Check out the new V6 release

Integrations between platforms and systems are essential to successful toolset management. It brings more value for both platforms that share data if done correctly. For my next integration journey for the IP Fabric, I chose one of the best tools on the market for log management - Splunk. I used Splunk extensively during my years in network operations. Its versatility for data visualization is fantastic. For example, I was detecting DDoS attacks and suspicious routing protocol flaps within areas, all while easily correlating with network changes. Let's break down how to successfully integrate IP Fabric with Splunk.

Prerequisite for successful IP Fabric and Splunk integration

In general, there are two main types of integrations. The first is a one-way integration, where one system sends data to another. Here we use the power of the first platform (collect and manipulate data) to elevate the power of the second platform (ultimate data visualization). This is precisely what we will do to integrate IP Fabric with Splunk.

The second type is a two-way integration, where both systems use data from another and react. The second type requires either an intermediary system (or script) to create the integration logic, or both systems to be compatible.

A prerequisite for the data source (in our case, IP Fabric) is to have standard methods to read the data from the source. IP Fabric's API is brilliant for coders. It offers a full range of operations, and it's very well documented.

A prerequisite for the destination system (Splunk in our case) is understanding standard data formats - which Splunk is great for. With both conditions in place, let's start with the integration example.

Integration summary

Integrate IP Fabric with Splunk
High-Level IP Fabric to Splunk one-way integration

In short, IP Fabric is an Intent-Based Networking technology that serves as the foundation for network programmability, automation, and analytics by delivering critical information required to manage your network operations.

Splunk is the data platform that helps turn data into action for Observability, IT, Security, and more. And that's what we need.

I selected some of the essential metrics that IP Fabric regularly collects:

Then I included a couple of filtered data and intents:

Apart from the intent rules I picked from IP Fabric, 100 more default metrics provide valuable feedback from day 1.

Integration phase 1 - setting environment

First, I deployed IP Fabric, which took me about 30 mins to deploy on VMWare, and I could start the first discovery immediately! The goal was to regularly collect data from our virtual lab network (about 600 devices). The IP Fabric completed the first snapshot in about 18 minutes!

Second, I deployed Splunk with the developer license. I used a temporary license of the REST API Modular Input plugin to read the API data.

Integration phase 2 - provide the data flow

The next step was to configure Splunk to read IP Fabric's API. When I think about the whole integration, the only 'struggle' was to get proper API endpoints with the correct payload from the IP Fabric, which is no struggle at all! We have OpenAPI/Swagger available and dynamic API documentation on almost every page in the tool!

I created the Data Input in the REST API Modular Input plugin for each metric I needed to read in Splunk's GUI.

At the end of my journey, I created a new Dashboard in Splunk and combined all Data Inputs with more filters, for example:

integrate IP Fabric with Splunk
Dashboard in Splunk based on data from IP Fabric

Then I configured regular snapshots in IP Fabric and let Splunk create a trending line for each input in its dashboard.

Integration conclusion

Everything is about data. That's where the power is. With IP Fabric, everyone has a unique opportunity to access any operational data from the network they need quickly and accurately. The only actual limit is one's imagination.

The ultimate goal for any network or security engineer is to use available data efficiently to keep the network up and running and avoid the unexpected - and that's where the IP Fabric's involvements stand out.

More technical questions?

Are looking for more technical details about how to integrate IP Fabric with Splunk? Please contact me directly on LinkedIn or Twitter, as I am more than happy to provide more guidance on my struggles.

If you have found this article helpful, please follow our company’s LinkedIn or Blog, where more content will be emerging on useful topics like the Splunk integration discussed here. If you would like to test our solution to see for yourself how IP Fabric can help you manage your network more effectively, please get in touch - schedule a demo with IP Fabric.

Table of contents

The IP Fabric platform is a very unique and innovative system. It ultimately combines traditional approaches and new ideas, which may generate further misconceptions or simply misunderstandings. After hours or possibly days spent with first-time users of the platform, I decided to explain the most frequent issues or questions raised during the proofs of concept and customer enablement sessions. And here they are.

The concept of discovery

At first, let me discuss the IP Fabric's discovery process for a bit. We clearly cannot move forward until we touch on the core feature of the system, which the discovery process is. IP Fabric's discovery feature maps out the network infrastructure similarly as the network engineer would. What that means is that we only need credentials (or a set of credentials) and a seed device (router, l3 switch, or a firewall) to begin.

