Category Archives for "Packet Design’s Blog"

PCE Topology Notifications with OpenDaylight Helium

PCE Topology Notifications with OpenDaylight Helium

by Hariharan Ananthakrishnan, Distinguished Engineer - April 23, 2015

Helium SR3

OpenDaylight released its third maintenance release for Helium last month. Helium SR3 included a lot of bug fixes across OpenDaylight projects. In this blog, I would like to share my experience with PCE topology notifications available in SR3. 


The OpenDaylight controller sal-remote YANG model defines the RPC notification subscription service and data change notification constructs. Change-event notification subscription makes it possible to obtain notifications about data manipulations (inserting, changing, deleting) that are done on any specified part of any specified data store with specific scope. 

PCE Topology Notifications 

PCE topology notification is available in Helium SR3. This feature allows the user to subscribe to a notification stream and listen for asynchronous remote notifications through WebSocket. The changes that get notified are:

  • Addition, update, deletion of Path Computation Clients (PCC)
  • Addition, update, deletion of Label Switched Paths (LSP) 

Test Setup 

The setup has four routers running the IOS XRv 5.3 image, a CentOS 7 VM hosting OpenDaylight Helium SR3, and Packet Design’s SDN Service Assurance Platform acting Continue reading

Route Hijacking of Sensitive Network Traffic Highlights BGP Security Issues

Route Hijacking of Sensitive Network Traffic Highlights BGP Security Issues

by Cengiz Alaettinoglu, CTO - April 15, 2015

Last month web traffic designated for some highly sensitive UK entities – including the nuclear weapons agency that provides and maintains warheads for the Royal Navy – was routed through Ukrainian and Russian telecoms before arriving at its original destination. This route hijacking was the result of a bad route announced by Ukraine's Vega telecom. As Russell Brandom, describing the incident for The Verge, wrote: “It's still likely that the redirection was simply an innocent error, but it underscores the insecure nature of the global routing system.” 

I couldn’t agree more and is why I recently wrote an article for Network Computing describing the security vulnerabilities of BGP. In this piece, I outlined the types of BGP incidents (including route hijacking), described several malicious ones perpetrated in recent years, and explained two efforts by the IETF over the years to fix BGP, with limited success. I also discussed how SDN and route analytics can help.

Check out the article and the thoughtful comments from readers as well. As I state at the end of the article, to stop BGP security Continue reading

All About That YANG at the 92nd IETF Meeting

All About That YANG at the 92nd IETF Meeting

by Cengiz Alaettinoglu, CTO - April 7, 2015

I was at the 92nd IETF meeting in Dallas a few weeks ago. I attended 16 sessions, mostly in the routing area, and every single one had a discussion about the YANG data model (indeed most had several such discussions). 

YANG is the data modeling language for the NETCONF protocol. NETCONF/YANG was picked by the Interface to Routing System (I2RS) Working Group for an SDN controller to interact with IP/MPLS routers. It makes an IP/MPLS network programmable. There are other IETF protocols in play as well, such as Path Computation Element Protocol (PCEP). To make SDN management and orchestration (MANO) service aware, we need to bind these paths to the services they are intended for. This is where NETCONF/YANG data models come to the rescue. I was very pleased to see the attention NETCONF/YANG data models got at the IETF.  

One thing that can hinder quick adoption and implementation for some data models is competing proposals. Indeed, some camps have formed around competing proposals. This is not unusual in the IETF. Different Internet-drafts (documents intended to be adopted by Continue reading

Inaugural Customer Symposium Highlighted Fast Move to SDN/NFV

Inaugural Customer Symposium Highlighted Fast Move to SDN/NFV

by Andy McFarland, VP of Customer Care - March 31, 2015

Our inaugural symposium featured registrants from 5 continents.

In Paris a few weeks ago, Packet Design hosted our first ever Customer Symposium to discuss industry trends and share our latest product developments. Partners and customers joined us from four hemispheres and five continents (with a handful who travelled over 10,000 km). In addition to a showcase of our SDN product (due out later this year) and a sneak preview of our 15.1 release (stay tuned for more on this), the highlight was a presentation by Heavy Reading industry analyst Caroline Chappell. Here’s a quick summary of her talk.

