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Top Things to Know About DFA Before Cisco Live Milan

January 24, 2014 at 2:15 pm PST

Two weeks ago, I presented a webinar on Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) and went over the allocated 1 hour to cover the content.  Yesterday, as I was doing follow up with a hands-on demo, I went over time too. This illustrates how rich DFA is, and how much there is to say about it! Dynamic Fabric Automation is an environment for data center automation that is centered on the CPOM (Central Point of Management), a set of services that are provided with the new Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) release 7.0(1).

The services available on the CPOM provide the following:

  1. Power On Auto Provisioning (POAP)
  2. Inter-switch link connection verification
  3. A single console for configuration
  4. Network Auto-Config Profile provisioning
  5. Message processing for external orchestrator
  6. Automatic host provisioning
  7. Embedded management for network monitoring and data collection

All of these services are provided using standard protocols and applications. For example, the POAP service uses DHCP, TFTP and SCP/SFTP, but using a combination of templates and a very intuitive and easy-to-use GUI, DCNM provides a simplified and systematic way of bringing up your data center fabric. The inter-switch link validation or cable consistency check allows the operator to verify the fabric connections against a predefined template and prevent unexpected connections to come up.

The Jabber process provides the single console for configuration, statistics and troubleshooting. Using any XMPP client, an operator can “chat” with the fabric devices; this approach offers the possibility to organize devices in chat groups that match their role, their location or simply some administrative set. With XMPP, a single command can be sent to multiple devices in a secure way.

The most important element of the CPOM is certainly the network profile provisioning. Read More »

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Securing Critical Internet Infrastructure: a RPKI case study in Ecuador

Securing critical internet infrastructure is an ongoing challenge for operators that require collaboration across administrative boundaries. Last September, something exceptional happened in the small South American country of Ecuador: the entire local network operation community got together to be pioneers in securing the local Internet infrastructure by registering its networks in the RPKI system and implementing secure origin AS validation. Please visit my original blog post over on the Cisco Perspectives Blog to read more!

 

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Securing Critical Internet Infrastructure: an RPKI case study in Ecuador

Securing the Critical Internet Infrastructure is an ongoing challenge for operators that require collaboration across administrative boundaries. Last September something exceptional happened in Ecuador, a small South American country. The entire local network operation community got together to be pioneers in securing its local Internet infrastructure by registering its networks in the Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) system and implementing secure origin AS validation. This project is a great example on how a global technology change can be accelerated by maximizing its value to local communities.

The global inter-domain routing infrastructure depends on the BGP protocol that was initially developed in the early 90s. Operators know that a number of techniques are needed to improve BGP security (a good reference can be found here). Although these improvements, it is still possible to impersonate the entity with the right of use of Internet resources and produce a prefix hijack as the famous attack in 2007. The IETF, vendors and Regional Internet Registries have been working inside the SIDR working group to create technologies that allow the cryptographic validation. The initial outcomes of this effort have been the RPKI and the BGP origin AS validation; two complementary technologies that work together to improve inter-domain routing security.

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VIRL Saves the Day!

One of the themes of my posts is that the overall ONE strategy, including virtualisation, would create an environment for network systems development that would meet the expectations of systems developers accustomed to the “enterprise” style of software development.

An enterprise systems developer expects the required systems resources for software development to be readily available for development and test purposes. When those resources constitute web application servers and databases, this is trivial with virtualisation, and generally unremarkable in today’s enterprise environments.

When those resources constitute expensive, high-end, routing and switching platforms, though, life is not that straightforward. A major part of a network engineer’s time is spent on obtaining, connecting and configuring network equipment for demonstration and test purposes. You can’t just try an idea out when it occurs to you, as the required network platforms often can’t be available when, and in the configuration, you want.

But imagine what you could do if those network resources were available at a click of a button. What if network engineers had the same capabilities as software engineers to create virtual environments of near perfect fidelity? Well, with the technology of the Virtual Internet Routing Laboratory (VIRL), that we are demonstrating at Cisco Live in Florida, that possibility is getting closer. Read More »

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Accounting and Routing in the Internet

Accounting Traffic in the Internet Today

[the full article can be seen at http://www.internetsociety.org/sites/default/files/BGP-for-regulators.pdf]

Business Model Changes

In the past, voice traffic was transported over a dedicated voice infrastructure, and the data network infrastructure was established in parallel so that voice and data traffic did not interfere with each other. Traditional voice accounting and performance functions are standardized within SS7 (Common Channel Signaling System No. 7), the global standard for telecommunications, defined by the ITU-T. The success of data networks led to the development of techniques to encapsulate voice traffic in IP packets, and thus Voice over IP (VoIP) was born. Read More »

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