Frequently Asked Questions

Quick answers to questions you may have about IP Fabric – whether you’re deciding if it can help you reach your business goals or need more information on implementation and operation of IP Fabric within your operational landscape.

I want to know what IP Fabric does for my business

IP Fabric is a network analytics platform for multi-vendor environments that automates network discovery, network topology diagrams on a protocol level, network security compliance audit and network documentation. The platform enables an intent-based approach to network management and instant application path simulation over large-scale networks.

IP Fabric validates your single source of truth for all network inventory and protocol data and provides up-to-date, flexible network topology diagrams, providing a solid baseline of your network. It speeds up the troubleshooting and root-cause analysis processes with simple network search and end-to-end application path testing.

Apart from significant benefits to network administrators, it elevates collaboration with other teams and systems via its standard interfaces and helps to automate network provisioning and the detection of inconsistent protocol states, network loops or security issues based on user-defined rules.

The IP Fabric platform collects data from the network on a regular basis to provide in-depth assurance. The output of the data collection is a digital snapshot of the entire network at the time of discovery. IP Fabric does not monitor the network in real-time, but rather provides a point-in-time comparison of what is in your network, allowing you to see what has changed.

Monitoring tools are still crucial to your network operations processes; raised alerts and alarms will let engineers know there is something to be assessed or investigated.  

However, IP Fabric’s comprehensive and flexible visualization of the network will give you the ability to compare past states of the network, compare changes, analyze full route-cause of issues to prevent future repeats of the same issues and improve efficiency of troubleshooting processes through an automated tool-set.

I’m installing IP Fabric for the first time

IP Fabric currently operates as a standalone virtual server available for VMware 5.0 and later, Hyper-V, KVM or AWS.

IP Fabric is deployed as a on-premises VM. It doesn’t require any Internet connectivity to operate or verify the license or run discovery.

No additional supporting servers or licenses are needed for successful deployment.

IP Fabric is a virtual appliance that doesn’t require standalone hardware by design.

 

The product is licensed on a subscription basis (including support). The only factor we account for in the license price is the number of active network devices (switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, wireless controllers) in the target network. Wireless Access-Points are not included in the license.

I need to know how to operate and maintain IP Fabric

One engineer is enough to handle the task of deployment and testing.

IP Fabric collects data via Command-Line Interface (CLI) with SSH/Telnet directly from each network device individually. Additionally, the platform uses API to communicate with vendor controllers (Versa, Viptela, NSX-T) or cloud vendors (AWS, Azure).

The best location for virtual machine installation is in the management part of the network with enabled security path over SSH/Telnet protocol from the server’s IP address as a source IP for all session requests. Access-Lists, Firewall filters or related Security policies should be adjusted to enable the connection.

The overall impact is very low on network resources. IP Fabric is reading all data from a device with a single SSH session in a similar way as the administrator, only faster.

It is very common for IP Fabric to run discovery during business hours when little to no irregularities were observed in monitoring. Furthermore, we have controls that can limit the impact on the network even further, like maximum bandwidth limits for discovery, and the number of concurrent sessions.

IP Fabric collects data only via Command-Line Interface (CLI) with set of known operational commands on supported network devices. Read-only access is sufficient for discovery. Additionally, the platform uses API to communicate with vendor controllers (Versa, Viptela) or cloud vendors (AWS, Azure, NSX-T).

The platform itself provides all analytics information based on regular network scans (the snapshots). It is not a real-time monitoring solution but an analytical tool.

The platform collects variety of data specific to each network device. Starting with basic inventory and protocol states, detailed protocol tables or links. To provide full transparency, all operational commands used for each vendor/platform are well documented.

No, IP Fabric doesn’t collect any SNMP data from active network devices.  Our CLIbased approach achieves a greater level of detail compared to SNMP.

For the very first network discovery, IP Fabric needs to be deployed with the OVA image (provided by us on request). Then the platform needs to have correct credentials to access active network devices via SSH/Telnet. The security perimeter needs to enable communication from the IP Fabric platform to network devices for mentioned CLI protocols. And optionally, you can provide a single IP address as a starting point for discovery.

IP Fabric can discover all supported IP based active network devices. In general, it discovers switches, routers, firewalls, load-balancers, wan concentrators, wireless controllers, wireless access-points, SD-WAN (Versa, Cisco Viptela), cloud networks (AWS, Azure, NSX-T).

Supported manufacturers

IP Fabric is a powerful tool for multivendor, large-scale networks. The network vendor list is ever-expanding with new items added each release. A full list can be found in our Support Matrix.

If there is a vendor in your network that is currently not included in the supported matrix, it won’t be discovered and will be listed as unmanaged neighbor in the platform.

We are implementing new vendors with almost every release, so feel free to ask your IP Fabric sales or technical representative about the road-map priorities for the next phase. Support for the vendor in question may have already been road-mapped and could very well be on the way!

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