Chappell discussed SDN and NFV adoption trends and shared deployment strategies being used by leading communication service providers. She also outlined the new architectures and management systems needed to successfully operate SDN and NFV-based networks.

One quote that stood out was her contention that, in her more than 25 years of industry experience, “I have never seen the telco industry transition so quickly." She said the timeline for widespread SDN adoption has been pared down from 10 to five years. Continue reading

Beware the pretty ones? This isn’t high school

Beware the pretty ones? This isn't high school

by Brian Boyko, Contributor - March 24, 2015

Normally, I’d be the first to agree with an article whose premise implies that the nature of the tech industry is changing, because when is it not? However, I’m not sure I agree with the central premise of this article by Jon Evans at TechCrunch. He asserts that the tech industry was originally the personal playground of geeks and has become co-opted by the “cool kids” as the industry has matured and grown.  

It is true, as Evans contends, that many geeks are motivated more by the work than by impressing other people or making money, and that the tech industry probably offers more opportunities to people like that than some other industries.

But I think Evans’ idea of the geek vs. the pretty people is, well, short-sighted, and kind of “high schoolish.”  It is not us vs. them - there isn’t even an us or them. “People skills” and “technical skills” are not mutually exclusive.  And they never have been.

Yes, it is true that the tech industry has been the go-to “safe haven” for technically minded, socially awkward people, Continue reading

Use Cases and Requirements for Service Centric SDN Management and Orchestration

Use Cases and Requirements for Service Centric SDN Management and Orchestration

by Cengiz Alaettinoglu, CTO - March 17, 2015

Ever since we unveiled our SDN MANO (management and orchestration) prototype at the Cisco Live event last May, we have been demonstrating it to many service providers, industry analysts, and partners. The response has been very positive due to the simplicity and depth of our approach, facilitated by the 10+ years of rich analytics in our arsenal. Aside from demonstrating the prototype, we have also been collecting SDN MANO requirements. The feedback indicates SDN MANO needs to be service centric.

Currently, Packet Design has the right foundation for service centric SDN monitoring and management, including the real-time topology, both current and predictive future traffic matrices, and the service awareness that these devices, paths and traffic flows encompass. Using these ingredients, we compute shortest and constraint-based non-shortest paths for these services.

For us and for the industry, the next step is service activation and policy. For example, for one of our mobile operator customers, the main use of these traffic-engineered paths is fast-re-route. When a link (or a router/switch) fails, they would like to pre-setup a bypass path so that packets are Continue reading

Apple Watch: Function Over Form Otherwise It’s Just a Fad

Apple Watch: Function Over Form Otherwise It's Just a Fad

by Kris Olander, Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer - March 10, 2015

So yet another technology company wants to put some jewelry on my wrist.  Good luck.  You know it’s not that I don’t want the Apple Watch to succeed.  It’s just that I’ve been down this path already.

This past weekend I was reading a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle by Thomas Lee, “Why we need Apple to fail.”  While I’m not really buying Mr. Lee’s line of thinking - my ego is not going to be bruised one way or the other should Apple fail or succeed with this product - it did start me thinking.

My father was an employee at Hewlett Packard back in the good old days.  One of the latest and greatest products of those days was the desktop calculator.  It was a time when each successive year found significantly more computational power in much smaller footprints.  Eventually someone said, “Hey, we could make a calculator as small as a watch now.”  So they did.  

I don’t know how many watches HP produced over the lifetime of the product Continue reading

Spock Encouraged Geeks to "Live Long and Prosper"

Spock Encouraged Geeks to "Live Long and Prosper"

by Brian Boyko, Contributor - March 3, 2015

When you think of how many ways “Star Trek” advanced society, there are a number of standouts. This includes everything from the treatment of then-modern social issues like civil rights and racism, to showing the irrationality of war when war with the Soviet Union seemed inevitable. But one that often gets lost in the shuffle is the idea that Star Trek started the ball rolling on what can be best described as “nerd pride.”

That is, while there were certainly smart, well-read, mathematical, logical people in 1966, before Star Trek, being a smart, technically minded person was - for most of society - a character flaw.

Indeed, being a “nerd” or a “geek” continued to be an insult first and foremost for decades afterwards. However, the thing about Star Trek is that it allowed some of our forefathers the ability to think of themselves as heroic. And that mostly had to do with giving young technical people a cherished role model - the character of Mr. Spock.

