Anticipating Network Field Day 19

Peter Welcher
Architect, Operations Technical Advisor

Network Field Day 19 is coming soon, November 7-9, 2018. I’m planning to be there as a delegate. The anticipation builds…

I’m looking forward to the chance to catch up on what’s new / exciting with the sponsoring vendors, and then share that with you in blogs and the NFD streaming videos. I’m also looking forward to the stimulating company, the various bloggers and tech experts attending as delegates. As usual, if you have polite questions or topics you want the vendors to address, just let me know before or during the video-streamed sessions. And if you want to see demos (NFD is always big on demos) or new feature announcements live, tune in to the streaming videos (links or URL’s to be posted closer to the event, on the NFD19 page above, or via other links described there).

You can see who the delegates and sponsors are via the above link. Note that clicking on a sponsor takes you to the “cumulative page” for that vendor, listing all the blogs and videos from prior Tech Field Day events.

Presenting Sponsors

For your convenience, I’ll briefly summarize my understanding of what the sponsors business areas / products are:


Apstra is a hot network automation startup that started talking about “Intent-Based Networking” before that became a big Thing. Apstra now has some marquee customers and has been adding AOS features. AOS is a vendor-neutral platform for expressing intent, automating deployment, and managing, with their current focus being datacenter spine-leaf fabrics. AOS supports features like VLANs, VXLAN, BGP EVPN, anycast gateway with ARP suppression, IP multicast, and VRF’s. AOS caught my eye a while back as a possible alternative to Cisco’s fabric management tools, especially if one wants just fabric without security. DCNM LAN is Cisco’s alternative for that niche — or ACI and just not using some of the features.

Barefoot Networks

Barefoot provides silicon and supporting code for disaggregated switch vendors. Products include:

  • P4 Studio for programming the Tofino ASIC, enabling a software programmable forwarding plane with high performance.
  • Deep Insight runs on commodity servers and provides data plane telemetry and analytics with anomaly detection, for every packet, based on data from Tofino ASICs and “other programmable data planes.”

Bluecat Networks

Bluecat offers a centrally managed DNS and IPAM address management product featuring load balanced DNS, scalable DHCP, enterprise address management, and DNS-centric security. They also provide DNS expertise.


Cisco needs no introduction, they’re a huge presence in network, server, storage, WiFi, unified communications, Service Provider, and other markets. Since I have no idea (yet) what topical area or announcements they’ll be presenting, we’ll move on…


Illumio’s Adaptive Security Platform (ASP) provides a somewhat different approach to micro-segmentation. ASP does enforcement via a Virtual Enforcement Node (VEN) at the workload level, providing host, VM, or container-based micro-segmentation and traffic visibility, with each workload also acting as a sensor. Illumio states that ASP can also create access lists in load balancers and switches. The Illumination product provides a central real-time traffic map. The central policies built in the ASP Policy Compute Engine (PCE) use labels rather than IP addresses.


Kentik provides a cloud-based big data approach to many kinds of flow data, both from internal sources and cloud sources. Kentik goes beyond many NetFlow tools by ingesting cloud flow logs and other types of information, automating detection of supporting information (BGP, geo-location, etc.) and innovating to add business and technical value to reports. Kentik Detect also provides threshold and anomaly alerting. And of course, flow data has a security role as well.


It seems like every time I visit their website, Riverbed has added another product or line of business. That makes Riverbed hard to describe briefly.

Riverbed Steelhead encompasses WAN acceleration (network performance optimization) products. Riverbed owns Xirrus wireless. SteelConnect provides SD-WAN with gateways (VPN routers), switches, and access points — which sounds like a Meraki alternative. SteelFusion is an SD-Edge solution (remote storage, backup, server and networking appliance with central management). There’s also the SteelCentral network, application and UC management product suite, now including the Aternity acquisition for direct end-system measurement of UX with big data analysis and reporting.


From my perspective, Silver Peak has moved aggressively from the WAN appliance business into the SD-WAN business, emphasizing application-centric routing.


Comments are welcome, both in agreement or constructive disagreement about the above. I enjoy hearing from readers and carrying on deeper discussion via comments. Thanks in advance!


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Twitter: @pjwelcher

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