UniConfig components

The figure below shows the high level architecture of the UniConfig, its components and their dependencies.


UniConfig components use a layered design where the functionality of the upper layers depends on the functionality of the layer underneath. Each layer thus provides a higher level of abstraction from the network elements.

Applications are allowed to utilize any of the layers in the system.

There are 3 main layers represented by these components (from top to bottom):

  • Uniconfig layer (Uniconfig Node Manager with datastore)

  • Unified layer (Unified mountpoint with translation units)

  • Southbound layer (NETCONF mountpoint, CLI mountpoint with translation units)

The datastore is a component in ODL which stores structured data described by YANG models. There are two separate datastores:

  • Config datastore (CONF DS) - contains intended state (intended device configuration). External (outside ODL) applications have read/write access.

  • Operational datastore (OPER DS) - contains actual state (actual device configuration). External applications have read only access.

Mountpoints in ODL represent a communication interface with an external system. Mountpoints are usually registered under a node in a topology.

Components are described from bottom to top.

CLI Mountpoint

The CLI mountpoint provides a management API for a network device over the CLI. OpenConfig models are used for structured data describing the device configuration and state.

The CLI mountpoint uses CLI translation units for translation between OpenConfig data and CLI data.

The CLI mountpoint API supports device transactions and automatic rollback functionality (in case an error occurs during device configuration in device transaction). CLI mountpoint is registered under a node in cli topology.

Each CLI mountpoint always includes a generic CLI translation unit which provides an RPC for sending raw CLI commands and returning raw CLI output.

CLI Translation Units

A CLI translation unit defines a mapping between YANG models and the CLI.

It is used by the FRINX UniConfig to perform translation between device specific CLI data and standardized structured (OpenConfig YANG) data.

The translation unit can read and write configuration or read the state of a device. It uses the CLI over SSH or telnet for communication with the CLI device.

Junos and IOS-XR translation units are just simplified examples. The CLI translation unit is usually created for a combination of device type and OpenConfig main section (folder) e.g. xr-6-network-instance, xr-6-ospf, ios-local-routing, ios-ospf, etc.

NETCONF Mountpoint

The NETCONF mountpoint provides a management API for the network device over a NETCONF session. Data are usually described by a set of vendor specific YANG models. The NETCONF mountpoint provides device transactions (if supported by the device). Automatic rollback may also be supported. The NETCONF mountpoint is registered under a node in topology-netconf topology.

Unified Mountpoint

The Unified mountpoint unifies the API for various southbound protocols like NETCONF and CLI. The API is described using OpenConfig YANG models and uses translation units to translate between OpenConfig data and southbound mountpoint data. The Unified mountpoint can also expose the same API as is provided by southbound mountpoint in case of UniConfig-native. Unified mountpoint is registered under a node in unified topology.

Direct Translation Unit

This translation unit does not translate data from one format to another because northbound data and southbound data are described by the same YANG models. It can simply pass data to the southbound layer.

NETCONF Translation Unit

The NETCONF translation unit translates OpenConfig data to data described by device specific YANG models. It uses the NETCONF mountpoint for communication with a NETCONF device, and also implements device transaction with automatic rollback if it is not provided by the device.

The Junos NETCONF translation unit is a simplified example. The NETCONF translation unit is usually created for a combination of device type and OpenConfig main section (folder). An example is xr-6-network-instance, xr-6-ospf, ios-local-routing, ios-ospf, etc.

UniConfig Node Manager

The responsibility of this component is to maintain configuration on devices based on intended configuration. Each device and its configuration is represented as a node in the uniconfig topology and the configuration of this node is described by using OpenConfig YANG models. The Northbound API of Uniconfig Manager (UNM) is RPC driven and provides functionality for commit with automatic rollback and synchronization of configuration from the network.

Snapshot Manager

The snapshot manager creates and deletes uniconfig snapshots of actual uniconfig topology. Multiple snapshots can be created in the system.

Snapshots may be used for manual rollback. Manual rollback enables simple reconfiguration of the entire network using one of the previous states saved in snapshots. That means that uniconfig nodes in config datastore are replaced with uniconfig snapshot nodes.

Dry-run Manager

The manager provides functionality showing CLI commands or NETCONF messages which would be sent to network element. This manager uses Uniconfig Node Manager for diff calculation between actual and intended state and cli-dryrun mountpoint for application of changes.


UniConfig Native allows to communicate with network devices using their native YANG data models (e.g.: Cisco YANG models, JunOS YANG models, Calix YANG models, CableLabs YANG models, SROS YANG models, …) to manage configurations. With UniConfig Native is possible to mount devices through NETCONF, sync configurations in their native format and manage those devices without the need to develop translation units.