If we can log in successfully and read the data from the first device (ARP records, STP, CDP, LLDP, routing protocol sessions, or others), the system should have enough data to decide where to go next to repeat the process. For data gathering, the system only uses SSH (or Telnet) and API requests. The simplified discovery process can be seen in the flow chart below.

The discovery process simplified

Some networks are more accessible than others. We may have issues with the first-time discovery of isolated network segments behind the router that we cannot authenticate to. But most of the first issues we can resolve by analyzing the logs and adjusting the discovery settings.

Once the discovery is complete, the admin can fully enjoy new data every day in the form of Snapshots automatically. Following video describes some of the use cases.

The first snapshot is empty – 0 devices discovered

How is it possible that IP Fabric did not find anything? And that's an excellent question! Fortunately, this is very easy to troubleshoot. Here are viable reasons to think of:

Reason #1 – No Seed IP provided

There's Settings > Discovery Seed in the system, which is optional that appears during the Initial Configuration Wizard. However, if we don't provide any Seed IP, at first, the system will try to connect to its default gateway. If it fails to authenticate to its gateway, it will send a traceroute towards 'dummy' subnets hoping more IP hops will appear along the path as potentially the next starting points.

Now without any Seed IP configures (and without any previous snapshots available), and if IP Fabric fails to authenticate to its first gateway and when there are no other IP hops to test, there's nowhere to go next, and the discovery process stops.

To avoid this, I strongly recommend using at least one or two IP addresses of well-known devices that we safely authenticate to and can use as a starting point for discovering the rest of the network.

Reason #2 – We failed to authenticate/connect to the seed device

Now we provided the Seed IP correctly, we have the username and the password right, and we still don't have anything! How's that possible? Well, fortunately, that's easy to troubleshoot as well. Suppose we still do not have any devices discovered. We very likely couldn't authenticate or successfully initiate SSH connection to the Seed device, and we don't have any other IPs to test. Where to find the Connectivity Report for every snapshot is at following picture:

connectivity report

The platform is fully transparent. Every action, command, or testing is logged and available to the user. The best place to look at is the Connectivity Report. The Connectivity Report serves as a register for all outbound connections attempted with detailed data that either indicate success or failure.

An example of the Connectivity Report output can be seen above. We can clearly observe which IP addresses were tested with an error and what was the main reason.

The most common issue during the first snapshots is the Connection Error or Authentication Error. The Connection Error indicates we were unable to initiate SSH/Telnet connection to the network device, and we didn't have any prompt for username and password. The main reasons are that we are either blocked by a firewall or by the device itself (Access-List or Firewall filter applied).

The Authentication Error indicates that we could initiate a connection and received the prompt for the username and the password. Still, our credentials are incorrect and need to be updated. We need to update our authentication database in Settings > Authentication and retest the discovery.

Reason #3 – Unsupported vendor

To successfully discover any network device and collect the data, we need to make sure that we understand the software. If it's IOS, Junos, or other operating-system among the most common – there are differences in operational commands used and, most notably, the responses provided. The IP Fabric platform has to be as accurate as possible and to ensure 100% accuracy. We need to support the vendor/platform or operating system that we ultimately ingest into our network model.

When IP Fabric successfully authenticates into an unsupported network device, it exits with failure after several attempts to detect any known operating system. The supported network vendor list is growing every release. If your current network equipment is not supported now, it doesn't necessarily mean it will not be in the future. Feel free to contact any IP Fabric representative for more information or request a trial.

Your business relies on IT to deliver services to your customer. But what happens when there is a failure, can you afford downtime?

Whether or not you can afford it, you should ask yourself this question: how to manage network risk to maximise service availability?

In this blog post, we are going to identify some risks you may be facing today, so you can understand better how to tackle them.

1.    Baseline – complete visibility of the network

It is extremely important to have the full picture of your network. You cannot correctly manage devices or infrastructures you do not know about, or only have partial information.

