppetDB does not match the data in Netbox, typically related to missing devices or unexpected devices. Generally these errors fix themselves once the reimage is complete, but the Netbox record for the host may need to be updated for decommissioning and similar operations.
Network DC-ops or Netops

Custom Scripts

WebUI: https://netbox.wikimedia.org/extras/scripts/

Doc: https://docs.netbox.dev/en/stable/customization/custom-scripts/

Defined in https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/plugins/gitiles/operations/software/netbox-extras/+/refs/heads/master/customscripts/

While Netbox reports are read-only and have a fixed output format, CustomScripts can both write to the database and provide custom output.

In our infrastructure they're used for those two aspects:

  • Abstract and automate data entry,
    • Import Server Facts - imports host network information from PuppetDB into Netbox
    • Move Server - moves server location from one place to another making necessary adjustments
    • Provision Server Network - adds server to switch connection
    • Offline_device - set a device to offline, removing it from rack and deleting network connections
    • Replace_device - used to move all attributes from one device to another when being replaced
  • Format and expose data in a way that can be consumed by external tools,
    • Capirca
    • Getstats
    • Hiera_export

The above scripts should probably be moved to the plugin feature.

When running a script that writes to the database, run it a first time with "Commit changes" unchecked.

Review the changes that would happen.

Then a second time with "Commit changes" checked to make the changes permanent.

Extra Errors, Notes and Procedures

Would like to remove interface

This error is produced in the Interface Automation script when cleaning up old interfaces during an import.

Interfaces are considered for removal if they don't appear in the list provided by the data source (generally speaking, PuppetDB); they are then checked if there is an IP address or a cable associated with the interface. If there is one of these the interface is left in place so as to not lose data. It is considered a bug if this happens, so if you see this error in an output feel free to open a ticket against #netbox in Phabricator.

Error removing interface after speed change

This error is produced in the Interface Automation script when cleaning up old interfaces when provisioning a server's network attributes.

Specifically for modular interfaces on Juniper devices, the interface name is determined by the speed of the interface, and the port number. If an old interface exists, say xe-1/0/8, on a modular port and we replace the 10G SFP+ with a 25G SFP28, the name of the interface will change to et-1/0/8. JunOS cannot have both defined so the import script will remove the old (xe-1/0/8) interface in Netbox before adding the new one.

This error will get thrown if the old interface still has a cable connected, or an IP address assigned. This shouldn't normally happen, but if it does the old interface should be manually removed, and cables/IPs cleaned up as necessary. Feel free to ping netops members on IRC if there is any confusion, or open a Phabricator task.

Custom Fields

WebUI (defined there): https://netbox.wikimedia.org/extras/custom-fields/

Doc: https://docs.netbox.dev/en/stable/customization/custom-fields/

Please open a task if you need a new Custom Field.


Not a user facing feature, but an admin feature, useful for troubleshooting.

Doc: https://docs.netbox.dev/en/stable/administration/netbox-shell/

This have the power to break things very quickly if not used carefully.

The bellow command will drop you in a python shell with access to all the Netbox models, similarly to what the CustomScripts use.

sudo -i
cd /srv/deployment/netbox && . venv/bin/activate && cd deploy/src/netbox && python manage.py nbshell

When performing changes it's ideal to make them show up in the Netbox changelog. That can be achieved with something like this:

import uuid
request_id = uuid.uuid4()
user = User.objects.get(username='my_username')

# When modifying an object save also the changes:
device = Device.objects.get(name='hostname')
device.comments = 'some comment'
# See the available choices in:
# https://github.com/netbox-community/netbox/blob/master/netbox/extras/choices.py#L81
log = device.to_objectchange('update')  # create/update/delete
log.request_id = request_id
log.user = user

For a create, add the log entry after the object creation. For a delete add it before the object deletion.


