A Different Viewpoint of Lock-In

First things first: Go watch this great video on lock-in from Ethan Banks (@ECBanks). We’ll reference it.

Welcome back. Still carrying that pitchfork around screaming about how you want to avoid vendor lock-in? Ready to build the most perfect automation system in history that does multi-cloud, multi-vendor, multi-protocol networking in a seamless manner with full documentation? Nice. How hard was is to build that unicorn farm?

I get it. No one wants to be beholden to a specific vendor. No one likes being forced into buying things. Everyone hates the life of the engineer forced to work on something they don’t like or had to use because someone needed a new boat. Or do they?

Ford and Chevys and Dodge, Oh My!

What kind of car do you drive? Odds are good you’re either ready to get a new one or you’re proud of what you’re driving. I find that the more flashy a car is the more likely people are to talk about how amazing it is. And when there are two dominant manufacturers in a market for cars, you tend to see people dividing into camps to sing the praises of their favorite brands. Ford people love their Continue reading

Taking Kubernetes Up To The Next Level

From the time Kubernetes was born in the labs at Google by engineers Joe Beda, Brendan Burns, and Craig McLuckie and then contributed to the open source community, it has become the de facto orchestration platform for containers, enabling easier development, scaling and movement of modern applications between on-premises datacenters and the cloud and between the multiple clouds – public and private – that enterprises are embracing.

Taking Kubernetes Up To The Next Level was written by Jeffrey Burt at The Next Platform.

Getting to the Core: Benchmarking Cloudflare’s Latest Server Hardware

Getting to the Core: Benchmarking Cloudflare’s Latest Server Hardware
Getting to the Core: Benchmarking Cloudflare’s Latest Server Hardware

Maintaining a server fleet the size of Cloudflare’s is an operational challenge, to say the least. Anything we can do to lower complexity and improve efficiency has effects for our SRE (Site Reliability Engineer) and Data Center teams that can be felt throughout a server’s 4+ year lifespan.

At the Cloudflare Core, we process logs to analyze attacks and compute analytics. In 2020, our Core servers were in need of a refresh, so we decided to redesign the hardware to be more in line with our Gen X edge servers. We designed two major server variants for the core. The first is Core Compute 2020, an AMD-based server for analytics and general-purpose compute paired with solid-state storage drives. The second is Core Storage 2020, an Intel-based server with twelve spinning disks to run database workloads.

Core Compute 2020

Earlier this year, we blogged about our 10th generation edge servers or Gen X and the improvements they delivered to our edge in both performance and security. The new Core Compute 2020 server leverages many of our learnings from the edge server. The Core Compute servers run a variety of workloads including Kubernetes, Kafka, and various smaller services.

Configuration Changes (Kubernetes)

Previous Continue reading

Video: Know Your Users’ Needs

After explaining why you should focus on defining the problem before searching for a magic technology that will solve it, I continued the Focus on Business Challenges First presentation with another set of seemingly simple questions:

  • Who are your users/customers?
  • What do they really need?
  • Assuming you’re a service provider, what are you able to sell to your customers… and how are you different from your competitors?
The video is part of Business Aspects of Networking Technologies webinar and available with Free ipSpace.net Subscription.

Improving Performance and Search Rankings with Cloudflare for Fun and Profit

Improving Performance and Search Rankings with Cloudflare for Fun and Profit

Making things fast is one of the things we do at Cloudflare. More responsive websites, apps, APIs, and networks directly translate into improved conversion and user experience. On November 10th, Google announced that Google Search will directly take web performance and page experience data into account when ranking results on their search engine results pages (SERPs), beginning in May 2021.

Specifically, Google Search will prioritize results based on how pages score on Core Web Vitals, a measurement methodology Cloudflare has worked closely with Google to establish, and we have implemented support for in our analytics tools.

Improving Performance and Search Rankings with Cloudflare for Fun and Profit
Source: "Search Page Experience Graphic" by Google is licensed under CC BY 4.0

The Core Web Vitals metrics are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP, a loading measurement), First Input Delay (FID, a measure of interactivity), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS, a measure of visual stability). Each one is directly associated with user perceptible page experience milestones. All three can be improved using our performance products, and all three can be measured with our Cloudflare Browser Insights product, and soon, with our free privacy-aware Cloudflare Web Analytics.

