Category: Software Gone Wild
A while ago I got a kind email from Kireeti Kompella, CTO @ Juniper Networks, saying “A colleague sent me an email of yours regarding SDN, the trough of disillusionment, and the rise of automation. Here's a more dramatic view: the Self-Driving Network -- one whose operation is totally automated.”
Even though Software Gone Wild podcast focuses on practical ideas that you could deploy relatively soon in your network, we decided to make an exception and talk about (as one of my friends described it) a unicorn driving a flying DeLorean with a flux capacitor.
In June 2017, we concluded the Building Next Generation Data Center online course with a roundtable discussion with Andrew Lerner, Research Vice President, Networking, and Simon Richard, Research Director, Data Center Networking @ Gartner.
During the first 45 minutes, we covered a lot of topics including:
Imagine a service provider that allows you to provision 100GE point-to-point circuit between any two of their POPs through a web site and delivers in seconds (assuming you’ve already solved the physical connectivity problem). That’s the whole idea of SDN, right? Only not so many providers got there yet.
OpenConfig sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately only a few vendors support it, and it doesn’t run on all their platforms, and you need the latest-and-greatest software release. Not exactly a set of conditions that would encourage widespread adoption.
Things might change with the OpenConfig data models supported in NAPALM. Imagine you could parse router configurations or show printouts into OpenConfig data structures, or use OpenConfig to configure Cisco IOS routers running a decade old software.
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.