Software Gone Wild

Are you sick and tired of SDN, NFV, SDDC and network programability hype? You came to the right place - Software Gone Wild is focusing on architectures, solutions and technologies that real networking engineers use in production networks.

Show 91: Snabb Switch Update

8 June 2018

In 2014, we did a series of podcasts on Snabb Switch (Snabb Switch and OpenStack, Deep Dive), a software-only switch delivering 10-20 Gbps of forwarded bandwidth per x86 core. In the meantime, Snabb community slowly expanded, optimized the switching code, built a number of solutions on top of the packet forwarding core, and even forked a just-in-time Lua compiler to get better performance.

To find out the details, listen to Episode 91 of Software Gone Wild in which Luke Gorrie explained how far the Snabb project has progressed in the last four years.

Show 90: Network Automation with Nornir (formerly Brigade)

4 May 2018

David Barroso was sick-and-tired of using ZX Spectrum of Network Automation and decided to create an alternative with similar functionality but a proper programming language instead of YAML dictionaries masquerading as one. The result: Nornir, an interesting network automation tool formerly known as Brigade we discussed in Episode 90 of Software Gone Wild.

2018-05-30: Brigade was renamed to Nornir. As David wrote me: “just right after the podcast was published we got contacted by Microsoft engineers as they already had a quite popular Kubernetes automation tool called brigade as well so we decided to change the name of the project.

Notes:

Show 89: OpenFabric with Russ White

20 April 2018

Continuing the series of data center routing protocol podcasts, we sat down with Russ White (of the CCDE fame), author of another proposal: OpenFabric.

As always, we started with the “what’s wrong with what we have right now, like using BGP as a better IGP” question, resulting in “BGP is becoming the trash can of the Internet”.

Show 88: Data Center Routing with RIFT

30 March 2018

Years ago Petr Lapukhov decided that it’s a waste of time to try to make OSPF or IS-IS work in large-scale data center leaf-and-spine fabrics and figured out how to use BGP as a better IGP.

In the meantime, old-time routing gurus started designing routing protocols targeting a specific environment: highly meshed leaf-and-spine fabrics. First in the list: Routing in Fat Trees (RIFT).

Show 87: Linux Interfaces

9 March 2018

Continuing the Linux networking discussion we had in Episode 86, we focused on Linux interfaces in Episode 87 of Software Gone Wild with Roopa Prabhu and David Ahern.

We started with simple questions like “what is an interface” and “how do they get such weird names in some Linux distributions” which quickly turned into a complex discussion about kernel objects and udev, and details of implementing logical interfaces that are associated with ASIC front-panel physical ports.

Show 86: Packet Forwarding on Linux

19 January 2018

Linux operating system is used as the foundation for numerous network operating systems including Arista EOS and Cumulus Linux. It provides most networking constructs we grew familiar with including interfaces, VLANs, routing tables, VRFs and contexts, but they behave slightly differently from what we’re used to.

In Software Gone Wild Episode 86 Roopa Prabhu and David Ahern explained the fundamentals of packet forwarding on Linux, and the differences between Linux and more traditional network operating systems.

Show 85: How Did NETCONF Start

1 December 2017

A long while ago Marcel Wiget sent me an interesting email along the lines “I think you should do a Software Gone Wild podcast with Phil Shafer, the granddaddy of NETCONF

Not surprisingly, as we started discovering the history behind NETCONF we quickly figured out that all the API and automation hype being touted these days is nothing new – some engineers have been doing that stuff for almost 20 years.

Show 84: Ethernet History

27 October 2017

During Cisco Live Berlin 2017 Peter Jones (chair of several IEEE task forces) and myself went on a journey through 40 years of Ethernet history (and Token Bus and a few other choice technologies).

The sound quality is what you could expect from something recorded on a show floor with pigeons flying around, but I hope you’ll still enjoy our chat.

Show 83: Networking Trends Discussion with Andrew Lerner and Simon Richard: Part 2

6 October 2017

In June 2017, we concluded the Building Next Generation Data Center online course with a roundtable discussion with Andrew Lerner, Research Vice President, Networking, and Simon Richard, Research Director, Data Center Networking @ Gartner.