SEO experts have always suspected faster pages lead to better search ranking. With the recent announcement from Continue reading

Kyverno, a New CNCF Sandbox Project, Offers Kubernetes-Native Policy Management

Kyverno, the open source Kubernetes-native policy engine built by Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) this week at the sandbox level. The development team hopes the software will help adoption of Kubernetes policies, by providing a method for doing so with native tools and languages, rather than requiring users to learn and adopt new ones. kubectl, kustomize. Bugwadia explained that, by contrast, cert-manager, another new CNCF sandbox project, which Bugwadia said has expressed interest in using Kyverno for policies for certificate management. Joining the CNCF, he said, leads to those forms of collaboration, which we would not have been able to do otherwise. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation and KubeCon+CloudNativeCon are sponsors of The New Stack.  Feature image by Pixabay. The post Kyverno, a New CNCF Sandbox Project, Offers Kubernetes-Native Policy Management appeared first on The New Stack.

gRPC Remote Procedure Calls in a Nutshell

gRPC: Up and Running, published by O’Reilly Media. gRPC (gRPC Remote Procedure Calls) is one of the most popular inter-process communication protocols in the modern microservices and cloud native era. With the increasing adoption of gRPC, we thought it was important to write a book on gRPC and share our experience of building cloud native microservices apps with it. So, before we dive into the details of the book, let me give you a brief overview of what gRPC is. gRPC is modern inter-process communication technology that can overcome most of the shortcomings of the conventional inter-process communication technologies, such as RESTful services. Owing to the benefits of gRPC, most modern applications and servers are increasingly converting their inter-process communication protocols to gRPC. The foundation of a gRPC-based application is the service and Continue reading

Docker Compose for Amazon ECS Now Available

Docker is pleased to announce that as of today the integration with Docker Compose and Amazon ECS has reached V1 and is now GA! 🎉

We started this work way back at the beginning of the year with our first step – moving the Compose specification into a community run project. Then in July we announced how we were working together with AWS to make it easier to deploy Compose Applications to ECS using the Docker command line. As of today all Docker Desktop users will now have the stable ECS experience available to them, allowing developers to use docker compose commands with an ECS context to run their containers against ECS.

As part of this we want to thank the AWS team who have helped us make this happen: Carmen Puccio, David Killmon, Sravan Rengarajan, Uttara Sridhar, Massimo Re Ferre, Jonah Jones and David Duffey.

Getting started with Docker Compose & ECS

As an existing ECS user or a new starter all you will need to do is update to the latest Docker Desktop Community version ( or greater) store your image on Docker Hub so you can deploy it (you can get started with Hub here Continue reading


Multipass is a command line tool for running Ubuntu virtual machines on Mac or Windows. Multipass uses the native virtualization capabilities of the host operating system to simplify the creation of virtual machines.

Docker testbed and Docker DDoS testbed describe how to use containers to experiment with network visibility and control. However, not all software is amenable to running in containers, and so the ability to quickly create and configure virtual machines is a useful complement. This article demonstrates how to use Multipass to quickly build a virtual machine to run Mininet network emulation software.
multipass launch --name=mininet bionic
multipass exec mininet -- sudo apt update
multipass exec mininet -- sudo apt -y install mininet python-ryu
multipass exec mininet -- sudo apt -y install default-jre python-requests hping3
multipass exec mininet -- wget https://inmon.com/products/sFlow-RT/sflow-rt.tar.gz
multipass exec mininet -- tar -xzf sflow-rt.tar.gz
multipass exec mininet -- ./sflow-rt/get-app.sh sflow-rt mininet-dashboard

Run the above commands in a terminal to create the virtual machine. Multipass commands can easily be scripted to automate the creation and configuration of virtual machines.

multipass list
List the virtual machines.
Name                    State             IPv4             Image
test Running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Continue reading

Encrypted VelvetSweatshop Password Still a Threat to Excel Files

Office documents, such as Word and Excel files, can be password-protected using a symmetric key encryption mechanism involving one password which is the key to both encrypt and decrypt a file. Malware writers use this key as an additional evasion technique to hide malicious code from anti-virus (AV) scanning engines. The problem is that encrypting a file introduces the disadvantage of requiring a potential victim to enter a password (which is normally included in the phishing or spam email containing the encrypted attachment). This makes the email and the attachment very suspicious, thus greatly reducing the chance that the intended victim will open the encrypted malicious attachment.

