NFD26: The Overview

Peter Welcher
Architect, Operations Technical Advisor

The following companies presented at Network Field Day 26 (NFD26):

This blog is a quick summary/overview. It has two goals:

  • Mention any overall themes across the vendors.
  • Mention a couple of key items from each vendor.

I plan to follow up with more details on each vendor’s presentations, especially their announcements of new functionality.

As a delegate / virtual attendee, I was definitely on the receiving end of a lot of information. The vendor presentations were recorded and are already posted online. We also had off-the-record breakout sessions with two-way discussion, but … off the record.

There’s a lot of good material in the vendor presentations. If you want to start viewing it, see the NFD26 link above for links to the videos: click on the vendor icon, and it’ll take you to a page of all the Tech Field Day content (new and prior) about that vendor! Or go to the NFD26 playlist on YouTube!

I will note, there was a LOT of information provided in the sessions. I took 60 pages of notes. Trying to filter that down to blogs with coherent summaries and what might be of most interest to readers is going to take a bit of review and thought and time.

I do intend to post a blog per vendor, summarizing what each vendor presented, my reactions, and what caught my eye. If you’re short on time or choose to do something other than networking with your free time, then those will help guide you to which presentations you’ll want to view.

Those blogs will be posted via LinkedIn, bypassing the NetCraftsmen review process to get them posted faster, while they are more timely. One exception will be the Netbeez blog, where a blog was already in the queue, suitable for rapid revision to cover NFD26.

Some Overall Themes

Listening to the vendors for common themes, I heard echoes of the following common themes:

  • Monitoring products and Arista and Juniper: more and better visibility, including cloud, and work to make troubleshooting easier, with AI / smart alerts. Getting away from raw data and focusing NetOps on what it needs to know and create actionable insights.
  • Integrated monitoring (but nobody says Single Pain of Glass anymore, probably because people like me and you immediately think “Single Pain in the <glass>” when we hear it).
  • Arista, Cisco, Juniper: effort to support automation, APIs, coding cookbooks, etc.
  • Macro, micro.
    • There is perhaps a slight need for common terminology. For example, my impression Arista was using micro where I’d have said macro (assuming it refers to VRF’s). I’ll have to go revisit my Arista notes to verify that.
    • I’ve noticed other vendors talking micro-segmentation but meaning application groups and datacenter only.
    • Juniper talked about Group-Based Policy (GBP), which sounded to me like Cisco’s SGT’s. (See the coming blog for more on that. And is that the tip of an iceberg?)
  • Integrated synthetic polling where you might not expect it (Riverbed, Kentik).


Vendors are, to some extent, adjusting to their customers’ needs and constraints. Staffing and staff skill levels being one major aspect of how the customer needs help. (Especially with Security, but this was not a Security Field Day.)

Automation of BGP EVPN VXLAN is here. If your design fits that, deployment and support just became easier. Cisco, Juniper, and Arista discussed it in various forms.

Zero Trust and network segmentation are on the horizon and coming in. There was perhaps not as much mention of ZTA from hardware vendors as I had expected – Security topic?

To sum up, NFD26 provided a solid update and fresh info on the presenting vendors. I’ll be summarizing what each presented, so you can make an informed decision about which videos to watch. If you have the time, you can, of course, watch them all!

Disclosure statement