The last Software Gone Wild podcast recorded in 2019 focused on advances in Linux networking - in particular on interesting stuff presented at NetDev 0x13 conference in Prague. The guests (in alphabetical first name order) Jamal Hadi Salim, Shrijeet Mukherjee, Sowmini Varadhan, and Tom Herbert shared their favorite topics, and commented on the future of Linux networking.
No, we were not talking about IP fabrics in general - IP Fabric is a network management software (oops, network assurance platform) Gian Paolo discovered a while ago and thoroughly tested in the meantime.
He was kind enough to share what he found in Episode 107 of Software Gone Wild, and as Chris Young succinctly summarized: “it’s really sad what we still get excited about something 30 years after it was first promised”… but maybe this time it really works ;)
Everyone is talking about FRRouting suite these days, while hidden somewhere in the background OpenBGPD has been making continuous progress for years. Interestingly, OpenBGPD project was started for the same reason FRR was forked - developers were unhappy with Zebra or Quagga routing suite and decided to fix it.
Sick-and-tired of intent-based GUIs that are barely better than CiscoWorks on steroids? How about asking Siri-like assistant queries about network state in somewhat-limited English and getting replies back in full-blown sentences?
Imagine you would have a system that would read network device configurations, figure out how those devices might be connected, reverse-engineer the network topology, and be able to answer questions like “what would happen if this link fails” or “do I have fully-redundant network” or even “how will this configuration change impact my network”. Welcome to Batfish.
When I was still at university the fourth-generation programming languages were all the hype, prompting us to make jokes along the lines “fifth generation will implement do what I don’t know how”
Every time a new simple programming language is invented, we go through the same predictable cycle:
- Tons of hype;
- Unbounded enthusiasm when people who never worked in target environment realize they could get something simple done in a short time;
- Ever-worsening headaches as the enthusiasts try to get a real job done with the shiny new tool;
- A more powerful language is invented to replace the old one.
A few years ago we experienced the same cycle when OpenFlow was the-one-tool-to-bind-them all.
Remember how Nick Buraglio tried to use OpenDaylight to build a small part of SuperComputing conference network… and ended up with a programmable patch panel?
We started with the usual “what problem were you trying to solve” and quickly started teasing apart the architecture and got geekily focused on interesting things like:
I mentioned Multipath TCP (MP-TCP) numerous times in the past but I never managed to get beyond “this is the thing that might solve some TCP multihoming challenges” We fixed this omission in Episode 100 of Software Gone Wild with Christoph Paasch (software engineer @ Apple) and Mat Martineau from Open Source Technology Center @ Intel.
A while ago we did a podcast with Luke Gorrie in which he explained why he’d love to have simple, dumb, and easy-to-work-with Ethernet NICs. What about the other side of the coin – smart NICs with their own CPU, RAM and operating system? Do they make sense, when and why would you use them, and how would you integrate them with Linux kernel?
In Episode 98 we focused on another interesting application developed by Max Rottenkolber: high-speed VPN gateway using IPsec on top of Snabb Switch (details). Enjoy!
In summer 2018 Juniper started talking about another forward-looking concept: Network Reliability Engineering. We wanted to find out whether that’s another unicorn driving DeLorean with flux capacitors or something more tangible, so we invited Matt Oswalt, the author of Network Reliability Engineer’s Manifesto to talk about it in Episode 97 of Software Gone Wild.
We love to claim that we’re engineers and yet sometimes we have no clue how technology we use really works and what its limitations are… quite often because understanding those limitations would involve diving pretty deep into math (graphs, queuing and system reliability quickly come to mind).
After a series of forward-looking podcast episodes we returned to real life and talked with Carl Buchmann about his network automation journey, from managing upgrades with Excel and using Excel as the configuration consistency tool to network-infrastructure-as-code concepts he described in a guest blog post in February 2018
In recent years Linux networking started evolving at an amazing pace. You can hear about all the cool new stuff at netdev conference… or listen to Episode 94 of Software Gone Wild to get a CliffsNotes version.
Roopa Prabhu, Jamal Hadi Salim, and Tom Herbert joined Nick Buraglio and myself and we couldn’t help diverging into the beauties of tc, and the intricacies of low-latency forwarding before coming back on track and started discussing cool stuff like: