Building network automation solutions

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Category: video

Lessons Learned: Complexity Will Kill Your System

You wouldn’t believe the intricate network designs I created decades ago until I learned that having an uninterrupted sleep is worth more than proving I can get the impossible to work (see also: using EBGP instead of IGP in a 4-node data center fabric).

Once I started valuing my free time, I tried to design things to be as simple as possible. However, as my friend Nicola Modena once said, “Consultants must propose new technologies because they must be seen as bringing innovation,” and we all know complexity sells. Go figure.

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Video: Theoretical View of Network Addressing

After explaining the basics of (network) names, addresses and routes, I wasted a few minutes of everyone’s time discussing the theoretical aspects of layered addressing, and then got back to practical issues like address scopes, namespaces, and address provisioning.

The video ends with a simple (and unappreciated) truth: if you have a point-to-point link between two nodes you don’t need data-link-layer addresses. The consequences of that fact are left as an exercise for the viewer (or you can wait till the next video ;)

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Video: Public Cloud Networking Is Different

Even though you need plenty of traditional networking constructs to deploy a complex application stack in a public cloud (packet filters, firewalls, load balancers, VPN, BGP…), once you start digging deep into the bowels of public cloud virtual networking, you’ll find out it’s significantly different from the traditional Ethernet+IP implementations common in enterprise data centers.

For an overview of the differences watch the Public Cloud Networking Is Different video (part of Introduction to Cloud Computing webinar), for more details start with AWS Networking 101 and Azure Networking 101 blog posts, and continue with corresponding cloud networking webinars.

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Lessons Learned: Fundamentals Haven't Changed

Here’s another bitter pill to swallow if you desperately want to believe in the magic powers of unicorn dust: laws of physics and networking fundamentals haven’t changed (see also: RFC 1925 Rule 11).

Whenever someone is promising a miracle solution, it’s probably due to them working in marketing or having no clue what they’re talking about (or both)… or it might be another case of adding another layer of abstraction and pretending the problems disappeared because you can’t see them anymore.

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Video: Introduction to Network Addressing

A friend of mine pointed out this quote by John Shoch when I started preparing the Network Stack Addressing slide deck for my How Networks Really Work webinar:

The name of a resource indicates what we seek, an address indicates where it is, and a route tells us how to get there.

You might wonder when that document was written… it’s from January 1978. They got it absolutely right 42 years ago, and we completely messed it up in the meantime with the crazy ideas of making IP addresses resource identifiers.

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Video: Typical Large-Scale Bridging Use Cases

In the previous video in the Switching, Routing and Bridging section of How Networks Really Work webinar we compared transparent bridging with IP routing. Not surprisingly (given my well-known bias toward stable solutions) I recommended using IP routing as much as possible, but there are still people out there pushing large-scale transparent bridging solutions.

In today’s video we’ll look at some of the supposed use cases and stable solutions you could use instead of stretching a virtual thick yellow cable halfway across a continent.

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Video: We Still Need Networking in Public Clouds

Whenever someone starts mansplaining that we need no networking when we move the workloads into a public cloud, please walk away – he has just proved how clueless he is.

He might be a tiny bit correct when talking about software-as-a-service (after all, it’s just someone else’s web site), but when it comes to complex infrastructure virtual networks, there’s plenty of networking involved, from packet filters and subnets to NAT, load balancers, firewalls, BGP and IPsec.

For more details, watch the We Still Need Networking in Public Clouds video (part of Introduction to Cloud Computing webinar).

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Video: Cisco SD-WAN Site Design

In the Site Design part of Cisco SD-WAN webinar, David Penaloza described capabilities you can use when designing complex sites, like extending SD-WAN transport between SD-WAN edge nodes, or implementing high availability between them. He also explained how to track an Internet-facing interface and a service beyond its next hop.

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