Tags are a slippery slope as they are global and don't have built in mechanism to prevent typos. ConfigContext are much more difficult to audit than fields. We've so far managed to not need them. Therefore,

They MUST NOT be used in our environment.


A systemd timer runs once a day to perform background cleanup of expired data. More details on https://docs.netbox.dev/en/stable/administration/housekeeping/


Tracked in https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T310590

Unlike reports which only trigger after the erroneous change was made, validators ensure that the data entered (using the UI or the API) respect our custom ("business") rules.

Reports should only be used when validators are not suitable (eg. using external tool, sequence of changes).

Our convention is to have a single validator file per Netbox model, each of them have a single class class Main(CustomValidator). Per Netbox requirements, this class MUST have a function named def validate(self, instance).

To "activate" the validator, add the model to the relevant profile::netbox::validators key (prod or dev).

A few things to keep in mind when working on validators:

  • Bugs in the validators code will return an error 500 when the user will try to interact with Netbox, which could make them think that there is something wrong with Netbox itself.
  • When editing Netbox through the API, a validator failure will return an error 400
  • Validators are run for all modifications, please make sure your code is as lean as possible, with the least amount of dependencies

Testing validators

To test a validator on all the existing objects in Netbox you can follow those steps on a Netbox frontend host:

$ sudo -i -u netbox
$ cd /srv/deployment/netbox && . venv/bin/activate && cd deploy/src/netbox
$ vi test_validator.py
### Paste the validator to test in the file
$ python manage.py nbshell
# [...SNIP...] also removing the >>> prefixes for easy copy-pasting
from test_validator import Main
v = Main()
# Adjust the model based on the object you want to test, for example for IPAddresses:
obj_type = IPAddress
for obj in obj_type.objects.all():
    except Exception as e:
        print(f"{obj} - {e}")

$ rm test_validator.py
$ tree  __pycache__/
└── test_validator.cpython-39.pyc
$ rm -rf __pycache__



Set of resources that exports Netbox data in various formats.


A git repository of DNS zonefile snippets generated from Netbox data and exported via HTTPS in read-only mode to be consumed by the DNS#Authoritative_nameservers and the Continuous Integration tests run for the operations/dns Gerrit repository. The repository is available via:

 $ git clone https://netbox-exports.wikimedia.org/dns.git

To update the repository, see DNS/Netbox#Update_generated_records.

The repository is also mirrored in Phabricator: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/source/netbox-exported-dns/ though it may not be immediately up-to-date.


some of the information in netbox is useful in puppet for example

  • host rack location
  • hosts managment ip address
  • hosts status
  • network devices
  • network prefixes

In order to make this information available to puppet we have create the sre.puppet.sync-netbox-hiera cookbook which preforms the following actions.

At this point the data is available to puppet via the hiera entry for hosts and the common section and can be looked up with the normal hiera lookup methods e.g. to get the host location run lookup('profile::netbox::host::location')

In order to make it easier for users to consume this data we pre load it via dedicated profiles. As such the better way to load data is to include the specific class and then access the data.

include profile::netbox::host
if profile::netbox::host::location['rack'] == 'D3' {
  fail("${facts['networking']['hostname']} should not be in rack D3")

We also store bulk information in hiera related to the network and devices not managed by puppet e.g. network devices or management interfaces. This data is mostly useful for monitoring however in future it may replace the current uses of network::constants. you can load this data as follow however please not it is a lot of data and should only be included if needed

include profile::netbox::data
$profile::netbox::data::mgmt.each |$host, $data| {
  if $data['rack'] == 'D3' {
    fail("${host} should not be in rack D3")
$profile::netbox::data::network_devices.each |$host, $data| {
  notice("${host} is a ${data['role']}")
$profile::netbox::data::prefixes.each |$prefix, $data| {
  notice("${prefix} (${data['description']}) is in vlan ${data['vlan']}")


The "GetStats" CustomScripts exports Prometheus metrics about devices statistics.

