Cloud Computing Applied to Network Management

Terry Slattery
Principal Architect

One of the new technology rages in the market today is Cloud Computing (and Storage), of which Amazon’s Web Services (S3, SQS, SimpleDB, EC2, and HaDoop) is one example.  As I was reading through the example of “Grep the Web” described in the paper Cloud Architectures, I wondered what applicability this technology had to network management.  In just a few minutes, I had a couple of ideas.

  1. Data storage.  Keep large NMS data sets in the S3 storage system.  The rates seem pretty reasonable for bulk storage ($0.15 per GB-Month), plus an additional amount for data transfers in each direction.  But if you’re primarily using it for backup storage, you’d only have a one-way trip for most data.  Deletes are free, so when you age out the data, just delete it.  If you never need to go back to it, you’re using Amazon’s storage system (servers, disks, racks, facilities, and staff) to store your data.  I’d want to encrypt the data before sending it to them, but that’s easily done.  Imagine keeping detailed weekly data for an entire year.  If your NMS can create a summary of each week, store the details on AWS S3 and keep the summaries around for your trend analysis.  Then, if you need to go back to research some detail, you can easily retrieve the detailed backup data.
  2. Routing analysis.  Large enterprise or service provider routing infrastructures are pretty complex systems.  If all the routing tables were extracted and stored in AWS S3, then the other components of AWS could be used to perform analysis on the resulting routing tables.  With the large data store provided by AWS S3, a time-series of routing tables could be kept and, using the other AWS components, a trend analysis could be performed on the tables.  I’ll be that there are some interesting visualizations that could be generated from a time series of routing tables.  For example, build a topology map of interconnected routers and color the devices according to the number of local route changes.  Show a sequence of these topology maps as a movie.  Imagine being able to watch an EIGRP Stuck-In-Active route in action as a way to help diagnose what’s happening.

I’m sure there are other, more detailed analysis that could be performed if the large volumes of NMS data could be kept and analysis routines were developed to mine it.  What suggestions do you have for using AWS for network mangement?



Re-posted with Permission 

NetCraftsmen would like to acknowledge Infoblox for their permission to re-post this article which originally appeared in the Applied Infrastructure blog under


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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.