1.1.                 Inventory

The inventory is often used as the source to define the list of devices you will have under maintenance. What happens if a device fails and is not under maintenance?
You will need to order a replacement, which could take days, weeks, or more to arrive before you are able to restore the service. In the best-case scenario, the service is resilient, so only resiliency is affected, but while waiting for the replacement to arrive, you would be in a situation where you cannot afford for anything to fail.
In the worst-case scenario, if the service is not resilient, the service will be unavailable until the replacement of the faulty device.

So, we understand that maintaining an accurate inventory is crucial, but it can be very challenging:

1.2.                 Documentation

We have a very similar problem with the documentation of the network and making sure it stays up to date. Otherwise, you are at risk of not being able to solve efficiently any issue arising on your network. A partially updated diagram could be very misleading for any change preparation or troubleshooting. This could cause unnecessary downtime which can be avoided.

Obviously, you may have processes in place to ensure diagrams and relevant documentation are accurate. But we all know that this is very time consuming, and let’s be honest, there are some more exciting projects you would rather be working on.

2.    Eliminate network inaccuracies

Monitoring tools are there to alert you of an issue, but what happens if there are some anomalies which are not considered as an issue, i.e., no SNMP traps are sent, nor syslog, and you have not experienced any symptoms because the problem is only on a backup link or device.

How do you detect these inaccuracies to fix them before they become service affecting?

2.1.                 MTU Misconfiguration

MTU can be the source of issues when the MTU is not configured consistently, for example, you have a primary path working as expected, but the backup is misconfigured. It means you will only notice the issue once the primary path fails.

It can be difficult to confirm MTU is correctly configured on all your devices: how long would it take you to collect the information for all the interfaces’ MTU, parse that data and analyze it so you know for each link how is the MTU configured on both end?

Having instant access to the links with inconsistent MTU, allows you to be proactive, so you can fix any links which could be causing issue on your network.

2.2.                 BGP neighbors not receiving any prefixes

The second hidden issue I wanted to discuss here, has caused a major downtime in my previous experience: a BGP neighbor with no received-prefixes.

This is the situation we were in, two BGP neighbors to a service provider, but on the backup router, we were not receiving any prefixes. BGP session was still established, so no issue from our monitoring tools, everything “seemed fine”.

And one day, it happened: we lose our primary connection, and here starts our massive downtime. We no longer have access to this service.

We knew the resilient path had been working in the past, but what we didn’t know is that it wasn’t working anymore. How can we detect this so we can resolve similar issues before they cause downtime?

For further information on this point, you can check the following blog post: BGP resiliency and received prefixes | IP Fabric | Network Assurance

Those examples show how you could be facing an issue on your network and be totally unaware of the situation.

3.    Restore services

We want to be proactive as much as possible to avoid any downtime, but there are situations when issues happen. So, we need to be reactive and work efficiently in order to restore the service.

3.1.                 End-to-end path for advanced troubleshooting

Using IP Fabric’s End-to-end path, will very quickly display all devices involved with passing traffic from a source to a destination. IP Fabric doesn’t just look at the network data, it includes firewalls in the path, so you can visualize any policies which may block the traffic.

With such a tool at disposition, it becomes easy to quickly pinpoint the source of the issue without having to connect to any devices, check the logs on different firewalls or spend time finding the latest diagram. Everything is available in one single and dynamic view:

3.2.                 Past representation of your network topology

When you are troubleshooting, you often lack the understanding of how it was working before. It would be very useful to have a view of a previous topology, for example, from the day before. Then, by comparing both topologies, you can observe and quickly identify what has changed:

In the example above, you can see in the previous snapshot, there was only 1 link to the MPLS cloud, the 2nd one in red was not present, but is operational in the latest snapshot.

IP Fabric, as a network assurance platform, shines a torch on all those weaknesses and proactively inform you of potential issues existing in your network.

There is a lot more IP Fabric can help you with. To explore further, join our webinar on the 30th of June at 11am CEST: IP Fabric - FSI Webinar You can get in touch with us through and follow our company’s LinkedIn or Blog, where more content will be emerging.

Back in 2017, a report by Gartner stated that the trends in network evolution were being outstripped by developments in the rest of the infrastructure, with a view to delivering business services in an agile, scalable, and resilient manner.  4 years on and with developments in pockets of the network via SDN deployment, it seems the rest of the network is beginning to catch up, however only in concentrated pockets. 