Which is used to generate https://grafana.wikimedia.org/d/ppq_8SRMk/netbox-device-statistic-breakdown?orgId=1

This might get replaced with a plugin, see https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T311052


Ganeti sync

Refactor and improvements (eg. cluster_group support) in T262446

For each entry under the profile::netbox::ganeti_sync_profiles Hiera key, Puppet created a systemd timer on the active sever to run ganeti-netbox-sync.py with the matching parameters.

Ganeti and Netbox use conflicting and confusing naming, see Ganeti#Netbox naming disambiguation

External scripts

Scripts and tools not previously listed that interact with Netbox, and thus need to be checked for compatibility after significant Netbox changes (eg. upgrades).



Cookbooks with direct pynetbox calls:

  • sre.pdus.uptime
  • sre.pdus.rotate-snmp
  • sre.network.configure-switch-interfaces
  • sre.network.peering
  • sre.hosts.dhcp
  • sre.pdus.rotate-password
  • sre.hosts.provision
  • sre.hosts.reimage
  • sre.pdus.reboot-and-wait

Cookbooks using GraphQL

  • sre.puppet.sync-hiera

Upgrading Netbox

There are 3 types of upgrades:

  1. Simple upgrade, only Netbox is upgraded
    • extremely simple procedure as within patch-level releases they maintain a reasonable level of compatibility in the APIs that we use. When it comes to upgrading across minor versions, breaking changes may have occurred and careful reading of changelogs is needed, as well as testing of the scripts which consume and manipulate data in Netbox
  2. Infrastructure upgrade, where new servers running a newer Netbox are built in parallel of production then switched over
    • Much more complex, see the Netbox 4 upgrade task for context
  3. Server upgrade, Netbox stays at the same version but the underlying servers are upgraded (eg. new Debian version)
    • Never done, probably through failing over the backup server and failing back on the new one


  1. Review changelog and note any changes that may interact with our integrations or deployment
  2. Updat netbox repository
  3. Update netbox-deploy repository
  4. Deploy to netbox-dev200x
  5. Simple tests
  6. Review UI and note any differences to call out during announcement
  7. (if API changes or minor version bump) Complex tests
  8. (if breaking changes) Port scripts
  9. (if breaking changes) Test scripts
  10. Deploy to production


  • Check upstream changelog for any possible breaking changes (usually for major version change only)
    • Update Puppet configuration.py and/or scripts/reports/3rd party scripts accordingly
  • Check the upgrade.sh history and update netbox-deploy:/scap/checks/netbox_setup.sh accordingly in the dev branch.

Update WMF netbox repository

git clone https://github.com/netbox-community/netbox.git
git remote add gerrit ssh://<YOUR_GERRIT_USERNAME>@gerrit.wikimedia.org:29418/operations/software/netbox
git checkout master
git push gerrit master
git push --tags gerrit master

Build deploy repository

Netbox has a deployment repository with the collected artifacts (the virtual environment and associated libraries) is used to deploy it. This is updated separately from our branch of Netbox with the following procedure which uses the operations/software/netbox-deploy repository.

  1. In a working copy of operations/software/netbox-deploy, update the src/ subdirectory, which is a submodule of this repository pointing at WMF copy of Netbox Github repository; to do this git pull in that directory, and then check out the tag of the version that is being updated to, for example git checkout v4.0.7.
  2. Build the artifacts by doing a make clean and then make all. This uses docker to collect all of the required libraries as specified in the various requirements.txt files. It creates the artifacts as artifacts/artifacts.bookworm.tar.gz and frozen-requirements-bookworm.txt.
  3. Commit the changes to the repository and submit for review, be sure the following files have changes: frozen-requirements-bookworm.txt, artifacts/artifacts.bookworm.tar.gz, src.

Once the repository is reviewed and merged via Gerrit, it is ready to deploy!

Deploy to Testing Server

The next phase, even for simple upgrades is to deploy to netbox-dev2003.codfw.wmnet for basic testing prior to deploying to production.

