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Network Time Traveller

By
Jason Broadbent
December 16, 2020
Est. Reading: 5 minutes

As a network manager in today’s world, we are expected to be time travellers and mind readers………………… let that digest for a second 🤔

We need to know exactly what has happened (even before your time) and what is going to happen. Baselining your infrastructure and creating an understanding of your environment which includes all, security policies (working or not), high availability, resiliency, traffic analysis, protocol stack and last but not least an appreciation of the capacity of your environment, this is all paramount to be a great time traveler and mind reader.

IP Fabric and our model, we will provide you with just that, the ability to compare and contrast; to determine and help mitigate against network outages. Our ability to take snapshots of the complex landscape and provide you with the documentation needed to make informative and intelligent decisions.

Intent based management has always been there, well the intent has.….. based on many platforms in a hugely complex eco system run on the idea of many single screen stations….

Let us not pretend visibility has not been a key requirement for many years, how to achieve visibility with the plethora of different systems was more of the challenge. Furthermore, operational complexities and silos that make it extremely difficult for one person to manage the environment intuitive ……. Difficulties in network operations: extreme complexity, human error, and outdated tools. These deficiencies make networks easy to break and hard to fix.

Delivering that intelligent view, with predictive intelligence, to baseline complex multi-vendor solutions, is not just a nice to have but is imperative; help eliminate network outages and get to the root of the truth.

NETWORK OVERVIEW

The modern day network manager, has to be able to fix problems before they happen...isn't that correct?

Quick discovery and understanding of network behaviour is important, determining the configuration and state of the infrastructure is paramount. Furthermore, reducing this discover time in your network to hours rather than months. Locating all devices (all vendors) on your network, including its connections and building a knowledge base of all forwarding behaviours, ultimately helping to fast root-cause isolation and incident remediation. 

Performing a complete end-to-end path analysis across your whole network, providing a visualisation of all paths and connections and a simple verification of  any unknown issues presence and assurance of any network changes through a simulation model.

NETWORK RESILLIENCY & REDUNDANCY

Continuing our journey through the modern day network, is it possible to quickly determine any lack of redundancy without visiting each location?

Once IP Fabric completes its discovery process, it quickly combines all routing and switching information and other protocols into highly interactive network topology diagrams. Quickly identifying any business impact issues and identifying any single points of failure before any issues.

IP Fabric provides detailed information on dynamic network maps, which help users grasp the physical and logical connections between infrastructure devices in your network, rather than presenting only the real physical links between infrastructure devices, the model enables full visibility on a protocol level. Quickly showing where there is path redundancy and at what protocol layer.

As a network manager, I can now see all active paths and network layers information on the same diagram, it even is showing us we have a redundancy issue too......how cool is that 😎

TRAFFIC UTILISATION

Homing into my future thinking part of the brain, have I provisioned enough bandwidth, enough links, my formula in 1996 always worked.....2X, double it and multiply to the power of 2 just to be on the safe side 😳

An extremely simple view, showing utilisation of traffic, across all link aggregation groups. Understanding your traffic flow and your traffic patterns, is another extremely important need for gaging, how your infrastructure is performing and verifying that your network is configured and behaving exactly as intended. This can save huge amounts of money by not throwing bandwidth at the problem but managing your environment intelligently. Pro-actively managing your environment and utilising budgets in an informative manner.

CONSUMPTION OF BANDWITH

Capacity planning has always been a challenging and expensive process and with yet another tool set to deliver this. IP Fabric model determines the capacity of the environment which includes all interface statistics. What was once difficult to gauge, is now extremely to see and determine the capacity consumption of all interfaces. Furthermore, to understand the business impact of poor utilisation, and effectively managing the bandwidth, utilising all expensive links and having visibility of this is extremely powerful.  Conveying the importance of gathering all information from one platform and providing a true baseline.

WOW... I can see how how well my traffic is being distributed, no more crystal ball for me 😎

SECURITY POSTURE

Another new bad actor, another vulnerability, how do I know my policies are working?

With all the bad actors and dark web tools that are highly available, this is a key aspect to get right, not only to keep you out of the media headlines but also to protect your customers and demonstrate trust. Having the capability to see, the security policy and to which device and port it has been allocated to is paramount. Determining a true baseline, will allow you to get to the root of the truth within your threat landscape a lot quicker. Furthermore, validating the security policy happened in time and is working as intended and traffic flowing correctly.

Even random appearing hubs and APs can be discovered and security policys can be checked to keep track of correct behaviour and traffic flows.

SPANNING TREE

The love of everyone's life, I am sure we wish we could all go back in time and eradicated this minefield from Radia's mind before it became a thought 🙄

Spanning tree has been considered one of the most complex and annoying protocols in today’s network infrastructure, not only can it be temperamental and has many different versions but investigation a re-convergence, human error or just missing from certain network constructs can seem to take a lifetime to resolve. IP Fabric model gathers all spanning tree information and collates in an easy place to read and understand how and where it is utilised.

Providing this amount of data and insight into all aspects of spanning tree, we can now pat Radia on the back 👋maybe........

MULTICAST

Who mentioned a tree, do i need to water it........🤦‍♂️

Multicast routing and related implementations can be a real pain. A good strategic overview is necessary to win a battle, here represented as a list of routers where a multicast routing table is present, with a number of entries for each router. Thanks to our intelligent network model, we can detect not only sources with IP addresses from directly connected networks, but also not directly connected addresses.

Multicast time machine

IP Fabric helping users with their IPTV or conference problems is much more deterministic. As you can go back in time and compare what was working before and compare with the state of the network right now. You can see missing sources, receivers or whole parts of the tree.

AUTOMATIC & UP TO DATE DOCUMENTATION

Network documentation is one of the most essential parts of any project or technical environment, related to computer networks. It has to be comprehensive, accurate and always up-to-date. Any proper network documentation should consist of multiple inventories, network topologies, and many other protocol-specific data points. To simplify the process, IP Fabric platform automates network documentation process. and network discovery process.


I hope you enjoyed my time travel adventure, looking back into the past and more importantly helping to protect the future. As you can see creating a baseline is extremely straightforward, but extremely important, an intuitive platform that provides you with the visualisation to mitigate against risk, provide awareness of failure points before they fail, simulate any future changes for operational assurance and more importantly keep the business running safely and out of the spotlight.

IP Fabric delivers the most comprehensive automated network assurance platform...TODAY.......

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