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Revision as of 16:58, 24 February 2021 by imported>CRusnov (Add a section on Upgrading netbox with a prototype of the procedures and what to test. This will require further refinement, but is a start at formalizing the process.)
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Netbox is a "IP address management (IPAM) and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tool".

At Wikimedia it is used as the DCIM and IPAM system, as well as being used as an integration point for switch and port management, DNS management and similar operations.


Web UI

  • login using your LDAP/Wikitech credentials
  • currently you need to be in either the "ops" or "wmf" LDAP group to be able to login


The following paths are backed up in Bacula:


A puppetized cron job (class postgresql::backup) automatically creates a daily dump file of all local Postgres databases (pg_dumpall) and stores it in /srv/postgres-backup.

This path is then backed up by Bacula.

For more details, the related subtask to setup backups was Phab:T190184.


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.
  • Use the CSV dumps to recover data. Their restore is not trivial either due to the fact that some of the Netbox exports are not immediately re-importable due to reference resolution.
  • 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.

Restore the DB dump

  • Check the dump list in both hosts (as of May 2020 netboxdb[12]001 in /srv/postgres-backup, a more recent one might be in the other host.
  • Copy if needed the dump to the master host (as of May 2020 netboxdb1001)
  • Unzip the chosen dump file
  • Take a one-off backup right before starting the restore with (the .bak suffix is important to not be auto-evicted):
 /usr/bin/pg_dumpall | /bin/gzip > /srv/postgres-backup/${USER}-DESCRIPTION.psql-all-dbs-$(date +\%Y\%m\%d).sql.gz.bak
  • Connect to the DB, list and drop the Netbox database:
postgres=# \l
postgres=# DROP DATABASE netbox;
  • Restore the DB with:
 sudo -u postgres /usr/bin/psql < ${DUMP_FILE}

Flush caches after a restore

After a restore Netbox caches must be flushed to ensure both consistency and see the changes.

To perform the flush SSH into the Netbox master host (as of May 2020 netbox1001) and execute:

cd /srv/deployment/netbox
. venv/bin/activate  # Activate the Netbox Python virtualenv
cd deploy/src/netbox
python invalidate all  # Perform the flush

Automatic CSV Dumps

Each hour at :37, a script dumps most pertinent tables to a target directory in /srv/netbox-dumps with a timestamp. Sixteen of these dumps are retained for backup purposes, which is executed by the script in /srv/deployment/netbox/deploy/scripts/rotatedump. This script only rotates directories in the pattern 20*, so if a manual, retained dump is desired, one can simply run the script (su netbox -c /srv/deployment/netbox/deploy/scripts/rotatedump) and rename the resulting dump outside of this pattern, perhaps with a descriptive prefix.

Note that historical copies are also available from Bacula, as this is one of the directories that are backed up.

Dumping Database for Testing Purposes

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);

Custom Links

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 Feb. 2020) 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)

Netbox Extras

CustomScripts, Reports and other associated tools for Netbox are collected in the netbox-extras repository at This repository is deployed to the Netbox frontends under /srv/deployment/netbox-extras. It is not automatically deployed on merged, and must be manually `git pull` after merge on both front-ends. This can be most comfortably accomplished with Cumin on a Cumin host:

 sudo cumin 'A:netbox' 'cd /srv/deployment/netbox-extras; git pull'

This will have the dual purpose of resetting any local changes and updating the deployment to the latest version.


Netbox reports are a way of validating data within Netbox. They are available in, and are defined in the repository under reports/.

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.

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>

Report Alert

The report results are at

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

Reports and their Errors
Report Typical Responsibility Typical Error(s)
Accounting Faidon or DC-ops
Cables DC-ops
Coherence (does not alert)
LibreNMS DC-ops or Netops
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.
Juniper (does not alert) DC-ops or Netops

Juniper Report

The Juniper Installed Base report needs manual steps to be updated:

  1. Login to
  2. Go to the Products tab
  3. Hit the export button, select "No filter, All Columns, and Accounts" then Export
  4. Download the spreadsheet from the 🔔 (Notification) menu.
  5. Copy it to
  6. Run the report

A possible future evolution is to query that data directly from Juniper's APIs.