  1. Login to a deploy server such as deploy1002.eqiad.wmnet
  2. Go to /srv/deployment/netbox/deploy; this is a check out of the -deploy repository from above.
  3. Pull to the latest version, make sure you're on the good branch (currently main) with git pull origin main
  4. Update the submodule in src : git submodule sync; git submodule update; and verify it's at the good commit with cd src/; git log -1 check that the /deploy directory doesn't have any outstanding changes in git status
  5. Deploy netbox-dev2003, with bug reference in hand running the cookbook:
    sudo cookbook sre.deploy.python-code -t T12345 -r 'Release v4.0.6 to netbox-next' -u netbox netbox 'A:netbox-canary'
  6. This process should go smoothly and leave the target machine ready to test.

It may be necessary to deploy a new production database dump to netbox-dev2003's database to ensure parity with production.

Simple Testing

On https://netbox-next.wikimedia.org we can perform some basic tests:

  • Test login
  • Test each Report (Other/Reports menu) and compare to production
  • Test each CustomScript (Other/Scripts menu) and compare to production
  • Look at some samples of Devices (Devices/Devices menu) and compare to production
  • Look at some samples of IPAM (IPAM/IP Addresses menu) and compare to production
  • Look at a cable trace and compare to production (go to an active Device, Interfaces tab, click the 'Trace' button next to a connected interface)

Complex Testing

In the event that a more breaking update is being made, more extensive testing, and potential porting to account for API changes might need to be done. Note in the above Simple Testing, any of the reports or CustomScripts that produce errors due to API changes (errored state indicates some python error occured which most often is the result of API changes). If the outputs of the reports or scripts vary substantially from the production versions, for example unexpected failures or warnings, this may also indicate that porting is required.

In addition to the above, the following things need to be tested:

  • DNS generation. This should produce no diff if the database and DNS repository on netbox-dev2001 are updated to production contents.
  • Script proxy on getstats.GetDeviceStatistics. This should produce results similar to production.
  • The ganeti sync script. This should be a no-op on a recent production data. If additional tests are desired, removing Virtual devices and rerunning should recreate them. Note that an existing bug in the sync script produces ignorable errors when trying to remove ganeti nodes that are no longer in the network.
  • Homer. This should produce no diff if the database is updated to production contents.

Porting and Testing

This process doesn't generalize, but over time there are drifts in the internal and external APIs used by our integrations, and some porting work may be required to operate against them as they change. Generally these changes are minor such as changing method names or adding arguments, and other times they are rather more complicated such as splitting Virtual device interfaces from non-virtual device interfaces. In general once porting is thought to be complete, the changes should be deployed to netbox-dev2001 and a full run of testing should be done to verify that the changes made fix the problems that turned up in initial testing, including attempting to go down avenues of execution that may not normally be hit.

Any or all of the items tested in Simple and Complex testing may need porting depending on which internal or external APIs have changed.

Deploy to Production

After a final run through of any problem areas exposed in above testing and fixes are deployed to netbox-dev2001 it is finally time to deploy the new version to production, with the following procedure:

  1. Announce that the release will be occuring on #wikimedia-dcops, #mediawiki_security, #wikimedia-operations, #wikimedia-sre and, if necessary, coordinate a time when integration tools or DCops work will not be interrupted.
  2. Merge any outstanding changes to netbox-extras or netbox/deploy repositories (if necessary).
  3. On netbox-db2001, perform a manual dump of the database.
  4. Deploy netbox-extras to production using cumin, as in #Netbox_Extras
  5. Announce on IRC that a deploy is happening, on #wikimedia-operations: !log Deploying Netbox v2.10.4-wmf to production Tbug
  6. Deploy to production:
    1. Login to a deploy server such as deploy1001.eqiad.wmnet
    2. Go to /srv/deployment/netbox/deploy; this is a check out of the -deploy repository from above.
    3. Pull to the latest version, and update the submodule in src by pulling and checking out the tag that is going to be deployed.
    4. Deploy with the cookbook with bug reference in hand:
      sudo cookbook sre.deploy.python-code -r 'Release v3.2.9-wmf2 to production' -u netbox netbox 'A:netbox'
  7. Announce on IRC that the deploy is complete, on #wikimedia-operations: !log Finished deploying Netbox v2.10.4-wmf to production Tbug
  8. Perform simple and Complex testing as above, and in general make sure everything is as expected.