In the second half of our discussion (first half is here) we focused on these topics:

Show 82: Self-Driving Networks with Kireeti Kompella

22 September 2017

A while ago I got a kind email from Kireeti Kompella, CTO @ Juniper Networks, saying “A colleague sent me an email of yours regarding SDN, the trough of disillusionment, and the rise of automation. Here's a more dramatic view: the Self-Driving Network -- one whose operation is totally automated.

Even though Software Gone Wild podcast focuses on practical ideas that you could deploy relatively soon in your network, we decided to make an exception and talk about (as one of my friends described it) a unicorn driving a flying DeLorean with a flux capacitor.

Show 81: Networking Trends Discussion with Andrew Lerner and Simon Richard

8 September 2017

In June 2017, we concluded the Building Next Generation Data Center online course with a roundtable discussion with Andrew Lerner, Research Vice President, Networking, and Simon Richard, Research Director, Data Center Networking @ Gartner.

During the first 45 minutes, we covered a lot of topics including:

Show 80: Packet Fabric

9 June 2017

Imagine a service provider that allows you to provision 100GE point-to-point circuit between any two of their POPs through a web site and delivers in seconds (assuming you’ve already solved the physical connectivity problem). That’s the whole idea of SDN, right? Only not so many providers got there yet.

Show 79: Start Using OpenConfig with NAPALM

26 May 2017

OpenConfig sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately only a few vendors support it, and it doesn’t run on all their platforms, and you need the latest-and-greatest software release. Not exactly a set of conditions that would encourage widespread adoption.

Things might change with the OpenConfig data models supported in NAPALM. Imagine you could parse router configurations or show printouts into OpenConfig data structures, or use OpenConfig to configure Cisco IOS routers running a decade old software.

Show 78: Network Testing

12 May 2017

Network automation and orchestration is a great idea… but how do you verify that what your automation script wants to do won’t break the network? In Episode 78 of Software Gone Wild we discussed the intricacies of testing network automation solutions with Kristian Larsson (developer of Terastream orchestration softare) and David Barroso of the NAPALM and SDN Internet Router fame.

Show 77: Salt and SaltStack

28 April 2017

Ansible, Puppet, Chef, Git, GitLab… the list of tools you can supposedly use to automate your network is endless, and there’s a new kid on the block every few months.

In Episode 77 of Software Gone Wild we explored Salt, its internal architecture, and how you can use it with Mircea Ulinic, a happy Salt user/contributor working for Cloudflare, and Seth House, developer @ SaltStack, the company behind Salt.

Show 76: Programmable ASICs

14 April 2017

During Cisco Live Europe 2017 (where I got thanks to the Tech Field Day crew kindly inviting me) I had a nice chat with Peter Jones, principal engineer @ Cisco Systems. We started with a totally tangential discussion on why startups fail, and quickly got back to flexible hardware and why one would want to have it in a switch.

Show 75: NETCONF on Cisco Campus Switches

31 March 2017

During Cisco Live Europe (huge thanks to Tech Field Day crew for bringing me there) I had a chat with Jeff McLaughlin about NETCONF support on Cisco IOS XE, in particular on the campus switches.

We started with the obvious question “why would someone want to have NETCONF on a campus switch”, continued with “why would you use NETCONF and not REST API”, and diverted into “who loves regular expressions”. Teasing aside, we discussed:

Show 74: TCP in the Data Center and Beyond

17 March 2017

In autumn 2016 I embarked on a quest to figure out how TCP really works and whether big buffers in data center switches make sense. One of the obvious stops on this journey was a chat with Thomas Graf, Linux Core Team member and a founding member of the Cilium project.

Show 73: CloudScale ASICs

3 March 2017

Last year Cisco launched a new series of Nexus 9000 switches with table sizes that didn’t match any of the known merchant silicon ASICs. It was obvious they had to be using their own silicon – the CloudScale ASIC. Lukas Krattiger was kind enough to describe some of the details last November, resulting in Episode 73 of Software Gone Wild.

For even more details, watch the Cisco Nexus 9000 Architecture Cisco Live presentation.

Show 72: OpenConfig: From Basics to Implementations

17 February 2017

In 2013, large-scale cloud providers and ISPs decided they had enough of the glacial IETF process of generating YANG models used to describe device configuration and started OpenConfig – a customer-only initiative that quickly created data models covering typical use cases of the founding members (aka “What Does Google Need”).