Some Thoughts Prior to Network Field Day #5

Peter Welcher
Architect, Operations Technical Advisor

You may have noticed the NetCraftsmen News page article mentioning that Terry Slattery and I were invited and plan to attend Network Field Day #5. See also I plan to listen to vendor presentations, learn,  and contribute what I can. I can also ask relevant questions for you (taking the word “delegate” literally).

Pursuing that thought, I’d like to ask what questions YOU have. Not that I’ll necessarily get to ask or answer them at NFD. Knowing what readers consider interesting might be useful in setting the direction for future blogs.


  • What tech topics interest you?
  • Do you have questions about some of them?

In particular, what is your interest level, what questions, and what comments (polite, please!) do you have about any of the following:

  • High-performance data center switching
  • Cloud computing
  • OpenFlow
  • OpenStack
  • Software Defined Networks (SDN)
  • Virtual appliances
  • Service chaining
  • Data center interconnect
  • Topics I omitted here


Suggested way to get questions etc. to me: (recommended) post comments on this blog (that way we can build a publicly viewable question list), or email me at or use twitter @pjwelcher.


To stir up some questions and make this a little more technical, I’d like to share some thoughts. I have a lot of opinions and thoughts about these topics, many probably a bit unorthodox, to be revealed in upcoming blogs. In many cases I’m still figuring out my thoughts, reactions, questions, and take on  these items, like all of us.

What really resonates for me out of the above list falls somewhere in the SDN / service chaining space. See my blogs and CMUG presentation about Cisco 1000v and vPath, at

The conceptual nugget I’m interested in ties into the notion that service chaining simplifies sequencing use of virtual appliances to deliver a service. That’s an enabler for a “vAppPod” (my term), a collection of VMs and vAppliances that deliver a service (and do vMotion or cloning in the cloud as an unit).

Let’s define SDN in its simplest sense as “simplified comprehensive management and automation of network equipment and its configuration”. The SDN-ish dream that service chaining might tie into that is something a Networkers presentation last Summer got me started thinking about. Firewalls, load balancers, etc. are to some extent about things that happen to flows. So maybe a future OpenFlow or L3 variant, or service chaining might cause flows to undergo firewall- and L2 / L3 server load balancer-like handling.

Here’s the key point: wouldn’t it be very  useful if we could describe flows and actions on them once, rather than configuring each appliance or vAppliance via its own GUI? Perhaps with process-switched tasks like HTML rewrite offloaded to a compute engine (a la the F5 LineRate acquisition, perhaps)). Is getting the job done partly about flows and some about the compute engine, or does the compute engine do all the work, or what? That Cisco Networkers presentation comes in, in that tucked away in it was a slide making the point that humans have to be involved to configure each of the devices in the service chain. How labor-intense and slow that could be! Using MQC-like commands across a bunch of Cisco platforms? That can work, but surely isn’t fast or simple! Wouldn’t a Unified Services GUI be a lot better!

Is Cisco 1000v Inter-Cloud somewhat of an enabler in this? 1000v provides service chaining, and now 1000v Inter-Cloud lets us move all or some of it into one or more clouds.
(Optimistic thought: wouldn’t that be a great reason for a vendor like Cisco to drop its okay but not great market-share and feature-weak server load balancer functionality? If a more powerful replacement was coming soon? No, I haven’t heard anything like that is coming.)

2 responses to “Some Thoughts Prior to Network Field Day #5

  1. There’s a good reason you’re going there to ask the questions and not me. Maybe you can dig up some info on the "Daylight" controller that’s rumored to be partnered with multiple companies including Cisco.

  2. Thanks. Some searching led me quickly to [url][/url], which says it isn’t a rumor.

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