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Version 3.8 - With one foot in the cloud and SD-WAN

By
Milan Zapletal
April 27, 2021
Est. Reading: 4 minutes

As for the USA Basketball association, there are four main steps to a perfect shot! You have to have the right balance, elbow in, eyes on target (I assume this one is the most important) and follow through. Once you release the ball, there's no coming back. You stay in your inner self for a very long time, which represents 1 or 2 seconds in the real world. And then... you either hit or miss. "Shooting is a science as well as an art."

Releasing a new major release is very similar to that, there's only the time difference. We have just released the ball for integrating cloud networks and SD-WAN into the IP Fabric model. Let's see if we hit or miss!

New platforms - With one foot in the cloud

Amazon Web Services - Wikipedia

We are starting with Amazon Web Services (AWS) network discovery in the IP Fabric system.

There is no way that our multi-vendor and versatile platform would not retest another boundary and would not surf the trend wave when it appears. We are opening another chapter in cooperation with one of our highly regarded customers and we are officially probing cloud networks.

There is one simple goal - to interconnect traditional physical or virtual networks with the cloud network infrastructure and combine visibility from both worlds into one single pane of glass, the IP Fabric.

Connecting IP Fabric to the AWS

Connecting to the AWS cloud network and create a connection is extraordinarily simple. There are few fields that need to be added under Settings > Vendors API (Access Key ID, Secret Access Key, and Region).

The topology of Versa Networks in IP Fabric

The topology of AWS Networks in IP Fabric

As a result of the AWS cloud network, we are starting with populating inventory, interface inventory, and route tables with VPCs, Transit Gateways, or NATs. The application path mapping is planned in the next major release and is not supported in 3.8.

There's more to come while still in 2021 in relation to the cloud networks from different platform vendors.

New platforms - Starting the SD-WAN journey

Another stepping stone for the IP Fabric technology is the SD-WAN world.

The SD-WAN is a very complex network overlay implementation resolving a lot of challenges (and facing new ones) in comparison with standard leased MPLS circuits.

The purpose of the SD-WAN discovery is not to substitute the Versa Dashboard. But again, to connect the traditional and controller-based infrastructure together and to understand the application path over a complex environment. The end-to-end simulation path for Versa will be supported in the next major release.

The topology of Versa Networks in IP Fabric

The topology of Versa Networks in IP Fabric

Similar to the AWS discovery, the discovery for Versa is completed over API. IP Fabric requires only connection to the Versa Director, it will not connect to individual devices over SSH.

New platforms - ArubaCX as a missing piece

There's been standard support for Aruba platforms already, but the AOS-CX is rather a different operating system. The requirement for adding the support came from our customer base and so did the community discussion.

It was the missing piece in the puzzle to complete the Aruba switching picture and provide full visibility for next-gen DC, mobile, or cloud applications built on top.

The support will cover standard switching capabilities, VSX, VSF, or routing with OSPF.

New Technologies - Precision Time Protocol (PTP)

The Precision Time Protocol is a key element for synchronizing the clock for time-sensitive traffic. It achieves clock accuracy in the sub-microsecond range. Starting the 3.8, one can view the PTP parameters in the Technology > Management > PTP.

The first tab helps to understand the PTP Local Clock parameters. In the second one we can dive into the PTP Masters parameters as Parent or Grandmaster clock ID or Priority. And the last tab is dedicated to PTP interfaces configuration and parameters.

New Technologies - Multi-chassis LAG (MLAG)

There's been Link-Aggregation Group (LAG) support already, but with a focus on a single chassis (from the control-plane perspective). If it was the Port-channel of Link-Aggregation form. The Multi-chassis link aggregation group has still its place among standard networking technologies. Even though is not widely used.

In the following topology, we can see the MLAG representation in the form of Po100 with Po1 as a Peer link between L1EOS2 and L1EOS3. The platform is Nexus9K, but the MLAG support was developed for Arista as well.

New Technologies - Arista VARP

Another technology extension is the Virtual-ARP. Virtual-ARP (VARP) allows multiple switches to simultaneously route packets from a common IP address in an active-active router configuration. Each switch is configured with the same set of virtual IP addresses on corresponding VLAN interfaces and a common virtual MAC address.

As a result, new technology tables are provided under Technology > FHRP > Virtual Gateways.

Community Fabric News

The community around IP Fabric is growing! In March's #CommunityFabric webinar we discussed network automation approaches with network design expert Orhan Ergun and network automation gurus Julien Manteau and Gian Paolo Boarina (YouTube Recording).

Excitement has been building up to this release of 3.8. With folks expressing particular interest in the Versa SD-WAN and AWS visibility! And among community members, there are a number of projects ongoing including a webhook handler for generic integrations with IPF. And an Ansible collection with dynamic inventory and IP Fabric actions for playbooks.

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