Spock was an enigma, because there was little on television or in any form of Continue reading

Correlating Overlay and Underlay SDN Performance

Correlating Overlay and Underlay SDN Performance

by Steve Harriman, VP of Marketing - February 24, 2015

Next month Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu will address the MPLS SDN World Congress in Paris about the need for SDN analytics to monitor and correlate the performance of overlay and underlay networks. Below is a summary of his presentation, which will take place on Thursday, March 19 at 4:45 p.m. at the Marriott Paris Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center. (If you are attending the conference, please visit us in booth #401. In addition, Packet Design customers are invited to our first ever Customer Symposium being held on Monday, March 16 at the Rive Gauche Hotel. For more information or to register for this free event, visit 

The Role of Analytics-Based Orchestration in Overlay and Underlay Networks 

Industry focus on software defined networking (SDN) has been in three segments: the data center, the enterprise-WAN edge, and the WAN itself. Certain services and applications will require orchestration across these segments. For example, when data center compute resources become unavailable, some virtual machines (VMs) will need to be moved to other data centers. External traffic to these VMs, Continue reading

IoT: Don’t fret about the world of tomorrow

IoT: Don't fret about the world of tomorrow

by Brian Boyko, Contributor - February 17, 2015

The Internet of Things is a big deal. But – as CIMI Corp. President Tom Nolle wrote in a recent blog post titled “My Thermostat Doesn’t Want to Talk to You” – it is probably not going to be a big deal for network management. 

We’ve heard all sorts of applications of smart technology, such as refrigerators that know when you’re running low on milk and can send a text to your smartphone when you’re in the vicinity of a supermarket; thermostats that know when you’re working late at the office so you don’t have to have the heat turned on exactly at 6pm, etc. Early adopters already have all these things. But other than the basic Internet connectivity needed to send these little pieces of data back and forth, network management – as an industry and as a profession – is probably going to be almost unaffected by it. 

Think about it. For many purposes, the Internet of Things provides the most value coordinating between different items in your home. 

In our “world’s fair house-of-the-future,” much of Continue reading

Why Network Engineering Is a Top Job for 2015

Why Network Engineering Is a Top Job for 2015

by Brian Boyko, Contributor - February 3, 2015

According to career marketplace Glassdoor, one of the top 25 best jobs in America for 2015 is “network engineer.” No surprises here. Network engineering is a high growth industry: interesting and challenging work, tons of autonomy in how to solve problems and come up with solutions, well paying, and most importantly, the knowledge that you’re building something and bringing creations to life.   

Indeed, the complexities of modern networks make network engineers indispensable, with the mix of virtual and real servers, cloud services and data centers, and of course, the integration of SDN into your network. On a good day, you get that rush of power from doing what is essentially mad science. 

It should be noted that network engineering was one of eight IT-based jobs to crack the top 25. Clearly, technical skills are in demand. 

You know, it brings me back to Nicholas Carr’s books “Does IT Matter?” and “The Big Switch,” which expanded on a 2003 article he wrote in Harvard Business Review claiming that “IT Doesn’t Matter.” Essentially, Carr predicted Continue reading

SDN’s First Use Case Is the WAN, But Wither Management?

SDN's First Use Case Is the WAN, But Wither Management?

by Steve Harriman, VP of Marketing - January 28, 2015

Considering how long Packet Design has been talking about the promise of SDN in the WAN, it was encouraging to see a Q&A in Network World last week on the subject. Editor John Dix interviewed Michael Elmore, IT Senior Director of the Enterprise Network Engineering Infrastructure Group at Cigna. Michael is also on the board of Open Network Users Group (ONUG). 

Dix began the interview by asking why ONUG’s membership has voted the WAN as the top use case for SDN twice in a row now. In the context of the enterprise, Elmore replied that software defined WANs (SD-WANs) can reduce both capital and operational costs. He also said that they are easier to deploy than in the data center. 

