Matt Conran

Author Archives: Matt Conran

IDG Contributor Network: A Virtual WAN: Moving closer to the enterprise

Microsoft has introduced a new virtual WAN as a competitive differentiator and is getting enough tracking that AWS and Google may follow. At present, Microsoft is the only company to offer a virtual WAN of this kind. This made me curious to discover the highs and lows of this technology. So I sat down with Sorell Slaymaker, Principal Consulting Analyst at TechVision Research to discuss. The following is a summary of our discussion.But before we proceed, let’s gain some understanding of the cloud connectivity.Cloud connectivity has evolved over time. When the cloud was introduced about a decade ago, let’s say, if you were an enterprise, you would connect to what's known as a cloud service provider (CSP). However, over the last 10 years, many providers like Equinix have started to offer carrier-neutral collocations. Now, there is the opportunity to meet a variety of cloud companies in a carrier-neutral colocation. On the other hand, there are certain limitations as well as cloud connectivity.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Software-defined perimeter – the essence of trust

Actions speak louder than words. Reliable actions build lasting trust in contrast to unreliable words. Imagine that you had a house with a guarded wall. You would feel safe in the house, correct? Now, what if that wall is dismantled? You might start to feel your security is under threat. Anyone could have easy access to your house.In the same way, with traditional security products: it is as if anyone is allowed to leave their house, knock at your door and pick your locks. Wouldn’t it be more secure if only certain individuals whom you fully trust can even see your house? This is the essence of zero-trust networking and is a core concept discussed in my recent course on SDP (software-defined perimeter).To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Intent-Based Networking (IBN): Bridging the gap on network complexity

Networking has gone through various transformations over the last decade. In essence, the network has become complex and hard to manage using traditional mechanisms. Now there is a significant need to design and integrate devices from multiple vendors and employ new technologies, such as virtualization and cloud services.Therefore, every network is a unique snowflake. You will never come across two identical networks. The products offered by the vendors act as the building blocks for engineers to design solutions that work for them. If we all had a simple and predictable network, this would not be a problem. But there are no global references to follow and designs vary from organization to organization. These lead to network variation even while offering similar services.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: How edge computing is driving a new era of CDN

We are living in a hyperconnected world where anything can now be pushed to the cloud. The idea of having content located in one place, which could be useful from the management’s perspective, is now redundant. Today, the users and data are omnipresent.The customer’s expectations have up-surged because of this evolution. There is now an increased expectation of high-quality service and a decrease in customer’s patience. In the past, one could patiently wait 10 hours to download the content. But this is certainly not the scenario at the present time. Nowadays we have high expectations and high-performance requirements but on the other hand, there are concerns as well. The internet is a weird place, with unpredictable asymmetric patterns, buffer bloat and a list of other performance-related problems that I wrote about on Network Insight. [Disclaimer: the author is employed by Network Insight.]To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Software Defined Perimeter (SDP): The deployment

Deploying zero trust software-defined perimeter (SDP) architecture is not about completely replacing virtual private network (VPN) technologies and firewalls. By and large, the firewall demarcation points that mark the inside and outside are not going away anytime soon. The VPN concentrator will also have its position for the foreseeable future.A rip and replace is a very aggressive deployment approach regardless of the age of technology. And while SDP is new, it should be approached with care when choosing the correct vendor. An SDP adoption should be a slow migration process as opposed to the once off rip and replace. As I wrote about on Network Insight [Disclaimer: the author is employed by Network Insight], while SDP is a disruptive technology, after discussing with numerous SDP vendors, I have discovered that the current SDP landscape tends to be based on specific use cases and projects, as opposed to a technology that has to be implemented globally. To start with, you should be able to implement SDP for only certain user segments.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Software Defined Perimeter (SDP): Creating a new network perimeter

Networks were initially designed to create internal segments that were separated from the external world by using a fixed perimeter. The internal network was deemed trustworthy, whereas the external was considered hostile. However, this is still the foundation for most networking professionals even though a lot has changed since the inception of the design.More often than not the fixed perimeter consists of a number of network and security appliances, thereby creating a service chained stack, resulting in appliance sprawl. Typically, the appliances that a user may need to pass to get to the internal LAN may vary. But generally, the stack would consist of global load balancers, external firewall, DDoS appliance, VPN concentrator, internal firewall and eventually LAN segments.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Managed WAN and the cloud-native SD-WAN

In recent years, a significant number of organizations have transformed their wide area network (WAN). Many of these organizations have some kind of cloud-presence across on-premise data centers and remote site locations.The vast majority of organizations that I have consulted with have over 10 locations. And it is common to have headquarters in both the US and Europe, along with remote site locations spanning North America, Europe, and Asia.A WAN transformation project requires this diversity to be taken into consideration when choosing the best SD-WAN vendor to satisfy both; networking and security requirements. Fundamentally, SD-WAN is not just about physical connectivity, there are many more related aspects.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: The modern data center and the rise in open-source IP routing suites