IP Fabric recently held our inaugural #CommunityFabric webinar with delegates from the EMEA network automation community representing architectural leadership, automation gurus, and renowned certification instructors throwing their hat in the ring for a discussion on all things network automation. The discussion highlighted the disconnect between technical teams and leadership on the importance of network automation and some clear takeaways for Technical and Business Leadership.

Resources – Engineers need to invest their time in adding network programmability to their arsenal of skills, but more so, businesses need to invest in their teams by aiding this transition however possible.

Top-down Strategy – A business hoping to reap the benefit of automation without a top-down strategy will end up with islands of automation, siloed teams and added complexity or worse, disenfranchised team members.

It's a Marathon, not a Sprint - Adopting network automation is not a silver bullet. Like any well actioned strategy it requires clear measurable goals, consistent and repeated communication and time to succeed, both financially and operationally.

Future trends and what is Network Assurance?

The introduction of automation into your strategy and technology stack represents an immense opportunity to deliver higher-value services to the business at greater speed and with improved security.  Want to get the most of your hallmark investments in AWS or get the promised security improvements from your new policy and firewalls investment? Automation is the glue to piece together areas of specialised technology in a scalable and repeatable manner.

Manual processes are rife in network operations and whilst they dominate the time schedule of many of your engineering resources, deliver very little value back to the business. Automation promises to draw down these painstaking process steps, along with their associated cost and risk, allowing highly skilled and certified engineers to focus on what they were trained to do, architectural design, cybersecurity, and execution against your organisation's well-designed compliance framework.

Unfortunately, automation doesn’t represent a flick-of-a-switch investment and a clear path to value.  It is a mantra and an ongoing investment particularly targeted at your engineering team members, their certification, skills, and mindset.  Both mantra (read company mindset) and ongoing investment resonate with one thing, Top-down strategy.  If you wait for automation to naturally flourish from individual engineers’ interests you’ll find yourself stuck in the laggard position in the market, not a good place to be from either an innovation or recruitment standpoint.  If however, you build an organisation that not only praises engineers adding network programmability skills to their traditional network engineering knowledge and certification base, but creates an environment where automation-first is the prevailing mindset, you will be on the right path to reap the benefits.

Investing in an organisation’s technical Resources must be prioritised within the company’s strategy.  IP Fabric’s lead partners either side of ‘the pond’ Axians in Europe and Myriad360 in the US, understand the value of automation both to their internal service delivery functions and externally to their customer-facing services and as such invest heavily in network programmability skills to help their customers along the journey to automation.  This investment by your service provider partners will represent cost-saving on both sides of the fence, not necessarily in the overall invoice value but in how much of that invoice is being needlessly spent on low-value repetitive tasks as opposed to high-value transformational engagements.

As for Future Trends, well unfortunately the #CommunityFabric RoundTable discussion ran out of time before we got into the clouds of future possibility, however, do not fret, on May 27th the 2nd #CommunityFabric Roundtable will focus on exactly this, Next Generation Network Management (registration link below).  What was clear from our delegates, however, was that automation isn’t a straight path with predictable trends, but a fluid community-based investment in greater networking practices and increasing returns from advanced technology, which requires fortitude from senior management to fully realise its true value to an organisation.

Some elements of the perfect automated network will be scripted from the ground up by the in-house resources and network programmability skills you’ve invested in.  Some crucial functionalities will have already been built by commercial vendors of a different ilk.  New-world vendors who’ll fit your Automation strategy will be interchangeable, subscription-based services with simple integration and rapid time-to-value, meaning that as the world of automation evolves the technology can flex to your needs and you can choose your vendors, partners, and crucial building blocks for innovation based on service quality, trust, and value-add.

So, closing thoughts. Network Automation is a crucial building block to your network strategy.  Whether you buy it from IP Fabric, have your team build an equivalent in-house, Network Automation is the mechanism through which you can give speed and flexibility to your teams. With a centralised, compliant view on your production network made accessible to all those who need it, written in the language in which they can consume it, you deliver a unifying dataset for clarity, reporting, and future-proofing your technology investments.

To find out more, check out IP Fabric’s YouTube channel for demos of our PRTG integrations. Look at our other blog posts on the website to learn how our partners and customers are integrating IP Fabric with their wider operational ecosystem, and to join the #communityfabric webinar click here -

The network management platform is a universal tool, that should allow monitoring and configuring of all network devices. But there may be more pieces to the puzzle. We will try to unveil some of the options for network management and how well-targeted analytics can be complementary to the solution.

