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TcL Scripting for Cisco IOS (Networking Technology) Paperback – June 19, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1587059452 ISBN-10: 1587059452 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Networking Technology
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Cisco Press; 1 edition (June 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587059452
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587059452
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #489,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover


A guide to building and modifying Tcl scripts to automate network administration tasks


Streamline Cisco network administration and save time with Tcl scripting

Cisco networking professionals are under relentless pressure to accomplish more, faster, and with fewer resources. The best way to meet this challenge is to automate mundane or repetitive tasks wherever possible. In this book, three Cisco experts show you how to use Tcl scripting for Cisco IOS devices to do just that.


You'll learn easy techniques for creating, using, and modifying Tcl scripts that run directly on Cisco network devices from the Cisco IOS command line. The authors first teach basic Tcl commands and concepts for capturing and manipulating data and for querying or controlling Cisco equipment. Building on these core skills, they show you how to write scripts that automate and streamline many common IOS configuration, monitoring, and problem-solving tasks.


The authors walk through the entire script development process, including planning and flowcharting what you want to accomplish, formatting your code, adding comments, and troubleshooting script errors. They also present many downloadable sample scripts, along with practical guidance for adapting them to your own environment.


Whatever your role in managing, monitoring, or securing Cisco IOS networks and equipment, this book will help you get the job done more rapidly and efficiently.


Ray Blair, CCIE No. 7050, is a Cisco vertical solutions architect specializing in large network designs. He has more than 20 years of experience in designing, implementing, and maintaining networks, and maintains three CCIE certifications.


Arvind Durai, CCIE No. 7016, Advanced Services Technical Leader for Cisco, specializes in supporting major Cisco enterprise customers in finance, manufacturing, e-commerce, government, and healthcare. He holds CCIEs in Routing and Switching, and in Security.


John Lautmann, Cisco Software Engineer, has developed and enhanced network management software for twelve years, and holds six patents. He has helped develop new Cisco IOS features ranging from data link switching to IOS Tcl Interpeter and digitally signed Tcl scripts.


  • Automate routine administration tasks you've always performed manually
  • Instantly collect and modify IOS router configurations and other data
  • Write Syslog scripts to document failures, monitor network health, collect statistics, and send alarm messages
  • Implement automated network performance measurement using IP SLA
  • Use the Embedded Event Manager's event detectors, server, and policies to customize device operation
  • Trigger preplanned actions to correct problems as they arise
  • Simplify policy management using the Tcl script refresh feature
  • Protect Tcl script security with digital signatures and PKI
  • Understand how Tcl functions within the Cisco IOS environment
  • Master Tcl syntax and commands through hands-on practice
  • Learn best scripting practices through expert examples
  • Quickly modify this book's examples for your own environment


This book is part of the Networking Technology Series from Cisco Press®, which offers networking professionals valuable information for constructing efficient networks, understanding new technologies, and building successful careers.


Category: Networking

Covers: Network Administration

$60.00 USA / $72.00 CAN



About the Author

Ray Blair, CCIE No. 7050, is a Vertical Solutions Architect and has been with Cisco Systems for more than 10 years, working primarily with large network designs. He has almost 22 years of experience with designing, implementing, and maintaining networks that have included nearly all networking technologies. During the early stages of his career, he wrote many applications using Assembly language and C. Mr. Blair maintains three CCIE certifications in Routing and Switching, Security, and Service Provider. He is also a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and coauthor of the Cisco Secure Firewall Services Module book.


Arvind Durai , CCIE No. 7016, is an Advanced Services Technical Leader for Cisco Systems. His primary responsibility in the past 10 years has been in supporting major Cisco customers in the enterprise sector, including financial, manufacturing, e-commerce, state government, utility (smart grid networks) and health-care sectors. Some of his focuses have been on security, multicast, network virtualization, and he has authored several white papers and design guides in various technologies. He has leveraged Embedded Event Manager (EEM) and Tool Command Language (Tcl) scripts in various customer designs. Mr. Durai maintains two CCIE certifications: Routing and Switching, and Security. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electronics and communication, a master’s degree in electrical engineering (MS), and master’s degree in business administration (MBA), and is a coauthor of Cisco Secure Firewall Services Module.


John Lautmannis a Software Engineer for Cisco Systems. He has developed and enhanced network management software for nearly 14 years. Before joining Cisco, he held positions in customer support and software testing. With six networking patents, John has been involved in the development of new Cisco IOS features such as data-link switching, syslog, configuration rollback and archiving, IOS Tcl interpreter, digitally signed Tcl scripts, and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) ping and trace. Mr. Lautmann holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and master’s degrees in both business and engineering.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Pollock on June 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Though it's been a few years, I was originally a programmer by trade before becoming a network engineer so I was excited to get my hands on Ray and Team's latest book on scripting in TCL for Cisco IOS.