As the cloud service providers and search engines started with the structuring process of their business, they quickly ran into the problems of managing the networking equipment. Ultimately, after a few rounds of getting the network vendors to understand their problems, these hyperscale network operators revolted.Primarily, what the operators were looking for was a level of control in managing their network which the network vendors couldn’t offer. The revolution burned the path that introduced open networking, and network disaggregation to the work of networking. Let us first learn about disaggregation followed by open networking.Disaggregation The concept of network disaggregation involves breaking-up of the vertical networking landscape into individual pieces, where each piece can be used in the best way possible. The hardware can be separated from the software, along with open or closed IP routing suites. This enables the network operators to use the best of breed for the hardware, software and the applications.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Open architecture and open source – The new wave for SD-WAN?

I recently shared my thoughts about the role of open source in networking. I discussed two significant technological changes that we have witnessed. I call them waves, and these waves will redefine how we think about networking and security.The first wave signifies that networking is moving to the software so that it can run on commodity off-the-shelf hardware. The second wave is the use of open source technologies, thereby removing the barriers to entry for new product innovation and rapid market access. This is especially supported in the SD-WAN market rush.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Performance-Based Routing (PBR) – The gold rush for SD-WAN

BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) is considered the glue of the internet. If we view through the lens of farsightedness, however, there’s a question that still remains unanswered for the future. Will BGP have the ability to route on the best path versus the shortest path?There are vendors offering performance-based solutions for BGP-based networks. They have adopted various practices, such as, sending out pings to monitor the network and then modifying the BGP attributes, such as the AS prepending to make BGP do the performance-based routing (PBR). However, this falls short in a number of ways.The problem with BGP is that it's not capacity or performance aware and therefore its decisions can sink the application’s performance. The attributes that BGP relies upon for path selection are, for example, AS-Path length and multi-exit discriminators (MEDs), which do not always correlate with the network’s performance.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Zero-trust: microsegmentation networking

The transformation to the digital age has introduced significant changes to the cloud and data center environments. This has compelled the organizations to innovate more quickly than ever before. This, however, brings with it both – the advantages and disadvantages.The network and security need to keep up with this rapid pace of change. If you cannot match with the speed of the digital age, then ultimately bad actors will become a hazard. Therefore, the organizations must move to a zero-trust environment: default deny, with least privilege access. In today’s evolving digital world this is the primary key to success.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Software-defined perimeter: Identity-centric enforced network perimeter

With the introduction of cloud, BYOD, IoT and virtual offices scattered around the globe, the traditional architectures not only hold us back in terms of productivity but also create security flaws that leave gaps for compromise.The network and security architectures that are commonly deployed today are not fit for today's digital world. They were designed for another time, a time of the past. This could sound daunting...and it indeed is.What we had in the past? Traditionally, we have had a static network and security perimeter with clear network and security demarcation points. In terms of security, the perimeter-based approach never worked. It did, however, create a multi-billion-dollar industry. But the fact is, it neither did, not will it provide competent security.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Named data networking: Stateful forwarding plane for datagram delivery

The Internet was designed to connect things easily, but a lot has changed since its inception. Users now expect the internet to find the “what” (i.e., the content), but the current communication model is still focused on the “where.”The Internet has evolved to be dominated by content distribution and retrieval. As a matter of fact, networking protocols still focus on the connection between hosts that surfaces many challenges.The most obvious solution is to replace the “where” with the “what” and this is what Named Data Networking (NDN) proposes. NDN uses named content as opposed to host identifiers as its abstraction.How the traditional IP works To deliver packets from a source to a destination, IP needs to accomplish two phases of operation. The first phase is the routing plane also known as the control plane. This phase enables the routers to share routing updates and select the best path to construct the forwarding information table (FIB). The second phase is the forwarding plane also known as the data plane. This is the phase where forwarding to the next hop is executed upon FIB examination.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Named data networking: Stateful forwarding plane for datagram delivery

The Internet was designed to connect things easily, but a lot has changed since its inception. Users now expect the internet to find the “what” (i.e., the content), but the current communication model is still focused on the “where.”The Internet has evolved to be dominated by content distribution and retrieval. As a matter of fact, networking protocols still focus on the connection between hosts that surfaces many challenges.The most obvious solution is to replace the “where” with the “what” and this is what Named Data Networking (NDN) proposes. NDN uses named content as opposed to host identifiers as its abstraction.How the traditional IP works To deliver packets from a source to a destination, IP needs to accomplish two phases of operation. The first phase is the routing plane also known as the control plane. This phase enables the routers to share routing updates and select the best path to construct the forwarding information table (FIB). The second phase is the forwarding plane also known as the data plane. This is the phase where forwarding to the next hop is executed upon FIB examination.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Named data networking: Stateful forwarding plane for datagram delivery

