Data Center

The Questions We Ask of Networks

by asardell ‎03-27-2017 06:33 AM - edited ‎03-27-2017 06:39 AM (1,004 Views)

From Visibility to Collection, and on to Intelligent Automation

 

Even the first small steps you take towards collecting, collating and automating based on network-provided information lead to operational improvements. I’ll explain why here. 

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Secure High Performance DCI with Brocade and Coriant

by asardell on ‎03-20-2017 03:46 PM (1,496 Views)

Pretested Integration on Key DC Interconnect and Intra-DC Scenarios

 

Brocade and Coriant have woven together solutions for several use cases in this area to provide very high density and high performance interconnect services as well as payload encryption across DWDM systems. The solutions include Brocade’s service provider DC WAN portfolio (including SLX and MLX routers) and Coriant’s G30 DCI Platform

 

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Site Reliability Engineers. They’re Here, Happy, Hurting.

by plaporte ‎03-18-2017 02:39 PM - edited ‎03-18-2017 03:09 PM (904 Views)

Last week, I attended my first SRE Con in San Francisco. In case you’re unfamiliar, SRE stands for Site Reliability Engineer.

It’s the hot new job title and role as more and more organizations embrace Digital Transformation and Cloud operations models. For two days, the StackStorm team met with and fielded

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Towards Machine Learning in Networking: Benefits Begin Now

by asardell on ‎03-13-2017 07:50 AM - last edited on ‎03-13-2017 09:13 AM by Community Manager (3,372 Views)

 

Last Thursday, Packet Pushers featured a thought-provoking podcast on the applicability of machine learning (ML) to networking. David Meyer, Chief Scientist, VP and Fellow at Brocade discussed the challenges, opportunities and realities.

 

Visibility innovations such as SLX Insight Architecture and SLX Visibility Services are facilitating this ability in the data center, particularly in support of DevOps-style workflow automation such as Brocade Workflow Composer.

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Network Auto-Remediation with Workflow Composer

by asardell ‎03-07-2017 01:20 PM - edited ‎03-08-2017 10:55 AM (1,228 Views)

Here we look at auto-remediation means today and what it aspires to mean. We do this with a concrete example using Brocade Workflow Composer. This is an examination of network assurance and what it implies in the larger world of intent-based networking. As you following these exciting trends, you can get started with Workflow Composer today! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Exploring the Network Essentials (Now GA!) and the Data Center Fabric Automation Suites  

 

Last week I touched on architectural choices for service providers (particularly Internet exchanges and colocation providers) for connecting customers to their networks. Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) is a mature option that allows enterprises to connect to the network and have all of their sites connected via pseudowires so that they can all be dealt with as if they were part of the same LAN.

 

 

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Solutions for Service Provider Data Centers

by asardell ‎02-21-2017 10:53 AM - edited ‎02-26-2017 05:20 PM (1,840 Views)

Last week I talked about some convergence trends in the service provider space, particularly for IXP's, collocation facilities, and cloud exchanges.  If you're in this space, you know what it is to deal with huge traffic growth and demanding customers that want high bandwidth and always-on connectivity with access to advanced cloud services.

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Convergence Trends in Interconnection

by asardell ‎02-15-2017 01:48 PM - edited ‎02-24-2017 10:19 AM (2,526 Views)

IXPs, Colocation providers, and cloud exchanges for a vibrant ecosystem. Understanding these trends is of interest to the players in this space, as well as to the many enterprises seeking to increase the use of public clouds in their IT. 

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Digital transformation is forcing permanent, long standing disruption across all industries and organizations. To stay competitive, remain agile and innovate, IT  has to evolve and adapt. DevOps culture is proving to be the answer, but automation is intrinsic to this culture, the processes and tools that make it happen. 

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Document Library Includes Detailed Reference Architectures and Feature Usage Descriptions

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Unified Visibility Across the IT Stack

by yhasan ‎01-24-2017 10:56 AM - edited ‎01-26-2017 02:43 PM (1,986 Views)

How do I get end-to-end visibility across my IT stack?

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Using DevOps to Fulfill IT Agility Requirements

by asardell ‎01-20-2017 08:32 AM - edited ‎01-24-2017 03:46 PM (1,247 Views)

Reconciling the Roles of SDN Controllers, DevOps Solutions, and Orchestration Software

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Using Visibility and Automation Together

by LindsayHillBRCD on ‎01-09-2017 11:42 AM (1,602 Views)

In Nabil Bukhari's blog on December 6, he detailed the vision outlined in our announcement that day: multidimensional agility, with visibility and automation working in concert.

 

On December 14, we showed at a very high level how Brocade Workflow Composer can be used to automate troubleshooting and remediation by using information from the SLX Insight Architecture and Visibility Services.

