Building network automation solutions

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Must Watch: How NOT to Measure Latency

A while ago someone pointed me to an interesting talk explaining why 99th percentile represents a pretty good approximation of user-experienced latency on a typical web page (way longer version: Understanding Latency and Application Responsiveness, also How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Misery)

If you prefer reading instead of watching videos, there’s also everything you know about latency is wrong.

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OMG, Not Again: New Mobile Internet Protocol Vulnerabilities

Every now and then a security researcher “discovers” a tunneling protocol designed to be used over a protected transport core and “declares it vulnerable” assuming the attacker can connect to that transport network… even though the protocol was purposefully designed that way, and everyone with a bit of clue knew the whole story years ago (and/or it’s even documented in the RFC).

It was MPLS decades ago, then VXLAN a few years ago, and now someone “found” a “high-impact vulnerability” in GPRS Tunnel Protocol. Recommended countermeasures: whitelist-based IP filtering. Yeah, it’s amazing what a wonderful new tool they found.

Unfortunately (for the rest of us), common sense never generated headlines on Hacker News (or anywhere else).

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Worth Reading: Working with TC on Linux systems

Here’s one of the weirdest ideas I’ve found recently: patch together two dangling ends of virtual Ethernet cables with PBR.

To be fair, Jon Langemak used that example to demonstrate how powerful tc could be. It’s always fun to see a totally-unexpected aspect of Linux networking… even though it looks like the creators of those tools believed in Perl mentality of creating a gazillion variants of line noise to get the job done.

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Summer Break 2020

Almost 30 webinars, an online course, and over 140 blog posts later it’s time for another summer break.

While we’ll do our best to reply to support and sales requests (it might take us a bit longer than usual), don’t expect anything deeply technical for the next two months… but of course you can still watch over 280 hours of existing content, listen to over 100 podcast episodes, or read over 3500 blog posts.

We’ll be back with tons of new content in early September.

In the meantime, automate everything, get away from work, turn off the Internet, and enjoy a few days in your favorite spot with your loved ones!

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BGP Navel Gazing on Software Gone Wild

This podcast introduction was written by Nick Buraglio, the host of today’s podcast.

As we all know, BGP runs the networked world. It is a protocol that has existed and operated in the vast expanse of the internet in one form or another since early 1990s, and despite the fact that it has been extended, enhanced, twisted, and warped into performing a myriad of tasks that one would never have imagined in the silver era of internetworking, it has remained largely unchanged in its operational core.

The world as we know it would never exist without BGP, and because of the fact that it is such a widely deployed protocol with such a solid track record of “just working”, the transition to a better security model surrounding it has been extraordinarily slow to modernize.

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Adapting Network Design to Support Automation

This blog post was initially sent to the subscribers of my SDN and Network Automation mailing list. Subscribe here.

Adam left a thoughtful comment addressing numerous interesting aspects of network design in the era of booming automation hype on my How Should Network Architects Deal with Network Automation blog post. He started with:

A question I keep tasking myself with addressing but never finding the best answer, is how appropriate is it to reform a network environment into a flattened design such as spine-and-leaf, if that reform is with the sole intent and purpose to enable automation?

A few basic facts first:

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Security Aspects of Using Smart NICs

After I published the blog post describing how infrastructure cloud provides (example: AWS) might use smart Network Interface Cards (NICs) as the sweet spot to implement overlay virtual networking, my friend Christoph Jaggi sent me links to two interesting presentations:

Both presentations describe how you can take over a smart NIC with a properly crafted packet, and even bypass CPU on a firewall using smart NICs.

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