What is in your network?

Every network management should include some kind of monitoring solution. But they are mostly only static tools based on information that the administrator provides. The monitoring is usually based on ICMP probes or SNMP data regularly collected from the network. Therefore, it answers many questions those including:

But there's one very important one that should be asked at the very beginning. What is in my network?

Network discovery should be part of network managment
Network discovery should be part of network management

In any complex network, the automated network discovery should be answering just that. The IP Fabric analytic platform is equipped with a discovery algorithm that frequently collects data. It can identify new devices or technologies on the network and track changes in time. The frequency of snapshots depends on everyone's needs. It can be either once a day, four times a day or anytime on-demand.

With every new discovery snapshot, there are new data available and possibly new interfaces or devices to monitor. In conclusion, various monitoring or network management platforms are capable of reading data from other APIs. Imagine that after every discovery, you could automatically add new devices under the monitoring.

Every network management started somewhere

Network management and support systems can change in the process of every network development. For every change, the network needs to be adjusted. It can be either adding new SNMP servers for collecting data or change the Syslog server for security perimeter. After every implementation, we need to verify that all was configured or changed correctly.

This type of verification is usually not provided by standard support systems. The administrator has to either manually collect and verify a big amount of data or pray for the best. That's where the network analytics comes into place. With automated verification schemes, the IP Fabric provides compliance on the fly. he platform collects and verifies data periodically with every new snapshot. Users can adjust each individual compliance easily in the system and just watch the results.

IP Fabric | Secure Network Management
Automated Network Management Compliance Verifications

CMDB and Monitoring system collaboration

CMDB (Configuration Management Database) is a must for any live network environment. If anything breaks one needs to have all possible config backups. Comparing the differences after any change should be standard as well.

The CMDB, Inventory and monitoring system should be always up to date and this should exclude manual intervention almost completely. The more the data reliant on manual update the more chances are it's never going to be 100% accurate.

Data collection from multivendor networks means to spend a lot of time on development and constantly troubleshoot output or you can simply use systems like IP Fabric that have been designed specifically for this task, hardened through time. Gathered data serve as a baseline for all operations and overall administration.

If you have found this article resourceful, please follow our company’s LinkedIn or Blog, where there will be more content emerging. Furthermore, if you would like to test our platform to observe how it can assist you in more efficiently managing your network, please write us through our web page

Enterprise networks should never have Single Points of Failure (a.k.a SPOF) in their daily operation. SPOF in general is an element in a system which, if stopped, causes the whole system to stop.

Single failure (or maintenance or misconfiguration) of any network device or link should never put a network down and require manual intervention. Network architects know this rule and design the networks like that — placing redundant/backup devices and links which can take over all functions if the primary device/link fails.

But the reality is not always pleasant, and today’s operational networks can include SPOFs without anyone explicitly knowing. The reason is that even though the original design put all SPOFs away, the network may have evolved in the meantime, and new infrastructure may have been connected to it.

For example:

Part of the network operation activities should take into account that SPOFs may appear unexpectedly. This require advanced skills and lot of time to go trough routine settings and outputs if the networks is still resilient and high available. It also requires expensive disaster-recovery exercises to be performed regularly.

IP Fabric helps with finding of non-redundant links and devices in the network in its diagrams section.

Highlighting single points of failure
Highlighting non-redundant links and devices

It does not matter if the SPOF is Layer 2 switch or Layer 3 router — those are all in the critical chain of application uptime. Device and links which form SPOF will be highlighted.

Additionally, networks with many small sites have automatic grouping of small sites into redundant and non-redundant groups in IP Fabric. Groups allow to easily spot sites with non-redundant transit connectivity.

Spotting non-redundant small sites on a network diagram

If you’re interested in learning more about how IP Fabric’s platform can help you with analytics or intended network behavior reporting, contact us through our website, request a demo, follow this blog or sign up for our webinars.