 

In this blog, we’ll walk through a specific example of how to use this combination of platform and automation features to determine the root cause of an application performance problem, whether it has to do with the network, the application itself, or another reason having to do with the physical or virtual compute resources.

 

Our Scenario

Let’s assume that your software team has deployed a distributed application on a scale-out leaf-spine IP fabric network (Figure 1). The fabric uses BGP-EVPN, and application isolation, to provide Layer 2 services across the fabric.

Figure 1: Distributed Application across Scale-Out IP Fabric

Figure 1: Distributed Application across Scale-Out IP Fabric

 

Selected users have been reporting intermittent, inconsistent performance problems. The software team suspect a network problem, and have passed it to the network team to investigate further.

 

How do we go about troubleshooting the problem? We start at a high level, then work down to deeper detail until we isolate the issue:

  1. Check overall traffic – look for any link congestion problems
  2. Drill into specific per-application server traffic levels to identify abnormalities
  3. Capture traffic from anomalous servers to drill down into specific packets

Streaming Data: The Big Picture

Brocade SLX switches support streaming interface counters. Using Brocade Workflow Composer, we can run a workflow to configure the streaming settings on our switches. This pushes out a profile that defines the statistics we want to stream, and where to send the data to. No need to login to each individual switch. Our profile needs to include interface counters.

 

This data can be collected and displayed by tools such as Splunk, Influx DB, Grafana, or the Elastic Stack.

Our starting point is to login to a dashboard showing interface utilization graphs (Figure 2). This will tell us if there is any congestion occurring on links within the fabric, or at the edge ports:

 

throughput_graph.png

 

Figure 2: Sample Dashboard Showing Interface Utilization

 

But these graphs don’t show anything unusual. Traffic levels are normal, no interfaces are showing congestion. We need to go deeper.

 

Visibility Services

SLX Visibility Services gives us multilayer classification capabilities including network parameter filters such as IP and MAC addresses, port numbers, VNIs, and workload matching. We can then take action on matching packets, such as count, drop or mirror.

 

We want to get traffic counters for each of our application servers, at every leaf switch that the application currently uses.

 

We need to:

  • Identify the IP addresses used by our application, which compute nodes they currently run on, and which switch ports they are connected to
  • Figure out which VNIs are used for that traffic
  • Create rules to match that traffic, and install on all relevant leaf switches
  • Monitor the results

The first three steps are tedious, repetitive work: a perfect case for automation. So we run a workflow to gather the IP addresses from our compute system, identify the VNIs used, and pass the details through to a workflow that sets up the matching rules, with a “count” action.

 

Watching the results, we can then see traffic on a per-IP basis, rather than the aggregated interface stats we had earlier. This reveals something unusual: one of the servers has lower traffic volumes than the other. It’s not zero, but it is lower than the others. What’s going on with that server?

 

SLX Insight Architecture

So now we want to dig deeper into that traffic. We run a new workflow that applies a “mirror” action to the interesting traffic, and sets up a packet capture on our Guest VM in the SLX Insight Architecture. No dedicated taps or hardware needed.

 

Now we have a pcap file that we can analyze in Wireshark. Looking at the packets in more detail, we see something a little unusual: one of the application components isn’t loading. Clients are timing out with that component, and failing over to another server.

 

Armed with this information, we can go back to the software team, who resolve the issue. Traffic is now balanced properly across all systems, all are working as expected, and users are happy.

 

Finally, we run a “cleanup” workflow that removes our packet capturing rules, and we’re done!

 

Related Links  

SLX Insight Architecture User Guide

Visibility in the Modern Data Center with SLX Switches and Routers

Brocade Workflow Composer Automation Platform

Adaptability in Fixed Form Switches

by asardell ‎01-03-2017 03:03 PM - edited ‎01-06-2017 07:47 AM (1,900 Views)

Adaptable, Agile Switches at the Leaf, Spine and Border Leaf

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Jumpstarting Your Automation Journey

by asardell on ‎12-19-2016 12:28 PM (3,090 Views)

Accelerating Network Automation with These Turnkey Suites  

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Visibility and Automation in Concert

by asardell ‎12-13-2016 02:50 PM - edited ‎12-21-2016 04:51 PM (1,394 Views)

Using SLX Insight, Visibility Services, and BWC for Automated Troubleshooting and Remediation  

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Fulfilling Multidimensional Agility

by asardell on ‎12-06-2016 05:00 AM (8,861 Views)

Products and Technologies at All Layers of the Modern Data Center

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Digital Transformation Through Automation and Visibility

by Nabil Bukhari ‎12-06-2016 04:58 AM - edited ‎12-06-2016 05:06 AM (19,275 Views)

From Technology to Culture and Across All Domains

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Using SDN to Mitigate DDoS with BGP-FS

by asardell on ‎11-01-2016 08:55 AM - last edited on ‎11-01-2016 04:23 PM by Community Manager (1,425 Views)

Two weeks ago, I mentioned how the topic of denial-of-service DDoS issues, and the potential of BGP Flowspec (BGP-FS) as a way to mitigate them, was a very hot topic at NANOG 68 in Dallas. In general, this topic is top of mind for everyone, especially with the very recent widespread cyberattack. Let’s take a look at the continued evolution of methods to handle these attacks.