The good news (for the attackers) is that Microsoft Excel can automatically decrypt a given encrypted spreadsheet without asking for a password if the password for encryption happens to be VelvetSweatshop. This is a default key stored in Microsoft Excel program code for decryption. It’s a neat trick that attackers can leverage to encrypt malicious Excel files in order to evade static-analysis-based detection systems, while eliminating the need for a potential victim to enter a password.

The embedded VelvetSweatshop key in Excel is not a secret. It has been widely reported for many Continue reading

Now Available: Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform 1.2

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform 1.2 is now generally available with increased focus on improving efficiency, increasing productivity and controlling risk and expenses.  While many IT infrastructure engineers are familiar with automating compute platforms, Ansible Automation Platform is the first holistic automation platform to help manage, automate and orchestrate everything in your IT infrastructure from edge to datacenter.  To download the newest release or get a trial license, please sign up on http://red.ht/try_ansible.

Image One

An automation platform for mission critical workloads

The Ansible project is a remarkable open source project with hundreds of thousands of users encompassing a large community.  Red Hat extends this community and open source developer model to innovate, experiment and incorporate feedback to satisfy our customer challenges and use cases.  Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform transforms Ansible and many related open source projects into an enterprise grade, multi-organizational automation platform for mission-critical workloads.  In modern IT infrastructure, automation is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s often now a requirement to run, operate and scale how everything is managed: including network, security, Linux, Windows, cloud and more. 

Ansible Automation Platform includes a RESTful API for seamless integration with existing IT tools Continue reading

Many services, one cloudflared

Many services, one cloudflared
Route many different local services through many different URLs, with only one cloudflared
Many services, one cloudflared

I work on the Argo Tunnel team, and we make a program called cloudflared, which lets you securely expose your web service to the Internet while ensuring that all its traffic goes through Cloudflare.

Say you have some local service (a website, an API, a TCP server, etc), and you want to securely expose it to the internet using Argo Tunnel. First, you run cloudflared, which establishes some long-lived TCP connections to the Cloudflare edge. Then, when Cloudflare receives a request for your chosen hostname, it proxies the request through those connections to cloudflared, which in turn proxies the request to your local service. This means anyone accessing your service has to go through Cloudflare, and Cloudflare can do caching, rewrite parts of the page, block attackers, or build Zero Trust rules to control who can reach your application (e.g. users with a @corp.com email). Previously, companies had to use VPNs or firewalls to achieve this, but Argo Tunnel aims to be more flexible, more secure, and more scalable than the alternatives.

Some of our larger customers have deployed hundreds of services with Argo Continue reading

European Union, Use Facts to Make Cybersecurity Decisions – Not Myths

Nearly 450 million EU citizens are counting on the Council of the European Union to make decisions that protect their safety. The Council has a duty make these decisions based on reliable information.

In the next week, the Council of the European Union is expected to consider a resolution that argues that law enforcement “must be able to access data in a lawful and targeted manner.” This resolution is the first step of a wider push by the European Union to demand law enforcement access to encrypted data.

But are they relying on accurate information to make their decisions?

A report leaked from the European Commission in September, Technical solutions to detect child sexual abuse in end-to-end encrypted communications, tries to analyze different ways to spot illegal content in private communications that use end-to-end encryption. This leaked report could influence their decison-making on encryption policy in the EU.

The EU Commission’s report alludes to the idea that some access methods may be less risky than others. However, the bottom line is that each method presents serious security and privacy risks for billions of users worldwide.

Don’t take just my word for it. According to the Internet Society and the Continue reading

Fast Failover: Topologies

In the blog post introducing fast failover challenge I mentioned several typical topologies used in fast failover designs. It’s time to explore them.

The Basics

Fast failover is (by definition) adjustment to a change in network topology that happens before a routing protocol wakes up and deals with the change. It can therefore use only locally available information, and cannot involve changes in upstream devices. The node adjacent to the failed link has to deal with the failure on its own without involving anyone else.

Apstra arms SONiC support for enterprise network battles

The community around the open-sourced Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) NOS got a little stronger as Apstra says its intent-based networking software is now more ready for enterprise prime-time than implementations from Cisco and Arista.The Linux-based NOS, developed and open sourced by Microsoft in 2017, decouples network software from the underlying hardware and lets it run on switches and ASICs from multiple vendors while supporting a full suite of network features such as border gateway protocol (BGP), remote direct memory access (RDMA), QoS, and  other Ethernet/IP technologies.To read this article in full, please click here