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Data Center

Brocade’s Sponsorship at NANOG 68

by asardell ‎10-21-2016 05:31 PM - edited ‎10-25-2016 03:28 PM (4,631 Views)

A couple of weeks ago I announced that SLX 9850 was going to heed the call of the road and travel to NANOG 68 in Dallas. It did, and we’ll get to that, but first I thought I’d share some general impressions from the conference, which was a content-packed three days and lived up to NANOG’s tradition of technical insights and enlightening discussion.


Two of the most striking survey comments, as noted by Executive Director Betty Burke in the Closing Session, were:


  • "Eye Opening!"
  • "I am frightened and excited by this"

What was so frightening? And exciting?


At a show like this, you see the effects of Digital Transformation on networks close up, and hear the reactions of the 1000+ attendees from 250+ companies that include vendors, service providers, Internet Exchanges, research institutions, and large enterprises.


These are mostly technical folks that deal firsthand with exponential traffic growth, the primacy of video, and the explosion of new devices. As the saying goes, May you live in interesting times.  


Quick Overview of Session Types  


Talks covered a broad range of topics:


This last topic (DDoS and BGP Flowspec) was heard in “Q and A” sessions and in hallway conversations throughout the conference. Security and DDoS is a major area of concern for the industry, and there is a strong focus on standards to help drive this solution in infrastructure. In particular, customers are calling for multivendor interoperability of BGP Flowspec for threat mitigation.


But for all of these changes, many things in the operator space are staying the same, or at least evolving in recognizable ways.  


The Stock and Trade of Interconnection


BGP, long viewed as the versatile stuff of worldwide internetwork communication (which it is), has often shown its relevance in other areas. One key session, for instance, illustrated a live data center migration from OSPF to BGP, which resulted quickly in a 50% reduction in trouble tickets.  Another described the continued prominence of VXLAN and BGP-EVPN, albeit with pretty standard features.  


The amount of new applications for BGP is impressive, as noted in this slide (Figure 1) from our own Rohit Bothra’s presentation, which illustrates how many solutions, historically provided with other technologies, are now handled quite handily by the venerable BGP.


BGP Future.png


Figure 1: The Evolution of BGP Services


Similarly, enhancements continue to go in for traditional mechanisms like route reflection, BGP Flowspec, BGP EVPN, etc.


The Intrepid Traveler Socializes at the Beer and Gear


Brocade was a sponsor of the Beer and Gear event. As the world’s traffic is increasingly delivered to eyeballs from edge data centers across local exchange points, the kind of Metcalfe/Moore scaling that Brocade’s Mary Lenehan noted last week make SLX 9850 ideal for the modern data center (Figure 2).


Nuts with 9850.png


Figure 2: A Bold Box, Surrounded by Friends at the Beer and Gear


The SLX 9850’s future-proofed 1.5 RU design and power efficiency will allow modern data centers to continue to evolve for many generations. To see the magic of this platform from the perspective of the attendees, see Figure 3, which illustrates the excitement and mentality in full bloom.  


Customers with 9850.jpg


Figure 3: Seeing is Believing


In general, the need for speed, visibility, and the efficiency of automation dominated the event. Compared to previous NANOG events, we noticed a decided uptick in a desire for telemetry across the board from content providers.


This led to some interesting discussions on our SLX Insight Architecture and Brocade Workflow Composer, because these providers are using telemetry to tie to their automation system for both asynchronous and synchronous configuration and automation of infrastructure. These configurations may use Google’s Protocol Buffers, Yang, or Netconf.   


In the transformed (and still evolving) cloud and Internet, it was refreshing to see that a group of providers of key services continues to form such a vibrant community.  I’m sure we’ll see more of this in NANOG 69 in Washington, DC. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on the issues raised this week.