Cisco Library for Ruby
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lib Monster cleanup and gem-ified Jan 13, 2009
README Added install instruction Jan 13, 2009
cisco.gemspec Monster cleanup and gem-ified Jan 13, 2009


This tool aims to provide transport-flexible functionality, for easy communication
with Cisco devices. It currently allows you to execute commands on a device and get
back the output of those commands.

To install:

git clone git://
cd ruby-cisco
gem build cisco.gemspec
sudo gem install cisco-<version>.gem

The library provides two styles to use:

cisco = => "", :password => "accesspass")
cisco.cmd("sh ver")
cisco.cmd("sh run")
output =

This will return an array of results, one string for the output of each command. The
following block style usage returns the same results, though some may prefer it:

output = do |x|
	x.cmd("sh ver")
	x.cmd("sh run")

SSH and Telnet should be working OK at this time. Unfortunately due to the asynchronous
design of the Net::SSH library's API, it is not easy to provide an interface for
operating conditionally on output data in the middle of a session like you may be
used to, for example:

output = device.cmd("show version")
if output =~ "IOS"
	device.cmd("run some ios command")
	device.cmd("run some catos command")

Similar behavior could be achieved by setting up the SSH session yourself. You can peek
at the #run method in ssh.rb for how to do this. Instead, the interface of this library 
allows you to simply execute a series of commands all in one run, and get the output at 
the end. I have limited the synchronous advantage of Net::Telnet by conforming it to this
model, but I wanted to have them both be used in the same fashion.

The Base class should be used unless you know what you're doing and what I have provided
is not adequate. Telnet is used by default. To use SSH, you must specify:

cisco = => "", :user => "admin", :password => "accesspass", :transport => :ssh)

You can also pass an array of direct arguments that are used to instantiate the transport object. 
This is useful, if for instance, you want to use public key authentication with SSH:

cisco = => ["", "admin", :auth_methods => ["publickey"]])

In the future, I would like to provide subclasses to retrieve, present and set configuration 
parameters in an OO fashion, like:["fa0/4"].speed
=> 100["fa0/4"].speed = 10

I have yet to come up with a good way for implementing this that will scale across
a wide variety of devices. Please let me know if you have input and want to help.
yakischloba on Freenode

Thanks to Jamis Buck for creating Net::SSH and helping me understand how to do this.