The Internet was designed to connect things easily, but a lot has changed since its inception. Users now expect the internet to find the “what” (i.e., the content), but the current communication model is still focused on the “where.”The Internet has evolved to be dominated by content distribution and retrieval. As a matter of fact, networking protocols still focus on the connection between hosts that surfaces many challenges.The most obvious solution is to replace the “where” with the “what” and this is what Named Data Networking (NDN) proposes. NDN uses named content as opposed to host identifiers as its abstraction.How the traditional IP works To deliver packets from a source to a destination, IP needs to accomplish two phases of operation. The first phase is the routing plane also known as the control plane. This phase enables the routers to share routing updates and select the best path to construct the forwarding information table (FIB). The second phase is the forwarding plane also known as the data plane. This is the phase where forwarding to the next hop is executed upon FIB examination.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Named data networking: names the data instead of data locations

Today, connectivity to the Internet is easy; you simply get an Ethernet driver and hook up the TCP/IP protocol stack. Then dissimilar network types in remote locations can communicate with each other. However, before the introduction of the TCP/IP model, networks were manually connected but with the TCP/IP stack, the networks can connect themselves up, nice and easy. This eventually caused the Internet to explode, followed by the World Wide Web.So far, TCP/IP has been a great success. It’s good at moving data and is both robust and scalable. It enables any node to talk to any other node by using a point-to-point communication channel with IP addresses as identifiers for the source and destination. Ideally, a network ships the data bits. You can either name the locations to ship the bits to or name the bits themselves. Today’s TCP/IP protocol architecture picked the first option. Let’s discuss the section option later in the article.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Named data networking: names the data instead of data locations

Today, connectivity to the Internet is easy; you simply get an Ethernet driver and hook up the TCP/IP protocol stack. Then dissimilar network types in remote locations can communicate with each other. However, before the introduction of the TCP/IP model, networks were manually connected but with the TCP/IP stack, the networks can connect themselves up, nice and easy. This eventually caused the Internet to explode, followed by the World Wide Web.So far, TCP/IP has been a great success. It’s good at moving data and is both robust and scalable. It enables any node to talk to any other node by using a point-to-point communication channel with IP addresses as identifiers for the source and destination. Ideally, a network ships the data bits. You can either name the locations to ship the bits to or name the bits themselves. Today’s TCP/IP protocol architecture picked the first option. Let’s discuss the section option later in the article.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: The role of open source in networking

Technology is always evolving. However, in recent time, two significant changes have emerged in the world of networking. Firstly, the networking is moving to software that can run on commodity off-the-shelf hardware. Secondly, we are witnessing the introduction and use of many open source technologies, removing the barrier of entry for new product innovation and rapid market access.Networking is the last bastion within IT to adopt the open source. Consequently, this has badly hit the networking industry in terms of slow speed of innovation and high costs. Every other element of IT has seen radical technology and cost model changes over the past 10 years. However, IP networking has not changed much since the mid-’90s.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: The role of open source in networking

Technology is always evolving. However, in recent time, two significant changes have emerged in the world of networking. Firstly, the networking is moving to software that can run on commodity off-the-shelf hardware. Secondly, we are witnessing the introduction and use of many open source technologies, removing the barrier of entry for new product innovation and rapid market access.Networking is the last bastion within IT to adopt the open source. Consequently, this has badly hit the networking industry in terms of slow speed of innovation and high costs. Every other element of IT has seen radical technology and cost model changes over the past 10 years. However, IP networking has not changed much since the mid-’90s.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: The cloud-based provider: Not your grandfather’s MNS

Today, the wide area network (WAN) is a vital enterprise resource. Its uptime, often targeting availability of 99.999%, is essential to maintain the productivity of employees and partners and also for maintaining the business’s competitive edge.Historically, enterprises had two options for WAN management models — do it yourself (DIY) and a managed network service (MNS). Under the DIY model, the IT networking and security teams build the WAN by integrating multiple components including MPLS service providers, internet service providers (ISPs), edge routers, WAN optimizers and firewalls.The components are responsible for keeping that infrastructure current and optimized. They configure and adjust the network for changes, troubleshoot outages and ensure that the network is secure. Since this is not a trivial task, therefore many organizations have switched to an MNS. The enterprises outsource the buildout, configuration and on-going management often to a regional telco.To read this article in full, please click here

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