Blog Posts in June 2024

netlab 1.8.3: RIPv2, BGP Route Servers

During the ITNOG8 netlab presentation, I jokingly said something along the lines “all that’s missing is RIPv2 and Babel.” That’s no longer true; someone asked me how hard it would be to add RIPv2 to netlab, and I said, “give me a few days 😎”

Other new features in netlab release 1.8.3 include support for BGP route servers (and route server clients), BGP Link Bandwidth community, and OSPF/BGP validation plugins for Arista EOS, Cumulus Linux and FRR. We also fixed the installation scripts to work with Ubuntu 24.04 and Debian Bookworm.

For more details, read the release notes.

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The Mythical Use Cases: Traffic Engineering for Data Center Backups

Vendor product managers love discussing mythical use cases to warrant complex functionality in their gear. Long-distance VM mobility was one of those (using it for disaster avoidance was Mission Impossible under any real-world assumptions), and high-volume network-based backups seems to be another. Here’s what someone had to say about that particular unicorn in a LinkedIn comment when discussing whether we need traffic engineering in a data center fabric.

When you’re dealing with a large cluster on a fabric, you will see things like inband backup. The most common one I’ve seen is VEEAM. Those inband backups can flood a single link, and no amount of link scheduling really solves that; depending on the source, they can saturate 100G. There are a couple of solutions; IPv6 or eBGP SID has been used to avoid these links or schedule avoidance for other traffic.

It is true that (A) in-band backups can be bandwidth intensive and that (B) well-written applications can saturate 100G server links. However:

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Worth Exploring: Infrahub by Opsmill

A year or two after Damien Garros told me that “he moved to France and is working on something new” we can admire the results: Infrahub, a version-control-based system that includes a data store and a repository of all source code you use in your network automation environment. Or, straight from the GitHub repository,

A central hub to manage the data, templates and playbooks that powers your infrastructure by combining the version control and branch management capabilities of Git with the flexible data model and UI of a graph database.

I’ve seen an early demo, and it looks highly promising and absolutely worth exploring. Have fun ;)

Fun fact: the OpsMill team includes two guest speakers in the automation course and a netlab contributor.
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