Mnet - Testable network automation and reporting


    # sample script to report Loopback0 ip on cisco devices
    #   demonstrates typical use of all major Mnet modules
    #   refer to various Mnet modules' perldoc for complete api info
    #   use --help to list all options, or --help <option>
    #   use --device <address> to connect to device with logging
    #   use --batch <file.batch> to process multiple --device lines
    #   add --report csv:<file.csv> to create an output csv report
    #   add --record <file.test> to create replayable test file
    #   use --test --replay <file.test> to show script changes

    # load modules
    use warnings;
    use strict;
    use Mnet::Batch;
    use Mnet::Expect::Cli::Ios;
    use Mnet::Log qw(DEBUG INFO WARN FATAL);
    use Mnet::Opts::Cli;
    use Mnet::Report::Table;
    use Mnet::Stanza;
    use Mnet::Test;

    # define --device, --username, --password, and --report cli options
    #   record, default, redact, and help option attributes are shown
    #   use the Mnet environment variable to securely set --password
    Mnet::Opts::Cli::define({ getopt => "device=s", record => 1 });
    Mnet::Opts::Cli::define({ getopt => "username=s", default => $ENV{USER} });
    Mnet::Opts::Cli::define({ getopt => "password=s", redact  => 1 });
    Mnet::Opts::Cli::define({ getopt => "report=s",
        help_tip    => "specify report output, like 'csv:<file>'",
        help_text   => "refer to Mnet::Report::Table for more info",

    # parse command line and Mnet environment variable options
    my $cli = Mnet::Opts::Cli->new;

    # define output --report table, will include first of any errors
    #   use --report cli opt to output data as csv, json, sql, etc
    my $report = Mnet::Report::Table->new({
        columns => [
            device  => "string",
            error   => "error",
            ip      => "string",
        output  => $cli->report,

    # read command line options, fork children if in --batch mode
    #   process one device or ten thousand devices with the same script
    #   exit --batch parent process when finished forking children
    $cli = Mnet::Batch::fork($cli);
    exit if not $cli;

    # ensure that errors are reported if script aborts before finishing
    $report->row_on_error({ device => $cli->device });

    # use log function and set up log object for device
    FATAL("missing --device") if not $cli->device;
    my $log = Mnet::Log->new({ log_id => $cli->device });
    $log->info("processing device");

    # create an expect ssh session to --device
    #   log login authentication prompts as info, instead of default debug
    #   password_in set to prompt for password if --password opt not set
    #   ssh host/key checks can be skipped, refer to Mnet::Expect::Cli
    my $ssh = Mnet::Expect::Cli::Ios->new({
        spawn       => [ "ssh", "$cli->{username}\@$cli->{device}" ],
        log_id      => $cli->{device},
        log_login   => "info",
        password    => $cli->password,
        password_in => 1,

    # retrieve config from ssh command, warn otherwise
    my $config = $ssh->command("show running-config");
    WARN("unable to read config") if not $config;

    # parse interface loopack0 stanza from config
    my $loop = Mnet::Stanza::parse($config, qr/^interface loopback0$/i);

    # parse primary ip address from loopback0 config stanza
    my $ip = undef;
    $ip = $1 if $loop and $loop =~ /^ ip address (\S+) \S+$/m;

    # report on parsed loopback0 interface ip addres
    $report->row({ device => $cli->device, ip => $ip });

    # finished


The Mnet modules are for perl programmers who want to create testable network automation and/or reporting scripts as simply as possible.

The main features are:

  • Record and replay connected command line sessions, speeding development and allowing for regression testing of complex automation scripts.

  • Reliable automation of cisco IOS and other command line sessions, including reliable authentication and command prompt handling.

  • Automation scripts can run in batch mode to concurrently process a list of devices, using a simple command line argument and a device list file.

  • Facilitate easy log, debug, alert and error output from automation scripts, outputs can be redirected to per-device files

  • Flexible config settings via command line, environment variable, and/or batch device list files.

  • Report data from scripts can be output as plain .csv files, json, or sql.

Most of the Mnet sub-modules can be used independently of each other, unless otherwise noted.

Refer to the individual modules listed in the SEE ALSO section below for more detail.


The Mnet perl modules should work in just about any unix perl environment.

The latest release can be installed from CPAN

    cpan install Mnet

Or downloaded and installed from

    tar -xzf Mnet-X.y.tar.gz
    cd Mnet-X.y
    perl Makefile.PL  # INSTALL_BASE=/specify/path
    make test
    make install

Check your PERL5LIB environment variable if INSTALL_BASE was used, or if you copied the lib/Mnet directory somewhere instead of using Makefile.PL. Refer to ExtUtils::MakeMaker for more information


The Mnet perl distribution has been created and is maintained by Mike Menza. Mike can be reached via email at <>.


Copyright 2006, 2013-2019 Michael J. Menza Jr.

Mnet is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see