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

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

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.

Upgrading Netbox

Upgrading Netbox is usually an 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.


  1. Update WMF version of netbox
  2. Review changelog and note any changes that may interact with our integrations or deployment
  3. Update deploy repository
  4. Deploy to netbox-dev2001
  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

Update the WMF Version of Netbox

We maintain a minimal fork of Netbox to change a few small things that are required for our configuration. This takes the form of two commits in the WMF version of the Netbox repository:

WMF Netbox Production Patches
Commit hash
03e3b07f5dcf5538fb0b90641a4e3d043684bb37 Switches swagger into Non-Public mode
824fe21597c251ce6e0667b97b258a23ff210949 Adds a way to pass settings directly into the that we use for configuring the Swift storage backend

Generally these are cherry-picked into a copy of the upstream branch, and then pushed to main on, with the following procedure:

  1. In a working copy of operations/software/netbox, add an upstream remote
  2. Pull the upstream remote's commits into the working copy
  3. Cherry-pick the above hashes into the working copy's HEAD git cherry-pick -x 03e3b07f5dcf5538fb0b90641a4e3d043684bb37; git cherry-pick -x 824fe21597c251ce6e0667b97b258a23ff210949
  4. Remove the master branch git branch -D master
  5. Create a new master branch git branch master
  6. Create a tag for the version number, it is our standard to append -wmf to the version number, so for Netbox version 2.10.4 we would git tag v2.10.4-wmf
  7. Force push master to gerrit
    1. Go to the administrative panel of the netbox repository, click Access, Edit, Reference: refs/heads/master and set to Allow pushing with or without force, and Save
    2. git push --set-upstream origin master --force --tags
    3. Return to administrative panel above, and switch access back to Allow pushing (but not force pushing) and save.

Build deploy repository

Netbox is deployed using Scap, and thus 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 the above operations/software/netbox; 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 v2.10.4-wmf.
  2. Update the .gitmodules file with the correct version as checked out above.
  3. Build the artifacts by doing a make clean and then make. 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.buster.tar.gz and frozen-requirements.txt.
  4. Commit the changes to the repisitory and submit for review, be sure the following files have changes: frozen-requirements.txt,artifacts/artifacts.buster.tar.gz, .gitmodules, and 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 for basic testing prior to deploying to production. This is done via Scap on a deploy server.

  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 scap to netbox-dev2001, with bug reference in hand: scap deploy -l 'Deploying Netbox v2.10.4-wmf to netbox-dev Tbug'
  5. 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-dev2001's database to ensure parity with production.

It may be necessary to make changes to the puppet side of the deployment due to changes in Netbox's requirements, which will be generally called out in the upstream changelog. In addition, Puppet is used to ship the configuration files, so any new or different requirements in those may need to be accounted for. Additionally, occationally new or different tools are invoked in upstream's; we use netbox-deploy/scap/checks/ to perform these tasks and it may need to be updated.

Simple Testing

On 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.
  • CSV dumps. Should produce results similar to production. Note that there may be changes to the dumped tables required if models have changed.
  • 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 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 homer 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 scap with bug reference in hand: scap deploy 'Deploying Netbox v2.10.4-wmf to production Tbug'
    5. This process should go smoothly for netbox1001, and prompt for continuation. Allow it to continue to deploy to 2001 and -dev2001.
  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
[] 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:
[] Check and make any necessary changes to scripts:
[] Check DNS generation, and review diffs
  [] Make any necessary changes to
[] Check
[] Execute CSV dumps and examine dumps for any anomolies.
  [] Update for any model changes, and any issues
[] Execute Ganeti sync against all sites
  [] Make any necessary changes to
[] 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