Internets of Interest for 5th February 2013


Collection of useful, relevant or just fun places on the Internets for 5th February 2013 and a bit commentary about what I’ve found interesting about them:

SDN, Windows and Fruity Alternatives « by @ioshints – Loved this post on the realities of integrated software solutions as we move into controller based networking from Ivan Pepelnjak:

If you’re young and brazen (like I was two decades ago), go ahead and be your own system integrator. If you’re too old and covered with vendor-inflicted scars, you might prefer a tested end-to-end solution regardless of what Gartner says in vendor-sponsored reports (and even solutions that vendor X claims were tested don’t always work). Just don’t forget to consider the cost of downtime in your total-cost-of-ownership calculations.

“old and covered with vendor-inflicted scars” – ring of truth.

NoviFlow | switching made smarter – Interesting – full OpenFlow 1.1 compliant switch in silicon.

The NoviKit 100 Efficient Flow Management Switch

  • The first high performance, fully OpenFlow 1.1 compliant switch commercially available
  • Enables the separation of the data and control planes in a switched network
  • Built on programmable Network Processors (EZchip NP-4) for wire speed performance
  • Easy upgrade to next versions of OpenFlow (1.2, etc…) when they become available
  • Shorter development cycles than ASIC-based switches

Cisco VXLAN Innovations Overcoming IP Multicast Challenges – The ability to deploy VXLAN without Multicast is a big deal. Nexus 1000V now performs packet replication in the driver. Good stuff.

While VXLANs have certainly enabled a whole new level of scalability for virtual networks, one of the challenges in deploying VXLAN is its use of IP Multicast to implement the L2 over L3 network capability. Why is this? VXLAN is a MAC-in-IP encapsulation protocol in a UDP frame. The virtual switch that acts as the VXLAN termination (in Cisco’s case, the Nexus 1000V virtual switch) takes the L2 packet from the VM, wraps it in a L3 IP header, and sends it out over UDP. But the challenge is that there’s no way to determine what the IP addresses are of all the other hosts (VXLAN termination points) participating in the same VXLAN network. In other protocols, this can be accomplished within the network control plane and some virtual to physical mapping protocol, but the VXLAN specification indicates there should be no reliance on a control plane or a physical to virtual mapping table.

On “VMware’s SDN Dilemma: VXLAN or Nicira?” – Brad Hedlund expresses some concerns about inaccuracies on my recent article at Network Computing – VMware’s SDN Dilemma: VXLAN or Nicira?. Read the post and judge for yourself.

Amazon, Apple, and the beauty of low margins — Remains of the Day

So much of Amazon’s competitive advantage in those days came from operational efficiency. You can choose to leverage that strength in two ways. One is you match your competitor on pricing and just earn higher margins. But the other, the way Amazon has always tended to favor, is to lower prices, to thin the oxygen for your competitors.

Interesting premise.

If you want to jump into competition with Amazon, you can’t just match Amazon, you have to leapfrog them. But they’ve left almost no price umbrella for you to sneak under, so you have to both match them in price and then blow them away on the user experience side to even get customers to think about switching. Who has the capital and wherewithal to play that exceedingly unpleasant, unprofitable game? You can only win that game at scale, and Amazon already achieved it.

. This make sense, by staying super competitive, and tightly focussed there is limited space for competitors to arise. You can focus on growing and increasing profit margins by increasing efficient.

Anti-Theft Lunch Bags – If you use a shared fridge at work:

Anti-Theft Lunch Bags are zipper bags that have green splotches printed on both sides, making your freshly prepared lunch look spoiled. Don’t let a sticky-fingered coworker or schoolyard bully get away with lunch theft again!

Cisco releases new switch – Catalyst 3850 « Daniels networking blog – Wrapping up the new C3850 switch with integrated wireless and Ethernet. This will upset the WiFi market place.

It terminates CAPWAP and DTLS in hardware. One switch/stack can support up to
50 APs and 2000 clients. Wireless capacity is 40G/switch. Supports IPv4 and
IPv6 client mobility. IP base license level is required to use wireless capabilities.

Citrix NetScaler VPX gets going on the Cisco 1110 Virtual Network Services platform – Cisco still hasn’t officially announced the death of ACE Load Balancer but this looks like coffin nails.

Deploying NetScaler VPX on the Nexus 1110 also gives organizations a great deal of flexibility, since the virtual CPU’s in the Nexus 1110 can be allocated across multiple services and can be dedicated to NetScaler as needed. For example, for light loads, the Nexus 1110 could allocate 2 vCPUs to NetScaler, or for heavier loads, 8 vCPU’s could be allocated. NetScaler VPX is thus ideally suited for Service Providers who want to dynamically expand service capacity to their hosted private cloud clients.

OpenFlow Switching Performance: Not All TCAM Is Created Equal

And it gets worse – for some hardware, the number of flows is only one kind of limitation. It’s important to keep in mind that most switches weren’t designed with anything like OpenFlow in mind, especially when their interface ASICs were laid out. The chips do a fine job of switching, and frequently handle basic Layer 3 functions as well, but OpenFlow asks for a great deal more. The Pica8 and NEC both support 12-tuple flows in hardware. The MLX can handle all 12 matches, but not all at once; each port has to be preconfigured in either Layer 2 or Layer 3 mode, which determines which fields are active. The HP has the most complex story of all. First, the rules are slightly different depending on the chip’s generation (HP calls them v1 and v2).

Highlighting the problems that existing vendor hardware doesn’t work for OpenFlow. Why don’t vendors just develop new hardware lines that support OpenFlow and give us what we need ? Do use the old crap, give me new crap.

Cats and Mice – Gallery of Middle Ages Armour for Cats & Mice.


  • Matt Thompson

    He he, just showed the anti-theft lunch bag to my wife and she said she would probably bin it all! D’oh.

  • Brent Salisbury

    Great list as always. Just found a new blog from the list to add to the reader. Keep em coming!