Mar 25

Output manipulation in Cisco IOS

Posted by Alex Juncu

One of the things that make Command Line Interfaces, like Bash, very efficient for administration is the output manipulation with piping and redirecting. Cisco IOS has most of the Bash equivalent modifiers, and administrators that know how to work with them can do things much more faster… this can make the difference in a lab exam or in the real world. Most show commands support this features and depending on the IOS, you have more or less features.

The usual “show run” command prints a large output, from which you need only a few lines. You can only scroll down with space and enter (the the Linux more command). If you are searching for a keyword in the running config, you can go to the line that contains the string using the slash key, like in vim or more or less in Linux. So, “/KEYWORD” after running the show command, while scrolling, will take you to the wanted line.

If you want from the output just some lines, you can filter them, just like piping the output to grep in Linux. You can use the ” | ” after the show command to see how you can filter (be careful, there is a space before and after the |). To print just the lines that have a keywork, use “ | include KEYWORD“, and to print all lines except the ones what have the keyword, use “ | exclude KEYWORD“. If you want to print out all output starting with a line that contains a keyword until the end of the lines, use “ | begin KEYWORD“.

Taking advantage of the hierarchical structure of the running config, you can print out just a section of the output. For example, “show run | section   router ospf 1” will list the configuration for the OSPF process 1 and “show run | section interface Serial0/0” will print the configuration for the specified interface. Be careful, this is case sensitive and you need to mach the case of the line in the running config (”Serial 0/0″ will work, “serial 0/0″ won’t).

Redirection into a file is also possible. “show run | redirect flash:run” will put the contents of the running config into a file called ‘run’ in flash memory. This is similar to the “>” operand in Bash. Using redirect, the content of the target file will be replaced. You can append to the file (like “>>” in Bash) with “ | append FILE“.  “ | tee FILE” works like redirect, but it also prints the output to the screen.

Regular expressions are also supported. If you like to print from the routing table, the routes received from RIP, you can filter with “show ip route | include R” and the routes from EIGRP with  “show ip route | include D”. But you can do this in one line, filtering with both conditions, with “show ip route | include [RD]“.

Slightly off topic, but good to know, is how to stop output. For example, traceroute to an unreachable location, will try 30 hops before it stops, and this might take a long time. To break the action hit the key combination “Ctrl+Shift+6“.