What is NetBox?
NetBox is an infrastructure resource modeling (IRM) application designed to empower network automation. Initially conceived by the network engineering team at DigitalOcean, NetBox was developed specifically to address the needs of network and infrastructure engineers. NetBox is made available as open source under the Apache 2 license. It encompasses the following aspects of network management:
- IP address management (IPAM) - IP networks and addresses, VRFs, and VLANs
- Equipment racks - Organized by group and site
- Devices - Types of devices and where they are installed
- Connections - Network, console, and power connections among devices
- Virtualization - Virtual machines and clusters
- Data circuits - Long-haul communications circuits and providers
What NetBox Is Not
While NetBox strives to cover many areas of network management, the scope of its feature set is necessarily limited. This ensures that development focuses on core functionality and that scope creep is reasonably contained. To that end, it might help to provide some examples of functionality that NetBox does not provide:
- Network monitoring
- DNS server
- RADIUS server
- Configuration management
- Facilities management
That said, NetBox can be used to great effect in populating external tools with the data they need to perform these functions.
NetBox was designed with the following tenets foremost in mind.
Replicate the Real World
Careful consideration has been given to the data model to ensure that it can accurately reflect a real-world network. For instance, IP addresses are assigned not to devices, but to specific interfaces attached to a device, and an interface may have multiple IP addresses assigned to it.
Serve as a "Source of Truth"
NetBox intends to represent the desired state of a network versus its operational state. As such, automated import of live network state is strongly discouraged. All data created in NetBox should first be vetted by a human to ensure its integrity. NetBox can then be used to populate monitoring and provisioning systems with a high degree of confidence.
Keep it Simple
When given a choice between a relatively simple 80% solution and a much more complex complete solution, the former will typically be favored. This ensures a lean codebase with a low learning curve.
|HTTP service||nginx or Apache|
|WSGI service||gunicorn or uWSGI|
|Live device access||NAPALM (optional)|
Supported Python Versions
NetBox supports Python 3.7, 3.8, and 3.9 environments currently. (Support for Python 3.6 was removed in NetBox v3.0.)
Minor NetBox releases (e.g. v3.1) are published three times a year; in April, August, and December. These typically introduce major new features and may contain breaking API changes. Patch releases are published roughly every one to two weeks to resolve bugs and fulfill minor feature requests. These are backward-compatible with previous releases unless otherwise noted. The NetBox maintainers strongly recommend running the latest stable release whenever possible.
Please see the official installation guide for detailed instructions on obtaining and installing NetBox.