Automated Testing & Intent Verification for Network Operations

Jason Edelman considers why networks often lack the robust testing tools that are the bedrock of software development. He recently saw a solution from Veriflow at Networking Field Day that might move networking closer to having better preemptive testing. They offer built in consistency and intent-based checks to define the state of the network and when something appears out of compliance. He also likes that their platform exposes all of this functionality via a RESTful API.

Assuring your network will do what you think it…

Tim Miller wrote up his thoughts on what he saw from Forward Networks at Networking Field Day last year. Their solution is billed for providing network assurance, which they break down into correctness and performance. Their presentation focused on correctness, which they use sophisticated modeling to formally verify. Tim reviews the implications of their Forward Platform in terms of business intent, highlights their strong search functionality, and predication engine.

NFD13: Forward Networks Comes Out of Stealth to Impress

Peter Welcher reviews what he saw from Forward Networks once they came out of stealth. Peter seemed impressed with how Forward is able to put together a database model of network configurations that can be searched and indexed independent of actually operating on the network. This can then be used for fast troubleshooting, as well as testing configurations to make sure they’re operating within a desired state. Overall, Peter sees this as a way to not spread you senior enterprise talent too thin. While there isn’t any automated remediation backed in, the powerful forecasting tools they present make it possible to better utilize talent in your organization.

Forward Thinkers, Forward Networks

Rob Coote shares his impressions from what he saw with Forward Networks at Networking Field Day last month. He really highlights how Forward’s software modeling of network performance could impact, not just the performance of the network, but the worth routines of network engineers. By effectively giving you a network lab to tinker with in software, their solution theoretically eliminates the “wait-and-see” approach to changes in a network. Rob really hopes they are able to move their solution beyond just monitoring to remediation. But he makes a really great point on the very human impact Forward Networks could have.

The Quest for Verification with Forward Networks

Forward Networks gave a presentation fresh out of stealth mode at Networking Field Day, and it certainly made an impression with Rich Stroffolino. He outlines how the company is doing their network monitoring. They model all possible places a packet can go on a network in a constantly updating software model. This allows you to not only react when problems occur, but also for better planning and provisioning, since you can model traffic very accurately in the software model. We’ll wait to see how their solution gets deployed in an actual enterprise, but on a theoretical level it’s fascinating.

Forward Networks – go ahead, break it

Amy Arnold laments the plight of the network engineer. The agonize over network design, try to come up with every conceivable failover scenario, and then deal with the consequences. Some have the aid of a lab to help test their configuration, most don’t. That’s why what Forward Networks presented at Networking Field Day was so interesting. It allows for you to model over your network in software, and then break it in every conceivable way. Forward’s model shows every a packet can possibly go, allowing the engineer to see exactly how a scenario will play out. She was justifiably concerned about how their product will be priced going forward, but otherwise it seems like a valuable tool in the engineer’s arsenal.

State of the Industry: Network Analytics

Gestalt IT just debuted a new feature, a weekly State of the Industry post. For their first week, they’re looking at the state of network analytics. They take a look at two competing methodologies to the problem. The first is SolarWinds NetPath tool, which sits in the network. The SolarWinds approach seems to take the ideas behind existing tools, and looks to perfect them. The other method is Forward Networks, which is presenting a top-down approach to do live mapping purely in software. Both are interesting, and point to further investment and development in the space going into 2017.