3.1.2. Key features

The key features of the CLI are:

Command line

The CLI comes with traditional features, such as completion, history and contextual help. It relies on a YANG data model that users browse as they would browse a file system, for example, / jumps to the root of the configuration, .. moves one level up. Relative and absolute paths can be used to refer to configuration data, making browsing very efficient.


The management system embeds a NETCONF server which can be configured to accept external connections from a NETCONF client. It supports all the required protocol operations to read and write the configuration: <get>, <get-config>, <edit-config>, <copy-config> and so on.

The CLI is actually a client that connects locally to this NETCONF server.

Clear separation between configuration and state data

At the root of the data model, there are two trees: config and state. The items in config represent the target configuration, while the ones in state represent the actual state of the system. As a result, state generally includes the items in config, plus additional runtime information, such as the statistics, or the IP addresses obtained through DHCP for example.

Multiple logical VRF

The management system splits the device into VRFs. Each VRF has its own set of IP addresses, routing tables, firewall rules, and other network-related resources. The configuration of most networking services occurs inside a VRF context. The default VRF is called main.

VRFs rely on the Linux network namespaces feature (netns). This kind of container may be used in future releases to define limits in term of CPU resource or memory.

Compatibility with Day-1 configuration

Cloud-init is embedded in the vRouter for Day-1 configuration, that is, the initial configuration of the vRouter to enable basic console access. By default, cloud-init starts a DHCP client on the first interface and enables a SSH server on it. It can be customized to configure a specific interface, use a static IP address, create users, provision SSH keys, etc.

The management engine is compatible with cloud-init Day-1 configuration, as it does not touch the network services (SSH, DNS, DHCP, etc.) as long as there is no configuration statement for them. When a configuration statement is present, it takes precedence over any existing configuration coming from cloud-init. Finally, a known service like SSH will be recognized and will not be restarted if it is not necessary.