Did you miss Cumulus Networks’ session at Networking Field Day 2017 on February 26th? Or maybe you tuned in, and you want to reminisce on the best moments? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Check out our top five favorite highlights from Technical Marketing Engineer Pete Lumbis’ presentation about managing EVPN/VXLAN. (You can also watch the whole session here, if you’d prefer to hear it from the man himself. Prepare for an intelligent demonstration peppered with some good laughs!)

5) The Legos of Linux

It makes sense to start with the basics, and that’s exactly how we begin the presentation. In a daring move, Pete decides to illustrate Cumulus Linux’s capabilities sans-Powerpoint, and whiteboards the architecture of a Mellanox switch running our OS.

managing EVPN/VXLAN

One of the great things about Cumulus technology is that it’s all based in Linux. So, any configurations you would make on a Linux device are exactly the same on Cumulus Linux. Simple, right? That’s exactly our goal — allowing customers to easily customize their network as they see fit with basic building blocks. As Pete describes it, building the network is like “taking those Lego pieces and turning them into Saturn V.” The applications, tools, hardware, operating system and CLI are able to be stacked on top of one another to create a more complex network based on an organization’s specific needs.

4) Showing off NCLU

Our intuitive CLI first made a surprise guest appearance in Ixia’s preceding demonstration. (Props to our live viewers who caught that!) During our presentation, Pete takes a deeper dive into what the Network Command Line Utility (NCLU), another one of our Linux Legos, is capable of. Having Linux as your base unlocks all kinds of possibilities and benefits, such as scalability, flexibility and freedom of choice, but not all network engineers start out with a background in Linux. Fortunately, NCLU takes a steep learning curve and flattens it out at a non-developer’s level. With capabilities such as TAB complete, in-device examples (via the command net example) and established guard rails, NCLU gives operators at any level options for how they want to interface with Linux.

3) Build them up, break them down

We’ve talked a lot about building networks, but what do you do when you break them? It’s a bold move to intentionally put errors in your network then fix them live, but Pete’s not breaking a sweat thanks to the power of NetQ. Pete built this environment in Cumulus VX (and you can find his environment on github). The diagram below shows the architecture he’s working with.

managing EVPN/VXLAN

With NetQ, Pete is able to start “asking it questions” about the state of his network, such as whether or not BGP is working as expected. It also provides unparalleled visibility, which Pete demonstrates by looking into individual boxes. Of course, everything is working perfectly, but that’s not very exciting. What could NetQ do if something were to go wrong? To show off NetQ in its full glory, Pete decides to purposefully break his network — enter the Chaos Tamarin.

2) What’s a “Chaos Tamarin!?”

Another classic quote from Pete. While demonstrating the environment he wants to break, he poses the question, “How do I automate or randomize chaos in my network, besides hiring interns?” That’s where the Chaos Tamarin comes in. To summarize, it’s basically a tiny version of Netflix’s resilience-testing tool, Chaos Monkey. And we have to admit, the non-chaotic, squirrel-sized tamarins are pretty adorable.

managing EVPN/VXLAN

Pete uses the Chaos Tamarin to break BGP on three devices. Then, via the netq check bgp command, NetQ shows exactly which devices have failed and the reason for each failure.

managing EVPN/VXLAN

He is even able to look back in time to determine EXACTLY when, where and how the network error happened and replay the state in which it occurred. We may not have figured out time travel technology yet, but NetQ comes pretty close.

1) If you’re happy and you know it, Tweet it out!

One of the best parts of Networking Field Day is getting the chance to interact with like-minded professionals who are just as excited about the future of networking as we are. In addition to a lot of great questions, comments and feedback from the live audience at our demonstration, we also had a lot of fun live Tweeting the event (so blame the intern for any autocorrect errors). It was great to hear so much positivity from the community, both in person and online, pertaining to Pete’s presentation and demonstration. Here’s a few Tweets we particularly enjoyed:

managing EVPN/VXLAN

managing EVPN/VXLAN

A specific Tweet that stood out to us came from Eyvonne Sharp, the co-founder of Network Collective, who was also present at the event. In response to Pete’s NetQ demo, she wrote, “I’m wondering why we haven’t been doing networking this way all along.” Responses like this mean the world to us because that’s exactly the goal we want to achieve — to show everyone that there’s a better, more efficient way to do networking than proprietary vendors would have you believe. It’s awesome that the world of networking is catching on to our mission and liking what they see.

Want to build and test networks like the one Pete created? You can at absolutely no cost with Cumulus VX! Or, if you’d like to explore Cumulus Linux and NetQ, Cumulus in the Cloud provides a free, prebuilt virtual data center where you can play around with all of our products. Try them out!