Network engineer/architect can use diagrams to speed up many of his routine tasks — from overview presentation of the network to the detailed troubleshooting of faulty data flow from the client to server. But regardless of the task type, there is always a requirement that the diagram uses the same “language” as other people do when depicting the network. It means that the diagrams follow:

If those requirements are not met, then the mental capacity of the viewer is consumed by mapping names and device positions from the generated diagram to the concept that he is familiar with. The layout can be adjusted for one time and the sites renamed but if next network discovery forgets those adjustments, it is pointless to do so.

The IP Fabric platform offers to assign any name to any location that it discovered and this name will stay the same even if the network is rediscovered again. Position of the devices in the diagram can be freely adjusted according to engineer or organization customs (ie. somebody prefers to have users on top, somebody on the bottom. Somebody prefers to place core devices in the center of the diagram, somebody creates a separate block, etc.).

Site layout persistence (dynamic diagram)
Site layout persistence

The final layout is saved and is thus persistent regardless of how many times the network is rediscovered. If something changes in the network, then it is reflected in the new diagram. But the global layout remains in the form which is well understood by all people around the network and most importantly by the network engineers/architects — without wasting their modeling effort put into the first diagram.

If you have found this article resourceful, please follow our company’s LinkedIn or Blog, where there will be more content emerging. Furthermore, if you would like to test our platform to observe how it can assist you in more efficiently managing your network, please write us through our web page

The IP Fabric platform is a network engineer's best friend when performing deep network audits. For example, to verify root placement for overlapping VLANs in a LAN, I would normally need to look through the STP roots, and painstakingly trace L2 links, reconstructing the topology of each instance.

Manual topology reconstruction requires tracing L2 links

For example, to verify root placement for overlapping VLANs in a LAN, I would normally need to look through the STP roots, and painstakingly trace L2 links, reconstructing the topology of each instance.

With the IP Fabric platform, I can just grab the hostname of the device, and look it up in the device inventory to find the corresponding switching domain the device belongs to.

Switching domain visualization

Click on the switching domain visualizes all overlapping spanning-tree instances. We can check the topology of a specific VLAN by adding the instance to the graph.

Filtering specific spanning tree instance and searching for root

We can then search for root, and filter excess information to get a better understanding of the VLAN topology, including blocked links.

Adding wired users to the diagram

Thanks to graph math, we can instantly perform what-if scenarios, such as finding non-redundant links, displaying the location of the users, or adding a corresponding routing domain, to better understand communication needs, and see where the optimal root placement would be considering site’s edge.

Adding routing domain to the switching domain diagram
Visually inspecting root efficiency

We can also drill down into further details all the way to the virtual port level, to make a sound engineering decision and understand any potential risks.

Inspecting virtual ports of an instance

If you have found this article resourceful, please follow our company’s LinkedIn or Blog. There will be more content emerging. Furthermore, if you would like to test our platform to observe how it can assist you in more efficiently managing your network, please write us through our web page

The feature I’ve been waiting for since the beginning of my Network Engineering career is finally here: Dynamic Change Monitoring. It’s finally possible to know the answer to the age-old question “What has changed in the network since yesterday?” and actually get a definitive response instead of the usual “Nothing has changed”. And not just the configuration change management, but I’m happy that we’re the first in the market to offer the overall network state change management — whenever a network path changes, if somebody plugs in a new SFP, if a network port goes up or down, or if IP address is starts being served by a new gateway due to a convergence event, the IP Fabric platform will report the change. It’s great for performing the changes as well because I can now perform a pre-change scan, in-flight scan, and post-change scan, and verify that pre-change and post-change do not differ or that they contain only the desired differences, validating change goal.

IP Fabric New Version Release
IP Fabric New Version Release

Dynamic change monitoring is not the only big improvement in version 2.0. Having had a number of large scale production deployments we’ve had a chance to listen to insightful feedback and significantly improve usability, add highly desired features, all the while simplifying product architecture to be able to deliver features more quickly. So here are some of the highlights from the big 2.0 release:

Combined Discovery and Analysis

Now a single action discovers, analyzes, and calculates changes in the network. Based on a schedule or on demand, network insight is as current as you need it to be. The single combined action greatly simplifies usability, as it eliminates guesswork if a new discovery is necessary or not. From experience, we’ve found out that networks are so dynamic, that they need rediscovering every single time the network state is collected.

