Too Many Details Can Hurt You (or Why You Need the Fundamentals First)

The IPv6 Security Summit at the Troopers conference always has a few awesome IPv6 presentations (many people claim Troopers is the conference to attend if you’re serious about IPv6), and this year was no exception. A day after the MLD bashing, Enno Rey delivered a great in-depth presentation on DHCPv6 features and shortcomings.

It seems the DHCPv6 intricacies presented in that talk were too much for some of the attendees – that afternoon I accidentally stumbled upon a visibly distressed gentleman who started our chat with “How could anyone expect us to deploy IPv6 in a production environment?

Common Misconceptions about SDN

Andrew Lerner, my favorite Gartner blogger, published a great article documenting common SDN misconceptions. Not surprisingly, they're pretty much in line with what I've been ranting about for the last few years (including Whitebox Switching Is not SDN). Enjoy!

Microsegmentation in VMware NSX on Software Gone Wild

VM NIC firewalls have been around for years (they’re also the reason I got my first invitation to the awesome Troopers conference), but it sounds so much better when you call them Microsegmentation (not the one I talked about @ Troopers this year).

Marketing gimmicks aside, VMware NSX includes an interesting in-kernel stateful firewall, and Brad Hedlund was kind enough to explain the intricacies of that feature in Episode 27 of Software Gone Wild

MLD Considered Harmful

Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) protocol is well hidden deep in the bowels of IPv6 protocol stack and most of us tend to gloss over it when we discuss IPv6 neighbor discovery process… until MLD raises its ugly head to bite an unsuspecting network administrator.

The problems with MLD are not new (and I wrote exhaustively about them a while ago), but it’s always nice to see other people raise awareness of broken IPv6 features like Enno Rey and his security team did during the IPv6 Security Summit (part of Troopers 15 conference).

Availability Zones in Overlay Virtual Networks

Amazon Web Services was (AFAIK) one of the first products that introduced availability zones – islands of infrastructure that are isolated enough from each other to stop the propagation of failure or outage across their boundaries.

Not surprisingly, multiple availability zones shouldn’t rely on a central controller (as Amazon found out a few years back), and there are only few SDN controller vendors that are flexible enough to meet this requirement. For more details, watch the free Availability Zones video on my web site (part of Scaling Overlay Virtual Networking webinar).

Whitebox Switching: Follow the R&D Budget

A few weeks ago HP announced that they’d start selling branded whitebox (brite-box) switches, and as expected the industry press was immediately full of opinions. As always, it makes sense to follow the money (or, in this case, the R&D budget) to understand what’s going on behind the scenes.

You must understand the fundamentals to be successful

I was speaking with a participant of the recent SDN event in Zurich after the presentations, and he made an interesting comment: whenever he experienced serious troubleshooting problems in his career, it was due to lack of understanding of networking fundamentals.

Networking Field Day 9 Wrap-up on Software Gone Wild

A few days after the Networking Field Day 9 event Nick Buraglio organized a virtual meetup with Brandon Carroll, Brandon Mangold, Bob McCouch and myself, and we discussed the presentations from NEC, Cumulus, Cisco and Brocade. Nick recorded the conversation and so Episode 26 of Software Gone Wild was born.

IPv6 Cheat Sheet

Just in case you're new to IPv6 and struggle with the essentials: here's an excellent cheat sheet by Jeff Carrell… and don't forget to check the amazing Cheat Sheet Library @

Presentation: Automating Network Security

The fantastic Troopers 15 conference is in full swing… and I’m done with the presentations ;) The last talk I had during the conference focused on automating network security. The slides are already online; I’ll add the link to the recording when they upload the videos.

Evaluation Guide: Encryptors for Metro and Carrier Ethernet

Christoph Jaggi, the author of Metro Ethernet and Carrier Ethernet Encryption Market Overview published an awesome follow-up document: an evaluation guide that lists most of the gotchas one has to be aware of when considering encryption gear, from deployment scenarios, network overhead and key exchange details to operational considerations. If you have to deal with any aspect of network encryption, this document is a must-read.

We Have to Get Away from the Box-Focused Mentality

I had a great SDN-focused conversation with Terry Slattery during last Interop New York, ago and of course we came to the argument that the CLI is the root of all evil, which started my usual rant. Guess what: not surprisingly that wasn’t what Terry had in mind. He was using the “CLI mentality is bad” as a synonym for “we’re used to configuring our networks one box at a time” (so we should really be talking about box-focused mentality).

TCP Optimization with Juho Snellman on Software Gone Wild

Achieving 40 Gbps of forwarding performance on an Intel server is no longer a big deal - Juniper got to 160 Gbps with finely tuned architecture - but can you do real-time optimization of a million concurrent TCP sessions on that same box at 20 Gbps?

Juho Snellman from Teclo Networks explained how they got there in Episode 25 of Software Gone Wild… and you’ll learn a ton of things about radio networks on the way.

Enjoy the show!

Reducing BGP SNMP Traps in DMVPN Networks

One of my readers decided to build a large DMVPN network with BGP as the WAN routing protocol (good choice!) and configured BGP SNMP traps with snmp-server enable traps bgp command on the hub router to detect spoke router failures. Turns out that’s not exactly a good idea.

Video: Routing over VXLAN

Even though I wrote about the challenges of routing from VXLAN VNI to VLAN segment on a certain popular chipset a while ago, many engineers obviously still find the topic highly confusing (no surprise there, it is).

Maybe a video is worth a thousand words ;) – I published the part of recent VXLAN webinar where I described the issue in as many details as I could.

Whitebox Switching and Open-Source Networking Are not SDN

One of my readers left this comment to the Four Paths to SDN blog post:

You didn't mention Cumulus. SDN protocols become much less important when you have an open Linux switch platform. You can compile and install your own management daemon and implement whatever protocol best suits the task (and blend local and remote control).

Here’s my usual response to this line of thinking: