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OPNFV: Systems integration for NFV as a community effort

Can OPNFV (Open Platform for Network Function Virtualization) become the base infrastructure layer for running virtual network functions, much like Linux is the base operating system for a large number of network devices?

The first step has been taken: “Arno” – the first release of the OPNFV project came out today. What does it provide – and, more importantly, what’s in it for you?

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Verify my service chain!

How do you prove that all traffic that is supposed to go through the service chain you specified actually made it through the service chain?

This blog was written by Frank Brockners, Sashank Dara, and Shwetha Bhandari.

Service function chaining is used in many networks today. The evolution towards NFV, combined with new technologies such as Segment Routing (SR) or Network Service Header (NSH) makes service chaining easier to deploy and operate – and thus even more popular. Unfortunately there is still one hard question left that management or security departments tend to ask: Can you please prove to me that all traffic that was meant to traverse a specific service chain really followed that path?

Service chain verification is here to help: By adding some meta-data to our traffic, we can now provide a packet by packet proof of the actual path followed. The meta-data can either be carried independently from the service chaining technology used (as part of in-band OAM information) or included in an NSH or SR header.

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What if you had a trip-recorder for all your traffic at line rate performance?

The case for “In-band OAM for IPv6”:  Operating and validating your network just got easier

How many times have you wanted to gain a full insight into the precise paths packets take within your network whilst troubleshooting a problem or planning a change? Did you ever need to categorically prove that all packets that were meant to traverse a specific service chain or path really made it through the specified service chain or path? “In-band OAM for IPv6 (iOAM6)” is now here to help, adding forwarding path or service path information as well as other information/statistics to all your traffic. It is “always on” OAM – and a new source of data for your SDN analytics and control tools.

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Fosdem 2015: a status update

As is our tradition by now a team of volunteers helped out with the network setup and operation of Free and Open-source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM). The network was very similar to the one used last year and we wanted to report on the evolution of the traffic we measured.

First the bad news: due to the increased use of IPv6 we have less accurate data. This is because while IPv4 uses a unique MAC address which we can use to count the number of clients, IPv6 uses ephemeral addresses, and one physical device can use multiple global IPv6 addresses. In fact we noticed one client using more than 100 global IPv6 addresses over a period of 240 seconds. Why this client is doing this is a mystery.

The unique link local IPv6 addresses were only kept in the neighbour cache of the router for a limited time, so we have no good numbers for the amount of clients. The good news is we can still use traffic counters to compare with the previous year.

Internet traffic evolution

Internet traffic evolution

Compared to 2014 we saw a 20% increase in traffic to more than 2 terabytes of traffic exchanged with the internet.

Fosdem 2015 wireless traffic distribution

Fosdem 2015 wireless traffic distribution

More interestingly the IPv4 traffic on the wireless network decreased by almost 20% with the net result that now the IPv6 traffic is 60% of the traffic on the wireless network, while IPv4 traffic is only 40%. So IPv6 traffic is 1.5 times the IPv4 traffic. This is a good indicator that most clients now can use NAT64 and can live on a IPv6 only network.

Internet IPv4 versus IPv6 for Fosdem 2014-2015

Internet IPv4 versus IPv6 for Fosdem 2014-2015

On the internet side the IPv4 traffic increased by 5% while the IPv6 traffic almost doubled. As we use NAT64 to give access to IPv4 only hosts using IPv6 only on the internal network this measurement is a clear indication that more content is now available via IPv6.

For next year we plan to setup some more tracking systems in advance so we can investigate the number of clients on the wireless network and why some clients are using hundreds of global IPv6 addresses.

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Cisco Live Milano……..IPv6, Spaghetti and Innovation

Last week was “that time of year again”: Cisco Live Europe !! One of my favourite weeks of the working year when (together with 11,000 other Networking Professionals from over 110 countries) I packed my bag and boarded a plane for what I always affectionately call the “Cisco Live Zoo“. 

My major “personal stake” is as the “co Session Group Manager” for the IPv6.  This means that (together with my colleague Eric Vyncke) we are jointly responsible for all “IPv6 Content” which includes Breakout presentations, Technical Seminars, show infrastructure and the World of Solutions exhibition floor. 

This year our breakout sessions have reached over 1600 attendees and the feedback we are seeing looks as if people have had a great time and learned a lot from our IPv6 speakers. Many thanks to all speakers and attendees for a great content track. I personally took a role as a speaker in the IPv6 Techtorial: Advanced Practical Knowledge for Enterprises Deploying IPv6

I was also lucky enough to be invited to participate as a member of a very interesting IPv6 Panel which discussed the question of whether the time is now right to move towards an “IPv6 only / IPv6 centric infrastructure”. Our panel was very ably supported by

  • Alain Fiocco (Cisco)
  • Gert Doering (SpaceNet)
  • Jen Linkova (Google)
  • Patrick Grossetête (Cisco)
  • Tore Anderson (Redpill Linpro)

Some of the more interesting quotes that we heard from this panel included:

Gert: “running a network dual stack causes lots of extra effort”

Jen: “One Network is Better Than Two”

Tore presented his approach to running IPv6 only Data Centres and showed how to enabled this with Cisco IOS XE and Patrick explained how with the use of MAP technology Cisco have enabled a large Electricity Distribution company to deploy “IPv6 only SmartMeters” alongside legacy devices that not only cannot support IPv6 but actually have no support for IP at all.

My colleague Andrew Yourtchenko was once again leading the way in the Cisco Network Operations Centre (NOC) supporting both ‘Dual Stack’ on the show WiFi and featuring an IPv6 only SSID. The results of his work can be clearly seen in the statistics we gathered from the NOC:

The main point we noted from these figures was the rise in IPv6 attached devices to 90% (up from 80% in 2014)

The other major part of the IPv6 / Cisco Live Program that I personally drive is what we call the  “IPv6 Enabled” program in the World of Solutions. This is all about highlighting whether a particular platform is IPv6 capable AND HAS BEEN ENABLED FOR IPv6.

In 2014 I had run the same program:

I sent out advanced warning to exhibitors that I was running this program (for the second year running) and told them that if they enabled IPv6 and could demonstrate that to attendees then they would qualify for an “IPv6 Enabled” logo:

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 18.47.38

‘Armed’ with my box of badges and camera I reached the Exhibition Hall around 08:00 on Tuesday morning (around 2 hours before the show opens to the public). I already had a list of some names of Partners and colleagues from Cisco who had told me that they would be IPv6 enabling their demonstrations and my job was to badge them and “find the rest”. I spent the next 8 hours walking from booth to booth with a discussion that went various ways:

“Are you showing a demonstration on your stand and does it visualise an IP component in any way ?”

 “No we are not running any demonstration” or “No our solution runs above the IP layer and no IP addresses are visible in our demonstration”. 


“Yes we do visualise IP in our running demonstration”

“In that case  do you show IPv6 running ?”

“IPv6 is not currently supported on our platform”


“Yes we support IPv6….look here in our data sheet…or look here where the CLI shows you how you can enable it”

None of the above responses qualified for an “IPv6 Enabled” sticker. I responded in each case with a brief explanation about the fact that there are no more IPv4 addresses left and that in 2015 IPv6 really ought to be “Centre Stage” in all such demonstrations with a brief visit to the 6lab stats portal.

These exchanges always ended with my leaving my business card and asking them to please come back to me when they had enabled IPv6 and telling them that I was looking forward to seeing this in San Diego in June. I was actually delighted by the fact that some partners actually contacted me overnight on Tuesday night to let me know that they had actually enabled their demonstrations and could I please return with my badges. I was delighted to agree.

In many other cases I was pleased to find that IPv6 was enabled as an intrinsic part of the demonstration:

Partner IPv6 Enabled Demonstrations

  • British Telecom
  • Infoblox (Gian Carlo Palmieri and Mara Bisti)
  • Paessler (Konstantin Wolff)
  • Arbor Networks (Kiril Kassavchenko)
  • Ixia
  • Mida Solutions (Ronny Tiotto)
  • Netformix (Gidon Leizer and Robert Hall)
  • Packet Design (Angela Reyna and Peter Frame)
  • SevOne (Matt Goldberg)
  • Wild Packets (Linus Brand)
  • PRTG (Konstantin Woff)
  • Isarflow
  • Tiger Communications (Phillip Smith)
  • Men and Mice (Dagmar L. Hilmarsdottir and Martin Metz)
  • Plixer
  • InfoVista

Cisco IPv6 Enabled Demonstrations

  • Autonomic Networks
  • IoE/ IoT
  • Wireless Lan Controller
  • Connected Cities
  • Connected Transportation
  • ISR / TrustSec
  • Cat6K / VSS
  • Segment Routing
  • iOAM6

Photos of many of the “happy exhibitors” are at this link:

I look forward to repeating the award of the “IPv6 Enabled” logos in San Diego at Cisco Live US.

Indeed I would like to challenge every one of my Cisco colleagues and our Partners who will be in the San Diego WoS to reach out to me in advance of the show and tell me that they will be qualified for the program in June and will be enabling. We expect to find many many more IPv6 enabled platforms and demonstrations and look forward to presenting many more badges and meeting old friends and new again in 5 months time.

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