NATs, PATs, and Network Hygiene

13 July 2021 | Comments Off on NATs, PATs, and Network Hygiene

While reading a research paper on address spoofing from 2019, I ran into this on NAT (really PAT) failures—

In the first failure mode, the NAT simply forwards the packets with the spoofed source address (the victim) intact … In the second failure mode, the NAT rewrites the source address to the NAT’s publicly routable address, and forwards the packet to the amplifier. When the server replies, the NAT system does the inverse translation of the source address, expecting to deliver the packet to an internal system. However, because the mapping is between two routable addresses external to the NAT, the packet is routed by the NAT towards the victim.

The Hedge 85: Terry Slattery and the ROI of Automation

26 May 2021 | Comments Off on The Hedge 85: Terry Slattery and the ROI of Automation

It’s easy to assume automation can solve anything and that it’s cheap to deploy—that there are a lot of upsides to automation, and no downsides. In this episode of the Hedge, Terry Slattery joins Tom Ammon and Russ White to discuss something we don’t often talk about, the Return on Investment (ROI) of automation.

Is it really the best just because its the most common?

24 May 2021 | Comments Off on Is it really the best just because its the most common?

I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard someone ask these two questions—

  • What are other people doing?
  • What is the best common practice?

While these questions have always bothered me, I could never really put my finger on why. I ran across a journal article recently that helped me understand a bit better. The root of the problem is this—what does best common mean, and how can following the best common produce a set of actions you can be confident will solve your problem?

The Effectiveness of AS Path Prepending (2)

17 May 2021 | Comments Off on The Effectiveness of AS Path Prepending (2)

Last week I began discussing why AS Path Prepend doesn’t always affect traffic the way we think it will. Two other observations from the research paper I’m working off of were:

  • Adding two prepends will move more traffic than adding a single prepend
  • It’s not possible to move traffic incrementally by prepending; when it works, prepending will end up moving most of the traffic from one inbound path to another

A slightly more complex network will help explain these two observations.

The Effectiveness of AS Path Prepending (1)

10 May 2021 |

Just about everyone prepends AS’ to shift inbound traffic from one provider to another—but does this really work? First, a short review on prepending, and then a look at some recent research in this area.

Complexity Reduction?

19 April 2021 |

Back in January, I ran into an interesting article called The many lies about reducing complexity:

Reducing complexity sells. Especially managers in IT are sensitive to it as complexity generally is their biggest headache. Hence, in IT, people are in a perennial fight to make the complexity bearable.

The Hedge 79: Brooks Westbrook and the Data Driven Lens

15 April 2021 | Comments Off on The Hedge 79: Brooks Westbrook and the Data Driven Lens

Many networks are designed and operationally drive by the configuration and management of features supporting applications and use cases. For network engineering to catch up to the rest of the operational world, it needs to move rapidly towards data driven management based on a solid understanding of the underlying protocols and systems. Brooks Westbrook joins Tom Amman and Russ White to discuss the data driven lens in this episode of the Hedge.

The Hedge 75: Mike Parks and the Remote Work Scramble

17 March 2021 | Comments Off on The Hedge 75: Mike Parks and the Remote Work Scramble

The international pandemic has sent companies scrambling to support lots of new remote workers, which has meant changes in processes, application development, application deployment, connectivity, and even support. Mike Parks joins Eyvonne Sharp and Russ White to discuss these changes on this episode of the Hedge.

Complexity Bites Back

15 March 2021 |

What percentage of business-impacting application outages are caused by networks? According to a recent survey by the Uptime Institute, about 30% of the 300 operators they surveyed, 29% have experienced network related outages in the last three years—the highest percentage of causes for IT failures across the period.

A secondary question on the survey attempted to “dig a little deeper” to understand the reasons for network failure; the chart below shows the result.

Rethinking BGP on the DC Fabric (part 5)

1 March 2021 | Comments Off on Rethinking BGP on the DC Fabric (part 5)

BGP is widely used as an IGP in the underlay of modern DC fabrics. This series argues this is not the best long-term solution to the problem of routing in fabrics because BGP is not ideal for this use case. This post will consider the potential harm we are doing to the larger Internet by pressing BGP into a role it was not originally designed to fulfill—an underlay protocol or an IGP.

My last post described the kinds of configuration required to make BGP work on a DC fabric—it turns out that the configuration of each BGP speaker on the fabric is close to unique. It is possible to automate configuring each speaker—but it would be better if we could get closer to autonomic operation.