Broadcom Processors Are Blazingly Fast

Evan Mintzer attended Networking Field Day earlier this year and got to hear from Broadcom. As one of the most prominent merchant silicon companies across the networking stack, it’s not surprising that Evan was interested in what they had to say. Their presentation focused on their network processor silicon, and was complex enough that Evan had to rewatch it to make sure it understood it all. They did a deep dive on their processor architecture, which allows for truly impressive speeds, supporting a switch at up to 25.6Tbps using a Tomahawk4 processor. Be sure to check out the videos to get up to speed on their latest and greatest.

SD-WAN and Technical Debt

At a recent discussion with delegates at Networking Field Day, Tom Hollingsworth wondered why SD-WAN startups have been able to be so aggressive with innovating in the space, while established networking companies have struggled to keep up. This is endemic of the technical debt a lot of larger organizations carry. He considers something like Cisco’s IWAN, in many ways a precursor to modern SD-WAN. This ended up being complicated and hard to deploy because of many of the technology decisions that Cisco made years ago, resulting in both a software and hardware supply chain constraints on IWAN. Compare this to a startup, like the recent Networking Field Day presenter CloudGenix, who could design a solution around a desired functionality, rather than with a set of constraints inherited as technical debt. This SD-WAN example is just one way of looking at the role of technical debt in product development for large organizations.

How We Overcame the Challenges and Developed a Fully Distributed Network Operating System

This post from DriveNets’ Amir Krayden builds upon a previous post, where they looked at the challenges of developing their own fully distributed network operating system from scratch. This touches on a lot of what Amir discussed during the company’s recent presentation at Networking Field Day. By building a networking OS that is built for scale, service growth and orchestration, they’re able to base router architecture the the web scale native to the cloud. This piece digs into how the company solved the not inconsiderable challenges they faced.

Building a Software Defined Cloud Network With CloudGenix

In this case, Phil Gervasi makes the case that while a lot of SD-WAN conversations still position the solution as an emerging technology, that’s no longer the case. He argues that with clear uses cases having emerged, it is now a maturing technology, and that the differentiator for a lot of providers comes down to cloud connectivity. SD-WAN is less about cost saving and load balancing, and more about connecting to cloud resources and SaaaS apps easier, more secure, and with a better user experience. At Networking Field Day, he heard from CloudGenix, which offers an SD-WAN solution that’s almost completely cloud focused, based on software running on commodity equipment. Rather than an appliance-in-a-box approach, they do this to offer a SD-WAN fabric with hooks into a wide array of cloud-based SaaS and IaaS solutions.

Autonomous SD-WAN by CloudGenix- My Analysis

Faisal Khan attended his first Networking Field Day event in four years, and got up to date with CloudGenix’s autonomous SD-WAN solution. There’s no dearth of companies competing in the SD-WAN market, so Faisal was curious how they would differentiate. What caught his eye was their application-centric paradigm using a single edge appliance. This offers real-time analytics without the need for cloud-based controllers or a cloud analytics engine. Overall Faisal sees CloudGenix appealing to service providers or customers needing an efficient solution on the edge.


For Jeff Fry, one of the appeals of Networking Field Day is that he gets to hear from companies that he might not otherwise come across in his day to day work. DriveNets was a perfect example at a recent event. They largely address the tier 1 ISP market, and work to offer a network cloud approach by disaggregating the traditional router into building blocks consisting of Routing Engine, Fabric, and Packet Forwarders. This provides easier scale for service provides, providing a single box that scales out, rather than large quantities of managed devices at each layer. Combined with a fixed software license model, Jeff thinks they offer a really compelling package to ISPs.

What Is Closed-Loop Automation?

Tom Hollingsworth noticed that the term “closed-loop automation” was used a lot during a recent Networking Field Day event. This was presented as the desired end state for a lot of network automation efforts. In this post, Tom breaks down what is actually meant by the term. He contrasts this with open-loop systems, and lays out why closed-loop automation holds such allure. Overall Tom is excited at the prospect, but warns that running such an autonomous network means keeping on top of control systems to keep things running smoothly.

A Recap of DriveNets at Networking Field Day

DriveNet’s Martin Perlin wrote up a great summery of what the company showed the delegates at Networking Field Day. It’s great to hear that the event stands out as unique from their side. We really enjoy combining deep technical sessions with meaningful conversations around the delegate table. It helps foster the larger community and really cross-pollinates ideas. The showed how they are innovating with Communications Service Provider networks to allow them to operate even as the scale incredibly quickly. This is built using their container based DriveNets Network Operating System, helping service provider disaggregate their infrastructure.

My Time at Networking Field Day 22

The delegates to Field Day events often say that the experience is like drinking from the IT firehose. Over the course of three days, the dozen delegates get to hear intense technical session and engage in conversations with a number of diverse companies, and it can test the mental elasticity of even the most seasoned veteran. Evan Mintzer was recently in Silicon Valley for Networking Field Day and writes about the overall experiences in this post. The best part about the format is that it doesn’t allow for immediate hot takes, instead rewarding introspection and mental digestion about everything they heard. We can’t wait to hear Evan’s thoughts on all the presenters from the event as he works through all the information.