Expanded Vendor support

We strive to support all enterprise network infrastructure managed devices, model years from 1997 or 2017 and made by Cisco or anyone else. For version 2.0 we’ve added a driver system, where each vendor family only has to have a family driver for the IP Fabric platform to be able to talk to the whole family. We’ve also added support for HPE Comware v5 and v7 based switches such as 55xx and 59xx, Riverbed WAN accelerators running RiOS, and Cisco SG300-series SMB switches. Paradoxically, the Cisco SG300 had the most complex driver, because a number of key pieces of information are missing from the basic outputs, and multiple detailed outputs have to be painstakingly combined for a meaningful result.

Support for more device types

While we started with Routers and Switches, our ultimate goal is to cover the end-to-end transmission path from the source to destination, which includes additional types of forwarding equipment. Wireless is omnipresent, so we’ve added WLC and AP support, so now wireless users connected to lightweight APs can be traced just as easily as wired users. We’ve also added firewalls and WAN accelerators. And because many users are connected through IP Phones, and IP phones are an important part of network infrastructure, we’ve added those as well.

Expanded protocol and platform support

We strive to support all major Enterprise networking technologies and protocols, and although we have some road ahead of us, we’ve expanded VDC, vPC, and FEX support with StackWise, PoE, and Optical Attenuation, added support for QoS classes and applied service policies, improved ACL workflows, and added many smaller improvements, like support for DMVPN tunnels.

Dynamic diagrams

Networks follow graph theory, and graphs are naturally visual, so it is not a surprise that diagramming and visualization capabilities are a big draw, for both the customers and internal teams alike. In version 2.0 we’ve moved from simple diagrams to a fully-fledged diagramming UI, which enables to display protocols or features on demand and show network topology from highest overview to the deepest. One of the great additions is persistent diagram saving feature, which stores the diagram layout even across multiple discoveries runs.

Change tracking

This one is my favorite. Network protocols create topological neighborship to form a forwarding domain and networks paths. Changes in protocol neighborships signify changes in the network topology. Changes in network topology connectivity may inadvertently affect network behavior and can affect a number of users. Tracking connection changes enables to quickly pinpoint non-administrative and administrative changes affecting topology and network paths, user connectivity, and performance, redundancy, resiliency and service availability. Along with configuration management changes, four types of changes are currently tracked: devices, network neighborships (CEF, ARP, RIB, STP, CDP/LLDP), modules and part numbers, and IP addresses. Changes can be displayed for any time interval for which the platform has collected network state information. Changes between last month and last week can be displayed just as easily for last week vs today.

Enterprise features

Many other improvements have made it into the big 2.0 release, and although not all are polished, they are functional and can provide value out of the box. User interface now has integrated search, Live Support VPN option, and a status page. Users can now change their password, and we’ve added the enterprise-grade user management system with roles. We’ve added more granularity for CLI interaction, such as a hard limit on a maximum number of parallel sessions. There are also Jumphost, and REST API, and actually much more than can be covered in one post. We’ll be coming back introducing each major feature in more detail, but if you can’t wait, you can always contact us or requests a trial.

Discovery of existing IP network devices and links is essential to proper network management and control. How can you perform the discovery with the minimal initial information required?

While you are approaching an existing network that you know very little of, you usually spend a lot of time getting as much information as possible before you even look at and touch the network itself. You can study the documentation (if any), get the inventory lists, try to understand the topology and design, downloading configurations, gather IP ranges, ask for administrator privileges, etc. This can be a cumbersome process even if all involved people cooperate. And usually, the responsible people will not be happy about granting full access to the network for the discovery.

You can apply brute force reconnaissance methods as well — such as blindly scanning whole private IP ranges or trying to contact any IP address that goes around in your packet scanner. However, this is not something that you would like to see in a business critical network.

With the IP Fabric platform, you can start the network discovery right away without wasting any time or threatening your network by using a single set of read-only network access credentials only.

IP Fabric v2.0 - Network Discovery
IP Fabric v2.0 - Network Discovery

You do not need to define any seed devices or scanning ranges in most networks. You do not even need the full privileges as you are gathering operational data for the discovery only.

Discovery algorithms of the IP Fabric platform can use as little of initial information as available and still produce valid and useful results to support the proper network management and control.

Discovering network with the IP Fabric platform is as easy as push of a button
Discovering network with the IP Fabric platform is as easy as push of a button

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