Here are cut-and-pastable checklists for tickets for doing this upgrade process. They should be used in a ticket titled "Update Netbox to vN.M.X-wmf" tagged with sre-tools and netbox.

Simple upgrade

Use when patch level updates or a review of the changelog shows nothing that should break things.

[] Update netbox repository + deploy repository
[] Upgrade -dev2001 
[] Rerun reports
[] Try a PuppetDB import for an existing host
[] Check diffs in DNS generation
[] Coordinate time with DCops and SRE for release
[] Dump a pre-upgrade copy of database
[] Release to production
[] Perform simple tests

Complex upgrade

Use with any update that may cause breaking changes to the API, or that the simple testing indicates may have extra work involved.

[] Review upgrade.sh
[] Examine change log for any major changes
[] Update netbox repository and deploy repository
[] Look around the UI for any changes, rearrangements or process changes
[] Upgrade -dev2001 
[] Check and make any necessary changes to reports:
  [] accounting.py
  [] cables.py
  [] coherence.py
  [] librenms.py
  [] management.py
  [] puppetdb.py
[] Check and make any necessary changes to scripts:
  [] getstats.py
  [] interface_automation.py
  [] offline_device.py
[] Check DNS generation, and review diffs
  [] Make any necessary changes to generate_dns_snippets.py
[] Check custom_script_proxy.py
[] Execute CSV dumps and examine dumps for any anomolies.
  [] Update dumpbackup.py for any model changes, and any issues
[] Execute Ganeti sync against all sites
  [] Make any necessary changes to ganeti-netbox-sync.py
[] Check and make any necessary changes to Homer
[] Coordinate time with DCops and SRE for release
[] Dump a pre-upgrade copy of database
[] Release to production
[] Perform simple tests
[] Recheck DNS generation and examine diffs


It's possible to run scripts through the command line, for example:

python3 manage.py runscript interface_automation.ImportPuppetDB --data '{"device": "ml-cache1003"}' --commit

CablePath matching query does not exist

If getting the following error when saving a cable through a script, after deleting a cable:

dcim.models.cables.CablePath.DoesNotExist: CablePath matching query does not exist

Make sure you're running i.refresh_from_db() where i is the interface(s) where the previous cable was attached to.

Datasource sync: AttributeError: 'NoneType' object has no attribute 'sync'

Netbox 4. This only happened once, root cause unknown. Full stacktrace in syslog. We should open an upstream issue if it happens again.

  1. Open nbshell
  2. Run to find the problematic object. It should contain None in the line.
    asr = AutoSyncRecord.objects.all()
    for idx, a in enumerate(asr):
        print(f'{idx} - {a} - {a.object}')
  3. Delete it with asr[XXX].delete() where XXX is its list index.

Future improvements

Phabricator project - https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/tag/netbox/

Improve our infrastructure modeling

Improve automation and reduce tech debt


  • At Wikimedia it was evaluated in T170144 as a replacement for Racktables.
  • In T199083 the actual migration between the systems took place
  • T266487 - Netbox 2.9 upgrade
  • T288515 - Netbox vs. Nautobot
  • T296452 - documents the large upgrade from 2.10 to 3.2 and the subsequent improvements it brought
  • T314933 Upgrade Netbox to latest 3.2
  • T336275 - Upgrade Netbox to 3.7.x

See also