 

Traffic filtering policies have traditionally been very static in service provider networks. But in this age of traffic-based, and more widespread, DDoS attacks, operators need to create dynamic filters

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Prepare for Technology Containers in your Data Center

by Ellen Chandra on ‎10-31-2016 01:59 PM - last edited on ‎10-31-2016 04:06 PM by Community Manager (1,477 Views)

Are you considering deploying applications in Containers? According to a recent

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Brocade’s Sponsorship at NANOG 68

by asardell ‎10-21-2016 05:31 PM - edited ‎10-25-2016 03:28 PM (919 Views)

SLX 9850 Makes an Appearance to an Approving Crowd. Continued Interest in Scale and Visibility as Cloud Data Centers Continue to Grow.   

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Tipping the Scale-ability in your Favor with Simplified Data Center Fabrics

by mlenehan on ‎10-14-2016 01:56 PM - last edited on ‎11-01-2016 04:24 PM by Community Manager (1,204 Views)

As a young Product Marketing Engineer at Intel, I found myself living by Moore’s Law dutifully bringing out new microprocessors that doubled compute power every two years.

            

                                blog figure 1.png

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Where Are Your Traffic Flows, and Can You Redirect Them?

by asardell on ‎10-12-2016 11:00 AM - last edited on ‎11-01-2016 04:25 PM by Community Manager (919 Views)

For my twenty or so years in computer networking, the promise of a network that is sensitive to the applications running on it has been put forth almost continuously.  And to some extent, constructs such as Quality of Service (QoS), policy-based routing, and even simple logical domain separation through subnetworks and VLANs have provided the support to improve application performance.

 

As part of the digital transformation, however, applications are becoming much more complex

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Data center design for business agility

by savitakini on ‎10-10-2016 03:06 PM - last edited on ‎10-20-2016 02:31 PM by Community Manager (3,509 Views)

The many approaches to data center design strategy can be confusing. But, essentially there are 2 approaches – a vertically integrated complete stack solution or build your own stack. There is a parallel here with bring-your-own-device and bring-your-own-app. 

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Brocade SLX 9850 Hits the Road for NANOG 68

by asardell on ‎10-04-2016 09:42 AM - last edited on ‎11-01-2016 04:30 PM by Community Manager (732 Views)

The Product Management team in Brocade’s Switching, Routing and Analytics Business Unit is shipping the 230Tbps-capable SLX 9850 router to NANOG 68 in Dallas (October 17-19). It will be presented at NANOG’s “Beer and Gear” event on Tuesday afternoon, October 18 at 6:00PM.

 

This high-end router is especially suited to IP fabric and core-aggregation

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It’s Not About the Network (Unless it’s Slow….or Down)

by asardell on ‎10-03-2016 10:52 AM - last edited on ‎11-01-2016 04:32 PM by Community Manager (905 Views)

Jay Etchings has a key mission as director of research operations at Arizona State University – make sure his customers don’t know about the network.  

 

“From a researcher’s point of view—a computational biologist or a genomicist—the network is not important unless it ceases to function,” say Mr. Etchings in this video

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Two Fast Paths to Docker Networking with Brocade VDX

by patild on ‎09-28-2016 01:59 PM - last edited on ‎09-30-2016 10:47 AM by Community Manager (1,095 Views)

Here are a couple of options for how you can get orchestration and visibility across container networks and physical networks:

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I Can See (My Network) Clearly Now!

by skhanna on ‎09-22-2016 01:59 PM (2,645 Views)

Have you ever thought about what types of cars are passing through an intersection, whether there are any accidents or if cars are ignoring traffic lights? Operators use cameras and sensors to get visbility into traffic intersections. Do you have the same visibility into your network? ...

 

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What You Can’t See Could Kill Your Network

by Jason.Nolet ‎09-13-2016 05:00 AM - edited ‎09-15-2016 11:22 AM (10,465 Views)

Looking back on the changes of the last two decades, we can see that networks were at the center of the disruption that swept through every industry twenty years ago with the introduction of the Internet...

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Summary - Brocade Workflow Composer at NFD 12

by yhasan on ‎08-24-2016 02:41 PM (1,843 Views)

We had a great afternoon with the NFD team as we walked them through our vision, design principles and demos of the Brocade Workflow Composer... here’s what happened:

 

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