Announcing Diode Agent: a new, lightweight network device discovery tool to streamline NetBox data entry with Diode

As a team, NetBox Labs has been laser focused on making it easier to build and manage complex networks. Device and network discovery is one challenge we hear about time and time again, and these were hot topics with teams we talked to at Cisco Live US and AutoCon 1. After announcing strategic partnerships with network discovery vendors earlier this year, we are pleased to bring a new device discovery option to the community today.

Diode is the exciting new NetBox ingestion service that vastly simplifies getting data about your network and infrastructure into NetBox’s structured data model. While Diode isn’t yet generally available, the response to Diode during its private preview program has been stupendous. Getting data into NetBox more easily is a common theme and Diode does a lot of heavy lifting to help! Today, we’re announcing a new device discovery tool, Diode Agent, that’s built atop the Diode SDK. Diode Agent makes it even simpler to load your device data into NetBox because it speaks directly to your network devices, gathering device and configuration information and loading it into NetBox through Diode’s ingestion service.

Onboarding Devices into NetBox

NetBox users often tell us that onboarding network inventory into NetBox is a big challenge, which Diode is directly designed to address. The Diode SDK makes it dead simple to use Python to transform existing data sources and send them to NetBox. These sources of data can include all the usual suspects, like those spreadsheets you’ve been meaning to retire, device config backups and even data from our existing network discovery partners, Forward Networks, IPFabric, SlurpIT and SuzieQ.

Our network discovery partners offer full-fledged, “drop me in a desert with just a toothbrush and I’ll somehow discover your whole network” technology that many in the NetBox community already love and trust, so how does Diode Agent fit in?

Hyper Focused Beginnings

Diode Agent’s initial focus is Day 1 onboarding of device information into NetBox. It’s a lightweight new device discovery tool that streamlines data entry into NetBox using Diode and accelerates the implementation of a network source of truth by retrieving details from devices that you’re already aware of.

Given the management IPs and credentials for a list of devices in your network, Diode Agent will attempt to discover the following device details:

  • Device
    • Hostname
    • Device Type
    • Platform
    • Serial Number
  • Interfaces
    • Name
    • Status
    • MTU
    • MAC Address
    • Speed
    • Description
    • IPs
  device = Device(
      model=device_info.get("model"), manufacturer=device_info.get("vendor")
      name=device_info.get("driver"), manufacturer=device_info.get("vendor")
  return device

Diode Agent uses the Diode Python SDK to push data to NetBox

Diode Agent uses NAPALM drivers for interacting with devices under the hood. This includes out-of-the-box support for Arista EOS, Cisco IOS, Cisco IOS-XR, Cisco NX-OS, and Juniper JunOS. Many in the NetBox community will already be familiar with NAPALM as it used to be a core integration feature in NetBox before being moved into a plugin in NetBox 3.5.0. In addition to the standard NAPALM drivers, Diode Agent can also work with NAPALM’s collection of community drivers which extend support to additional vendors like Nokia, Fortinet, VyOS, and many more.

Where should Diode Agent go next?

Diode Agent is a great lightweight way to get your devices, interfaces and device IPs into NetBox quickly. All you need is a simple inventory of management IPs and credentials to get started. Diode Agent is available today to be used by participants of the ongoing Diode private preview program. And it’s also available as open source today for the entire community to review, as both an example of how to leverage the Diode SDK, and for those who want to take a deeper look or contribute ideas. 

When Diode is made generally available later this summer, you’ll be able to take full advantage of Diode Agent to streamline your device discovery. Over time we will extend the list of compatible device vendors, and also extend coverage of the NetBox object types that Diode Agent can help to discover. We’re also working on plans to make it easier to kick off discovery runs by empowering Diode Agent to automatically generate an inventory for discovery.

As with all our product releases, we want your feedback to guide our roadmap. Where should we take Diode Agent next? Let us know at

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