Some Thoughts Prior to Network Field Day #5

Author
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 http://techfieldday.com/. 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.

So:

  • 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
  • VXLAN
  • Topics I omitted here

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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 pjw@netcraftsmen.net 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]http://www.sdncentral.com/companies/spotlight-on-daylight-sdn-consortium-open-source-controller/2013/02/[/url], which says it isn’t a rumor.

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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.