Category: Software Gone Wild
Network automation and orchestration is a great idea… but how do you verify that what your automation script wants to do won’t break the network? In Episode 78 of Software Gone Wild we discussed the intricacies of testing network automation solutions with Kristian Larsson (developer of Terastream orchestration softare) and David Barroso of the NAPALM and SDN Internet Router fame.
Ansible, Puppet, Chef, Git, GitLab… the list of tools you can supposedly use to automate your network is endless, and there’s a new kid on the block every few months.
In Episode 77 of Software Gone Wild we explored Salt, its internal architecture, and how you can use it with Mircea Ulinic, a happy Salt user/contributor working for Cloudflare, and Seth House, developer @ SaltStack, the company behind Salt.
During Cisco Live Europe 2017 (where I got thanks to the Tech Field Day crew kindly inviting me) I had a nice chat with Peter Jones, principal engineer @ Cisco Systems. We started with a totally tangential discussion on why startups fail, and quickly got back to flexible hardware and why one would want to have it in a switch.
During Cisco Live Europe (huge thanks to Tech Field Day crew for bringing me there) I had a chat with Jeff McLaughlin about NETCONF support on Cisco IOS XE, in particular on the campus switches.
We started with the obvious question “why would someone want to have NETCONF on a campus switch”, continued with “why would you use NETCONF and not REST API”, and diverted into “who loves regular expressions”. Teasing aside, we discussed:
In autumn 2016 I embarked on a quest to figure out how TCP really works and whether big buffers in data center switches make sense. One of the obvious stops on this journey was a chat with Thomas Graf, Linux Core Team member and a founding member of the Cilium project.
Last year Cisco launched a new series of Nexus 9000 switches with table sizes that didn’t match any of the known merchant silicon ASICs. It was obvious they had to be using their own silicon – the CloudScale ASIC. Lukas Krattiger was kind enough to describe some of the details last November, resulting in Episode 73 of Software Gone Wild.
For even more details, watch the Cisco Nexus 9000 Architecture Cisco Live presentation.
In 2013, large-scale cloud providers and ISPs decided they had enough of the glacial IETF process of generating YANG models used to describe device configuration and started OpenConfig – a customer-only initiative that quickly created data models covering typical use cases of the founding members (aka “What Does Google Need”).
When I recorded the first podcast with Thomas Graf we both found it so much fun that we decided to do it again. Thomas had attended the NetDev 1.2 conference so when we met in November 2016 we warmed up with What’s NetDev and then started discussing the hot new networking stuff being added to Linux kernel:
A while ago I decided it's time to figure out whether it's better to drop or to delay TCP packets, and quickly figured out you get 12 opinions (usually with no real arguments supporting them) if you ask 10 people. Fortunately, I know someone who deals with TCP performance for living, and Juho Snellman was kind enough to agree to record another podcast.
Update 2017-03-31: Added More information section
From the moment Cisco and VMware announced VXLAN some networking engineers complained that they'd lose visibility into the end-to-end path. It took a long while, but finally the troubleshooting tools started appearing in VXLAN environment: NVO3 working group defined Fault Managemnet framework for overlay networks and Cisco implemented at least parts of it in recent Nexus OS releases.
In Software Gone Wild Episode 52 Katerina Barone-Adesi explained how Igalia implemented 4-over-6 tunnel termination (lwAFTR) with Snabb Switch. Their solution focused on very fast data plane and had no real control plane.
No problem – there are plenty of stable control planes on the market, all we need is some glue.
A few weeks ago Matt Oswalt wrote an interesting blog post on principles of automation, and we quickly agreed it’s a nice starting point for a podcast episode.
During our summer team-building podcast we agreed it would be fun to record a few episodes along the “how do I become a programmer” theme and figured out that Elisa Jasinska would be a perfect first candidate.
A few weeks ago we finally got together and started our chat with campfire stories remembering how we got started with networking and programming.
We did a podcast describing NAPALM, an open-source multi-vendor abstraction library, a while ago, and as the project made significant progress in the meantime, it was time for a short update.
NAPALM started as a library that abstracted the intricacies of network device configuration management. Initially it supported configuration replace and merge; in the meantime, they added support for diffs and rollbacks
We did several podcasts describing how one could get stellar packet forwarding performance on x86 servers reimplementing the whole forwarding stack outside of kernel (Snabb Switch) or bypassing the Linux kernel and moving the packet processing into userspace (PF_Ring).
Now let’s see if it’s possible to improve the Linux kernel forwarding performance. Thomas Graf, one of the authors of Cilium claims it can be done and explained the intricate details in Episode 64 of Software Gone Wild.