The History of Identity with Pamela Dingle

While identity is not directly a networking technology, it is closely adjacent to networking, and a critical part of the Internet’s architecture. In this episode of the History of Networking, Pamela Dingle joins Donald Sharpe and Russ White to discuss the humble beginnings of modern identity systems, including NDS and Streettalk.

Complexity Bites Back

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.

Roundtable: Key IT Lessons Learned from 30 Years of the Evolving Enterprise WAN

I’ll be joining Jeff Tantsura, Nick Buraglio, and Brooks Westbrook for a roundtable on March 16, 9 am PST (that’s tomorrow if you’re reading this the day it publishes) about the development of wide area networking technologies up until today. This is the first part of a two part series on changes in the wide area network.

You can join the roundtable here.

The Hedge 74: Brian Keys and the Complexity of User Interfaces

Crossing from the domain of test pilots to the domain of network engineering might seem like a large leap indeed—but user interfaces and their tradeoffs are common across physical and virtual spaces. Brian Keys, Eyvonne Sharp, Tom Ammon, and Russ White as we start with user interfaces and move into a wider discussion around attitudes and beliefs in the network engineering world.

You Can Always Add Another Layer of Indirection (RFC1925, Rule 6a)

Many within the network engineering community have heard of the OSI seven-layer model, and some may have heard of the Recursive Internet Architecture (RINA) model. The truth is, however, that while protocol designers may talk about these things and network designers study them, very few networks today are built using any of these models. What is often used instead is what might be called the Infinitely Layered Functional Indirection (ILFI) model of network engineering. In this model, nothing is solved at a particular layer of the network if it can be moved to another layer, whether successfully or not.

On Using the Right Word

A while back, I was sitting in a meeting where the presenter described switching from a “traditional, hierarchical data center fabric” to a spine-and-leaf (while drawing CLOS, in all capital letters, on the whiteboard). He pointed out that the spine-and-leaf design is simpler because it only has two tiers rather than three.

There is so much wrong with this I almost winced in physical pain. Traditional hierarchical designs are not fabrics. Spine-and-leaf fabrics are not CLOS, but Clos, fabrics. Clos fabrics have three stages, not two—even if we draw them “folded” so you only see two apparent levels to the fabric. In fact, all spine-and-leaf fabrics always have an odd number of stages, and they are stages, not tiers.

The Hedge 73: Daniel Teycheney and Open Source in Networking

Combining, or stitching together, open source projects to build something unique for your network is becoming more common. What does this look like in the real world? What are some of the positive and negative aspects of building things this way? How do open source projects interact with the commercial world? Daniel Teycheney joins Tom Ammon, Jett Tantsura, and Russ White to discuss open source software in networking, particularly around network monitoring and management.