My View on Riverbed’s SD-WAN Solution

Evan Mintzer was definitely familiar with Riverbed prior to visiting the company as part of Networking Field Day. But it had been over a year since he worked with their solutions every day, so he was interested to hear their latest updates. One of the things that caught his eye during the event was a section by Chief Architect Vincent Berk. He detailed a new capability in Riverbed’s SD-WAN portfolio, that provides visibility into the network including when problems occur. This kind of continuous network monitoring is a vital addition to the Riverbed tool belt for Evan.

Fast Friday – Networking Field Day 22 Thoughts

Tom Hollinsworth is a traveling man, organizing Networking Field Day and then heading out to RSA Conference in the same month. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t updating his blog. In this post, he shares a few short takes on networking, including how startups have the flexibility to not be tied to technical debt, the difficulties of product integration, why we haven’t solved the Wi-Fi registration problem, and why looking at CLI through the lens of nostalgia covers up the reality of modern network complexity. If you’re not subscribed to Tom’s blog, you’re missing out!

Networking Field Day

It was great to have VMware present at our most recent Networking Field Day. At the event, they provided updates on a number of vital networking solutions within their portfolio. This included updates to NSX to provide improved networking and security for containers, which at scale can be challenging to manage otherwise. Check out their video demo of NSX container networking for Red Hat OpenShift 4.3 for more specifics. They also dived into NSX Advanced Load Balancer which is based on tech acquired with Avi Networks, and did several sessions on NSX analytical and intelligence capabilities. Much like NSX itself, their presentation covered a lot of ground, so be sure to watch the videos to get caught up on their latest.

Expect Radical Change to Traditionally Conservative Telco Industry Over Next Three Years, Finds Heavy Reading Survey

DriveNets presented for the first time at our recent Networking Field Day event, and was a great additional to the Field Day family of presenters. In this press release, they share the result of a recent survey looking into the future of service provider networking. The survey found that typical vendor lock-in is on the decline, with service providers increasingly pursuing a disaggregated approach to build networks, similar to how hyperscalers operate. Be sure to check out their recent Networking Field Day presentation videos to learn about their offerings in this increasingly important space.

CloudGenix to Share Best Practices for Creating Modern, Cloud-Delivered Branch Office Infrastructure at Networking Field Day 22 on Feb. 12

We really enjoyed having CloudGenix present at Networking Field Day at our most recent event. They discussed their approach to deploying SD-WAN with the delegates. Their customers have often tried SD-WAN deployments in the past, but CloudGenix discussed how they are able to offer true cloud-scale without being encumbered by legacy networking approaches. If you missed the live stream of their presentation, you can always catch it later on our YouTube channel. We keep a full catalog of all our presenters available to watch on-demand.

Meet Field Day Delegate – Tony Efantis

Tony Efantis may be a new face to Networking Field Day, but not to networking. As a CCIE and Cisco Champion, we can’t wait to have his expertise around the delegate table. In this interview with Gestalt IT, he shares his origin story with both technology in general and his IT career specifically. Besides his networking background, he gets into his musical and skateboarding past in the piece, and talks about where he sees IT going in the coming years. We’re thrilled to have Tony join the delegate ranks and can’t wait to hear his thoughts on the experience.

Meet Field Day Delegate – Kim Pedersen

Kim Pedersen is joining us for his first full Networking Field Day experience. He previously got a taste of the experience at Tech Field Day Extra at Cisco Live Europe last year, but this time he’ll be hearing from ten different networking companies over the course of three days. We can’t wait to hear what he thinks of drinking from the networking fire hose. If you haven’t check out the event coverage yet, be sure to check out this interview Kim did with Gestalt IT. They dig into how he got involved with tech, where he sees the industry going in the near future, and what are some of his biggest professional challenges.

Meet Field Day Delegate – Robb Boyd

Robb Boyd recently left the vendor side of IT to start his own media and education company, so Networking Field Day is his first appearance around the delegate table. With decades of experience in IT, Gestalt IT decided to interview Robb. Before you hear him on the event video coverage, be sure to check out the post. He talks about how he got into tech, where he sees the industry going, and how he manages work-life balance. We’re excited to have Robb at the event and can’t wait to hear his thoughts on the presentations!

Meet Field Day Delegate – Faisal Khan

Faisal Khan isn’t a new delegate to the Field Day community, but it’s been a hot minute since he last attended. He’s joining us for his first Networking Field Day since 2016, so we’re excited to hear from him around the table again. Since it’s been a while, Gestalt IT caught up with him for an interview. They dig into his background with tech, where he sees the industry going in the future, what was his first computer, and more. Be sure to check out the full interview!

Meet Field Day Delegate – Mary Fasang

Mary Fasang is joining us as a first time delegate at Networking Field Day. We’re always excited to add new voices and perspectives to the delegate community. It keeps the conversations around the table fresh, and allows for the presenting companies to really hear from the wider IT community. In this interview with Gestalt IT, Mary talks about how she got introduced to technology through her father’s semiconductor patent submission process, what she’s looking forward to seeing at the event, where she sees IT going in the near future, and what keeps her inspired. Be sure to check it out before you watch the event!

Network Field Day 22

It’s been a hot minute since Jeff Fry joined us at a full Field Day event, his last Networking Field Day appearance was in 2011! It’ll be great to have Jeff’s voice return to the delegate table for a three days full of interesting network presenters. We’ve got a full roster of ten presenting companies scheduled, so it’ll be a full drink from the IT firehose this time around. Be sure to mark your calendars for February 12-14 for the event. We’ll have a live stream of all presentations, so you can follow along with Jeff and the other delegates.