I was not disappointed. This is the definitive book on harnessing the power of EEM and TCL for managing a network and is a "must have" reference for every administrators bookshelf.

I was not fluent in TCL when I began and the chapter on the basics gave me exactly what I needed to know to get started including where to get the distribution (if you don't happen to have access to an IOS router to practice on). , TCL is available on the [...] site, a great place to get other (free) scripting languages as well, Perl being one of my favorites at the moment.

After you learn the basics of TCL and then how to access the IOS command set, they take you on a tour of Embedded Event Manager (EEM) and I must say this has to be one of the best descriptions of EEM functionality I have run across. Then things get serious, this book takes you through some very detailed advanced operations including embedded syslog manager (ESM), embedded menu manager (EMM) and IPS service Level Agreement (IPSLA) measurements as well as SNMP proxy and Remote Procedure Calls.

A complete work, this book is thorough and the examples are relevant. You get a step by step guide on how to write an application from start to finish. The scripts provided are a testament to Ray's attention to detail and I was quite impressed with his vast knowledge of the subject matter. Not only does he provide insight into the use of TCL and IOS but also how to present the output using HTML, javascript, and even a touch of flash for charting.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Some 15 years ago I learnt Tcl/Tk in another job, then never met it again till this book. I thought Tcl was passe, but it turns out that Cisco has decided upon a usage vis-a-vis their hardware. The book demonstrates that Tcl is a simple language. Any experienced sysadmin or programmer will have no problem. In the text, one quite short chapter suffices to cover the germane syntax. The rest of the book explains how to use Tcl to give commands to Cisco equipment, typically a router, and how to understand the results.

The examples, with the caveat below, have no graphics. No Tk. In a way, the Cisco implementation takes the programmer back to roots Tcl of the late 80s, before Tk was put together as the GUI for Tcl.

The book will make more sense to the reader if you are already well versed in network administration and specifically have already administered Cisco equipment. The book wastes no time in explaining concepts like Network Address Translation, or the opening of a TCP socket, for example. Rather, it goes right into the interfacing of Tcl with the hardware.

The last chapter delves into combining Tcl with a web server. We see that instead of Tk, Cisco had the probably correct choice of having HTML output be the GUI. The examples of resultant HTML code can be rather verbose, but no more so than autogenerated web pages produced by other software.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christos Partsenidis on November 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Don't get too excited!

The title "TCL Scripting for Cisco IOS" might make you think you'll be able
to drill the guts out of your router and utilise IOS functions unknown to
most, but that's not the case. This is quite an elementary reference.

Authors take a step by step approach, providing a reference to the TCL
language from chapter 1 through chapter 2. It is quite detailed, and can be
used by a novice programmer to learn the insight of TCL.

In chapter 3, TCL interaction with IOS is addressed, explaining the function
of `tclsh' command interpreter and how it can be used in conjunction with

Chapters 4 through 5 cover the Embedded Event Manager (EEM),
Embedded Syslog Manager (ESM) and Embedded Menu Manager (EMM).
They are well written and provide fine and thorough explanation of the
advanced capabilities they expose to the network administrator. The
examples give a glimpse of what can be achieved in a network's daily

In chapter 6 the creation of a TCL application is covered. Authors explain in
extreme detail all required steps that a programmer should take in order to
develop an application. There is so much information that it sometimes
becomes cumbersome for an advanced programmer to read.

The last chapter covers the issues of security in TCL scripting. Detailed
steps about script signing and distribution present an excellent guide.

As a final comment, this book is a good starting point for a novice
programmer that needs to interact with a Cisco device but it can easily be
replaced by Cisco's documentation on EEM and a TCL language guide.

It could be enhanced by including information about Cisco TCL libraries
and Cisco Voice which makes extensive use of TCL.

There are also quite a few typos and formatting issues that need to be
addressed in this edition.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on March 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
The first thing that I'd say about this book is to second the authors recommendation that you start this whole Tcl project by downloading the Tcl interpreter from onto your PC and practice with it there. They have versions for Windows, Apple and several flavors of Unix. To quote the authors of this book: "This is probably a better place to start, rather than practicing on production equipment, especially if you want to keep your job."

If you are not familiar with it, Tcl (usually pronounced tickle) is a full fledged programming language. It's usually interpreted so that it runs a bit slower than other languages but is much faster to develop programs since you eliminate the compile step. If you've programmed in any language, the introduction in Chapter 2 is probably enough to get you started. There is also a lot of programming information on the web site and several books on the language.

The rest of this book is an introduction to the particular features that Cisco has implemented in their IOS and the way that tcl interfaces to it. It is an introductory book, aimed at getting you started. You could get everything in this book from the tcl web sites and Cisco documentation. But here the material is clearly and neatly organized, all in one place and the writing won't put you to sleep nearly as fast as will the official documentation.
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