Posted on Apr 3, 2024 by

What Is MD-CLI?

The Model-Driven Command Line Interface (MD-CLI) is a CLI that utilizes YANG as its foundation, designed specifically for machine-machine and human-machine interaction. Contrasting with the conventional CLI, the MD-CLI offers straightforward configuration logic, facilitates machine parsing, and boasts a minimal learning curve.

What Are CLI and MD-CLI?

CLI: A Tool for Interaction with Devices

The command line interface (CLI) is a tool for device interaction, used in various scenarios such as service provisioning and routine maintenance. It provides users with a set of commands to communicate with devices, resembling a text-based counterpart to the graphical user interface (GUI). Two common types of CLIs are the traditional CLI and MD-CLI.


The MD-CLI is a YANG-based CLI that leverages YANG models for data modeling. It allows users to access and navigate YANG model nodes, enabling automatic generation of corresponding MD-CLI command lines. This integration enhances efficiency and consistency in device management.

What Are the Advantages of MD-CLI over Traditional CLI?

Advantage 1: Streamlined Configuration Logic

In the traditional CLI, command execution involves checking dependencies between command operation objects. Users must strictly adhere to the sequence of dependencies during configuration.

With MD-CLI, dependency verification occurs during the commit phase rather than the configuration phase. Users only need to ensure that configuration dependencies meet requirements when committing configurations. During the editing phase, users are not bound by strict dependency logic between services.

Advantage 2: Reduced Learning Cost

In network management scenarios, users typically learn the traditional CLI for single-point device configuration. They often consult manuals to check for differences in functions and command formats across vendors and devices. As network scale grows, users also need to learn the YANG model for automated management. This dual learning requirement extends the learning process and increases the overall cost.

By adopting MD-CLI, users focus solely on different YANG structures of devices. After understanding the YANG model structure and basic MD-CLI commands, users can export MD-CLI operation commands for device configuration. For automated management, MD-CLI enables users to compile scripts for batch management of multiple devices. Eliminating the need to learn traditional CLI formats or distinguish vendor-specific command differences, MD-CLI significantly reduces the learning burden.

Advantage 3: Enhanced Machine Parsing Capability

The traditional CLI prioritizes human-machine interaction and lacks a unified syntax convention across vendors. Command output varies greatly, with unstructured data consisting of tables or character strings. Parsing such output by machines requires adapting to each command's output format, which increases management costs and introduces complexity that can impact application stability.

MD-CLI addresses these challenges by providing command output in JSON format, adhering to YANG's definition and related standards. This structured information facilitates unified parsing and processing by automation tools. Leveraging the YANG model at the content layer overcomes the limitations of traditional CLI's human-machine interface. An example of MD-CLI command output displaying configuration in the current view's candidate database illustrates this advantage.

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