Elmore went on to discuss the limitations of today’s WANs (mainly the MPLS-based layer 3 VPN service offerings used by the Fortune 500) in terms of cost, scale, service quality, security, visibility, and agility/flexibility. He then outlined the benefits of SD-WANs in all those areas, saying that enterprises will be able to “take back control from service Continue reading

AT&T Personifies Slow Crawl to SDN Ubiquity

AT&T Personifies Slow Crawl to SDN Ubiquity

by Brian Boyko, Contributor - January 13, 2015

The Wall Street Journal reported in a “CIO Journal” blog post that AT&T intends to virtualize 75% of its network by 2020, with “very specific operational planning,” according to SEVP of Technology and Operations, John Donovan. 

Why would AT&T push off SDN so far into the distant future? Then again, 2020 is only five years away. Five years is a relative timeframe in IT, and I think the length of AT&T’s transition not only underscores the size and scope of AT&T’s networks but also the caution to which they’re giving the task. This is understandable considering the complexity of managing SDN. 

Donovan says the motivation for AT&T is to reduce capital expenditures while increasing capacity in the network. In our recent survey of service providers, more than 40% said reducing costs is their number one driver for deploying SDN, compared to only 17% in 2013. The biggest drivers cited however – which corroborates AT&T’s desire to increase capacity – are improved agility and supporting new services such as cloud, big data applications, and mobility. 

According to the article, it Continue reading

Infographic: SDN’s Pulse Among Service Providers

Infographic: SDN's Pulse Among Service Providers

by Steve Harriman, VP of Marketing - January 6, 2015

As Howard Baldwin recently wrote in InfoWorld, the lure of new enterprise technology is great, but then comes the inevitable uncertainty about how in the world to manage it. The backdrop for his comment is the service provider survey we conducted last month at the SDN/MPLS International Conference in Washington, D.C.  As the infographic below shows, production deployment of SDN is way up among service providers, but nearly all are concerned about management.

Baldwin concludes his article by pointing out that although SDN holds great promise for automating and managing WAN operations, traditional management tools, processes, and standards will not work. The good news, he says, is that “…IT is not only being liberated from hardware-specific configuration, it’s also being liberated from hardware-specific management. In other words, you’ll be able to manage devices the way you want to, not the way the application dictates.”

Right now that’s more of a hope than a concrete solution. At Packet Design, we have made some headway on our concept of a Network Access Broker. See our conceptual demo here:

Continue reading

Top 10 Network Management Blog Posts of 2014

Top 10 Network Management Blog Posts of 2014

by Steve Harriman, VP of Marketing - December 30, 2014

As the year winds down, we were interested to discover our most viewed blog posts of 2014, our inaugural year of the Knetwork Knowledge blog. Not surprisingly, the majority of articles concern SDN. From the rise of production deployments among service providers to management concerns to job security worries, SDN continues to alter the network landscape, attempting to assert its place as the disruptive technology it promises to be.

These top 10 articles present a good snapshot of SDN’s evolution this year as well as the network issues in general. Here they are in order of popularity (See also our short summary of each one below):

  1. SDN Deployments/Worries Rise Among Service Providers
  2. No, Software Defined Networking Will Not Doom Engineers
  3. First Impressions of the OpenDaylight Helium Release
  4. Network Management Challenges of 2014
  5. SDN Analytics & Orchestration from the 17th Annual SDN/MPLS Conference
  6. Okay, Maybe It IS the Network (Infographic)
  7. The Best Presentations on SDN Analytics and Wide Area Orchestration at SDN/MPLS 2014
  8. Necessity of Monitoring and Analytics in the SDN Era
  9. Netflix is using obfuscation to not pay their fair share!
  10. Continue reading

Happy Holidays from Packet Design

Happy Holidays from Packet Design

by Patrick Kilgore, Interactive Marketing Manager - December 23, 2014

It is that time of year again… and what a difference a year makes! We grew leaps and bounds in 2014, increasing our headcount as an organization and working hard to provide our customers with the best in route analytics technology.

To give back for all our good fortune in 2014, we adopted two families in the Austin area and provided additional "cheer" to make their holidays bright. Everyone at Packet Design came together to donate gifts and their time, and we could not have been happier at the participation in such a worthy endeavor. Packet Design would like to extend a special thanks to Angela Reyna, a key member of our marketing team, for putting it all together. It is moments like these that give us pause to remember that people, working as a team, make our organization a success. So from our Packet Design family to yours, we wish you Happy Holidays and a spirited New Year!

