Apstra at NFD16

Terry Slattery got a look at Apstra at Networking Field Day last year. He was impressed by the potential of their Apstra Operating System for intent-based networking. Now the company has announced support not just for more modern leaf-spine architectures, but for VXLAN overlays as well. He looks forward to the day when he can use AOS in a real network deployment.

AOS Bridging Two Worlds

At Networking Field Day last month, Apstra showed off version 2.0 of AOS, with a focus on how the OS can be used by developers. Previously Apstra had focused on operation applications of AOS, but with this new persona developers are able to create sophisticated AOS application products for operators to use on the platform. In this piece, Apstra’s Jeremy Schulman makes the case that this allows for businesses to stay agile and help operations and develops stay in step across network functions.

Apstra: Networking by Intent

Pete Welcher got to see more from Apstra at last month’s Networking Field Day. The company is pushing back on other companies jumping on the intent-based networking bandwagon, calling it “intent washing”. Pete remains impressed that the company clearly defines what they mean by intent, remain firmly hardware agnostic, and approaching their intent fabric as a single managed entity. This presentation focused on how developers can use Apstra’s intent-based features, which impressed Pete with the versatility for a number of different network roles.

Is the Data-Driven Network Next Step in Networking?

First we had software-defined network as the buzzword de rigueur. More recently intent-based networking has increasingly crept into marketing parlance. But Terry Slattery thinks he might have found a new network paradigm at work, one that has so far escaped buzzwordification. He postulates the data-driven network, which would use real time big data analytics on raw network traffic, and then use the results to optimize the network. Terry cites Cisco Tetration, Arista Networks, Apstra, and Veriflow Systems as example, all of which he saw at Networking Field Day last month.

Intent-Based Analytics: What is it?

After their presentation at Tech Field Day last month, Apstra’s Sasha Ratkovic shares a post defining intent-based analytics. Their solution is based around formally defining a single source of truth from which you can reason about the presence of change. This allows for analytics based on that criteria, rather than a constantly fluctuating current state.

NFD16 day two – Apstra

Apstra defines “intent” for their IDN solution as “the definition of the expected outcome”. After seeing their Networking Field Day presentation, Gian Paolo Boarina appreciated their ease of use, without sacrificing important features like robust configuration validation. Instead of merely backing up different device configuration throughout the network, Apstra has designed a “snapshot of intent” that generates configurations as needed to fit it. Its a powerful model, albeit one that calls for substantial trust.

Intent-Based Networking: What is it?

Apstra’s Sasha Ratkovic posts about what exactly is intent-based networking, based on their recent presentation from Networking Field Day. He reviews why organizations should be motivated to implement IBN, defines what Apstra specifically means by “intent”, and outlines how such an adoption can fundamentally lead to more agility and availability for your network.

Preserving and managing intent using Apstra AOS

Apstra’s AOS is a platform to allow network engineers to design a network based around an intended purpose or function, rather than muddling with an existing architecture who’s original intent can only be guessed. Amy Arnold points out that AOS simply isn’t a tool for building an initial configuration, but also a way for making revisions in a controlled manner, while documenting intent. This takes intent out of the realm of a network engineers thoughts, and forces it to be explicitly stated in a single source of truth.

Networking Field Day 16 Summary

Derik Winkworth shares Apstra’s reflections on their Networking Field Day presentation. At their second event, Apstra focused on how their AOS platform can be applied to developer roles to enable true intent-based networking. Make sure to watch both of their presentations to get up to date on the exciting possibilities.

NFD16 First Impressions

Networking Field Day just wrapped up earlier this month, but Ivan Pepelnjak already has his initial impressions in order. He nominated Avi Freedman from Kentik as winner of the “Nerd Factor” category for the event, with a close runner up from Apstra. The formal verification for networks from Veriflow also merited an initial mention. We’re looking forward to reading more from Ivan on each.

Apstra at NFD16

In this post, Jeremy Schulman gives a preview of what to expect from Apstra’s return presentation at Networking Field Day. They’ll have their CTO, Sasha Ratkovic and Derick Winkworth (aka @CloudToad) discussing the core concepts of intent-based networking. We saw AOS version 1.0 at last year’s Networking Field Day presentation, so it’ll be exciting to get an update!

Looking Forward to Networking Field Day 16

Networking Field Day is coming up next week, and we’re happy to have Pete Welcher returning as a delegate. He’s getting to revisit a company he saw at a previous event, Apstra and their intent-driven networking solution. Overall, Pete is looking forward to the presentations and talking to his fellow delegates.

Apstra’s Unique Approach to Networking

Pete Welcher looks at Apstra’s intent-based networking automation solution, which he first saw at Networking Field Day last November. The company has a intention-based engine and a working fabric model, which Pete sees as a possible solution to organizations that want to automate without the hassles of scale. For Pete, it’s a solution to “fiddle-ware”. Instead of training an IT team on how to manage a series of kludgy scripts and programs, they can standardize around Apstra.

Apstra’s Ethereal Network State

Apstra has a really interesting idea. What if you could design your network based on what you wanted to do with it? Instead of chaffing with the constraints of vendors and hardware, Apstra provides an abstraction layer to allow you to do this. Ethan Banks saw their presentation at Networking Field Day. He wrangled with the idea that Apstra is simply providing configuration management. But instead, they are providing a solution that takes a look at the network as a whole, something network engineers rarely can do. Instead, you state what you want to do with the network, and the Apstra Operating System tells you how to make that happens. It then knows the intent of the network, and is able to heal and remediate to keep that intent in place. Ethan thinks they’re entering into a crowded market, but that kind of model could really allow them to stand out.

On Network Blindness

Notable beard accomplisher and Apstra systems engineer Derick Winkworth shares some thoughts about network blindness. He compares it to face blindness, where people can see all the individual components, but cannot recognize them together. In much the same way, many network engineers build automation into their systems, without recognizing what the purpose of that network is, suffer from that same kind of affliction. Apstra developed with Apstra Operating System in response to this. It provides an abstraction over hardware to create networks with intentionality. The benefit of this is that it allows you to built a network around what you want to do, not change your behaviors based on the network. Derick gets into the nuts in bolts in the piece, but conceptually, its a refreshing take.

If you enjoy the piece, make sure to check out all of Apstra’s videos from Networking Field Day.

Apstra intends greatness beyond Sparta

Apstra has a really interesting pitch. What if instead of building your network around how each vendor’s node and appliance talked to one another and what capabilities it had, you could design the network the way you wanted it to work first, and use an abstraction layer to make sure all the individual pieces played nice with one another? That’s what Apstra is proposing with their Apstra Operating System (AOS). David Varnum gave it a look at Tech Field Day, and shares his enthusiasm for their intent-driven approach.

Networking Field Day 13 – Sneak Preview

Tony Mattke wrote a nice preview of Networking Field Day, held just last week in Silicon Valley. He runs through all of the presenting companies, and tells us what he was looking forward to seeing. Give it a read to whet your appetite, then check out all of the video coverage here!

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