Connecting to an embedded device Using paramiko and pyyaml #1

Command execution is one of the important part to be automated in any devices like Switches, Routers or any other embedded device. Any specific task to be done in such embedded devices may result in running a set of commands. This may be a basic configuration or a specific feature configuration done in the device. It is best to automate this as it can reduce the effort of the tester.

Lets see a common way of doing this. I am going to take the help of paramiko and pyyaml to do the same.

So we are going to see this in three sections. They are,

  1. Section which talks about connecting to the embedded device with paramiko
  2. Section which talks about the parsing the pyyaml
  3. Section which talks in integrating both to get results

Lets see the first part here.

paramiko enables us to connect to the device through a secure SSH channel. The module enables us to create a SSH Channel, SSH client, Transport etc. To learn more about the module please visit

They have explained the API well in the above link.

Here we are going to see just a way to connect to device using this package.

So first of all we are deciding to create a class for the same. This is because we dont want to make it functional and call the device each and every time for each command to be executed. So how are we going to use paramiko to connect to a device?

First start with the import of the module

import paramiko

paramiko has a class with which we can connect to a particular host and port with a username and password provided for authentication. This class is SSHClient. We need to create an object and use connect() method to connect to the device.

dev_client = paramiko.SSHClient()
dev_client.connect("", "user1", "password1")

Now dev_client has connected to the device with hostname “” authenticated with credentials “user1” and “password1”. Now we can use the client to execute commands in the device and return the output. This can be done using the exec_command() method in SSHClient Class.

rc, output, error = dev_client.exec_command("command_to_execute")

This method returns the stdin, stdout and stderr as 3 tuple. We can grep the rc for command execution status. If pass we can check the output variable for output and if fail check the error variable for error.

We can even create an interactive shell session for executing string of commands using it. This is done by the method invoke_Shell(). It opens a new channel connected to a pseudo terminal.

Now lets see how to put things together in a class.

__author__ = 'Krishnan'

import paramiko
from paramiko.ssh_exception import SSHException

class DevConnectException(Exception):

class DevConnect(object):
    This Class is uses Paramiko module to create a SSH Connection to
    the Device under test named. The DUT can be contacted through
    commands remotely from a server by opening a secure shell connection
    through this class
    def __init__(self, host, uname, passwd):
        Object initialisation
        :param host: Hostname of the DUT
        :param uname: Username of the DUT
        :param passwd: Password of the DUT
        """ = host
        self.uname = uname
        self.passwd = passwd
        self.devclient = paramiko.SSHClient()
        self.devclient.connect(host, uname, passwd)

    def createChannel(self):
        This method will be used to create a interactive connection
        between the Device under test and server for sending commands
        through SSH Connection.
        :return: The new SSH Channel created
            self.devchannel = self.devclient.invoke_shell()
        except SSHException, err:
            raise DevConnectException("Unable to invoke the SSH Command shell")

    def runCommand(self, cmd):
        This Method will be used to run a command in the Device under test
        and return the output produced. If the command fails then the
        RtConnectException is raised.
        :param cmd: The command to be executed
        :return: tuple of command RC, command output and command error if any
            stdin, stdout, stderr = self.devclient.exec_command(cmd)
            return (stdin, stdout, stderr)
        except SSHException, err:
            raise DevConnectException("Execution of command '%s' failed" % cmd)

    def closeConnection(self):
        This method will close the created SSH Connection
        :return: None