Below are photos from our wrapping party, where the Packet Design elves showed off their gift-wrapping and logistics skills:

Network Access Broker Conceptual Demo

The Network Access Broker Conceptual Demo

by Kris Olander, Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer - December 16, 2014

Talk is cheap when it comes to SDN, but at Packet Design we’ve created a working SDN analytics and orchestration prototype that will enable network engineers to effectively manage hybrid networks. In this new demo, we outline how our Network Access Broker (NAB) – based on our core Route Explorer™ System – analyzes application requests for network resources, assesses their impact on services, and provisions them optimally using a combination of the following (if you’re already familiar with SDN and its management challenges, you can skip the intro and head straight to the demo at the 2:47 mark): 

  1. A layer 3 network topology model maintained in real time (IGP, BGP, and SDN controller-provided topologies like OpenFlow),
  2. A traffic demand matrix,
  3. Predicted network loads from historical baselines, and
  4. Analytics algorithms that compute efficient paths based on link utilizations/end-to-end delays, model new demand, and predict the impact of link/node failures on routing and traffic. Once the optimal paths have been computed, the NAB configures the network to provision them using the SDN controller (OpenDaylight in this example).

In the NAB demo, we use Continue reading

The Big YANG Theory

The Big YANG Theory

by Hariharan Ananthakrishnan, Distinguished Engineer - December 9, 2014

At this point in the evolution of the network, we think it is important to outline the history, pros, cons, and future of YANG. The data model in YANG helps in managing configuration for both traditional and software defined networks (even SDN needs some persistent state). Standardized YANG models will help in managing true multi-vendor networks. 

What Is YANG Exactly?
As I outlined in “The Current State of SDN Protocols,” YANG is a data modeling language used to model configuration and state data manipulated by the Network Configuration Protocol (NETCONF), NETCONF remote procedure calls and NETCONF notifications. YANG was developed by the NETMOD working group in the IETF and was published as RFC 6020

In the past few years, YANG gained a lot of traction with the open-source community. There are tools developed to validate YANG and transform YANG specification into other formats. Some tools can even generate JAVA code given a YANG specification. Router vendors noticed the traction and started contributing to model definitions, standardization and eventual support in their products. 

My Experience
I got involved with YANG when Continue reading

Netflix is using obfuscation to not pay their fair share!

Netflix is using obfuscation to not pay their fair share!

by Scott Sherwood, CEO - December 2, 2014

As a CEO of a company, I would love to have someone subsidize my business and reduce my costs to deliver products to my customers. Yet for-profit company Netflix, which uses more Internet bandwidth than anyone in the world, wants network providers to connect them up for free. Yes, for free. They are using terms such as “Network Neutrality” to make the large telecom providers seem like bad guys, while creating confusion to hide behind their greed. For Netflix, delivery of content is like a cost of goods sold, but they just don’t want to pay their fair share.  

In his in-depth article last week for Forbes – How Netflix Poisoned The Net Neutrality Debate – author Larry Downes traces the origins of today’s fight over network neutrality back to March of this year. He references a blog post by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings that “…urged the FCC to redefine net neutrality, transforming it from a set of last-mile consumer protections to detailed government control of connections at the Internet’s back-end. Rather than pay the transit providers, Netflix wanted to connect directly Continue reading

Why don’t all companies take a customer centric approach to service?

Why don't all companies take a customer-centric approach to service?

by Srikanth Sandru, Technical Support Engineer - November 24, 2014

Being part of the Packet Design Customer Care department and specifically the Technical Support group, I constantly ask: What more can we do to better serve our customers? My own recent experiences as a customer of various consumer products revealed some things that I can correlate to my job and Packet Design’s customer centric approach.  

A Tale of Two ISPs  

I use two different Internet service providers and experienced issues with both recently. The first, which I will call “ISP1,” is a wired service provider. One day my service was disconnected, as my subscription had expired. I called them to ask for a renewal at 10:00 a.m., and the customer care executive confirmed a collection agent would arrive shortly. (They have a door-to-door bill collection staff, and they turn your service on immediately upon payment). The agent did show up to renew my service.  

At 4:00 p.m. (six hours after I had already renewed the service), I received a call from the same ISP1 asking if I would like to renew, since my Continue reading

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