Network Field Day 14 is like a drug for tech junkies (albeit legal), and I’ll be getting my fix next week. I’m attending thanks to an invitation from the fine folks at TFD. Presentations will be streamed live and archived online, so you can get your fix too.
The TFD team has lined up a compelling group of presenters that cover everything from switching and routing to SD-WAN to SDN to analytics to network silicon to automation and orchestration. That’s an excellent range of topics that will stretch different parts of my brain over three days of slides and demos.
I’m also looking forward to being the same room with the delegates, a group of very smart people armed with reams of practical experience. I’m going to learn as much as I can from them throughout the event.
Here’s a little information on each of the presenters, and some speculation on what they might talk about. If the Packet Pushers have covered these companies in blogs or podcasts, I’ve included relevant links.
The Wednesday Lineup
Anuta sells software for multivendor network services orchestration. My first question for Anuta will be “What do you mean by that?” I presume it has something to do with automation and deploying gear and services more quickly, but when you have to touch heterogeneous vendor hardware and software, things get sticky, so the details will matter.
Packet Pushers coverage: Show 301 – Intent Driven Network Service Orchestration with Anuta NCX – Sponsored
Barefoot is building a programmable networking chip called Tofino and taking on the likes of Broadcom in the process. That’s deeply ambitious and very exciting because it will let organizations configure how Tofino processes packets, enabling customization at the data plane. Barefoot is closely aligned with efforts around P4, an open-source language for programming network device.
Getting into the guts of packet processing at the chip level is likely to liquefy my brain, but I will hang in as best I can. I anticipate asking questions about their target markets, use cases, and what might attract the enterprise to Tofino.
Packet Pushers coverage: Startup Barefoot Networks Wins Investment From Chinese Internet Giants
This company is brand-new to me. They’re an analytics company that focuses on network performance. They collect network data on premises, do some inspection, and send a subset of that data to a cloud engine for further analysis and reporting. Analytics is the new hotness, so Nyansa is well positioned. I’m eager to get more details on how they gather information, what they do with it, and how they differentiate themselves in a market that’s getting more hotly contested.
The Thursday Lineup
Big Switch is all about software-driven data center networking. They’re among a handful of startups that have actually found success with SDN, and they’re running with it. Toward the end of last year Big Switch rolled out a new initiative called BigSecure Architecture, which is built around its BigMonitoring Fabric, so I assume this will be their Field Day focus. If that’s the case, tt’s got a lot of moving parts, so I’ll be happy to have a good chunk of time to break it down.
Packet Pushers coverage: Big Mon Inline, BigSecure Architecture & Re-thinking Your DMZ
While Riverbed is most closely associated with WAN optimization, it has a product line that also includes network and application performance monitoring, branch switches, and SD-WAN. That last one is important because Riverbed is making SteelConnect, its SD-WAN product, the centerpiece of its technology offerings.
I expect Riverbed will spend a significant portion of its time on the SteelConnect, as well as how it will integrate other product features and capabilities into the SD-WAN platform.
Packet Pushers coverage: Riverbed’s SteelConnect 2.0: Late, But Not Too Late, To The SD-WAN Party
The Friday Lineup
Kentik combines network data such as flow records and SNMP and BGP information with big data to provide insightful and actionable monitoring, analytics, and DDoS detection in real time. The company operates as a SaaS service and targets service providers, Web companies, and the enterprise.
Kentik has sponsored a few Packet Pushers podcasts, and CEO/cofounder Avi Freedman is a dyed-in-the-wool geek, so I presume he’ll do very well in front of the delegates. This is the second pure-play analytics company on the Field Day slate, so questions about differentiation and value proposition are sure to arise.
Packet Pushers coverage: PQ Show 101: Kentik NPM For Cloud & DDoS Detection (Sponsored)
Juniper Networks builds routers and switches for telcos, service providers, and the enterprise, and has a line of products across security, SDN, and management. Given the company’s breadth, it could go a variety of directions for NFD, but I’ll bet its Contrail orchestration platform will get some time. The company also rolled out new firewalls and a policy enforcement module in the fall of 2016, so it’s possible those products will show up.
Packet Pushers coverage: Where Is Juniper Going? 10 Questions On Direction & Strategy
Silver Peak has its roots in WAN optimization, but the company was quick to recognize the growth potential of SD-WAN a few years ago, and moved aggressively to build and roll out its Unity EdgeConnect product. It’s a safe assumption that this will be Silver Peak’s focus.
I’m very curious about the market reception for Unity EdgeConnect because there’s a lot of competition from startups, other incumbents (see above), and service providers and telcos that are offering SD-WAN services. I plan to ask about its latest updates and competitive differentiation.
Packet Pushers coverage: Silver Peak, Masergy Partner On SD-WAN Service
How To Follow
There’ll be a lot of social media activity (jokes, snark, rude comments, and a few insightful thoughts) during the presentations. Look for the #NFD14 hashtag if you want to play along via Twitter. And stay tuned for more coverage from me and Greg Ferro, who’s also attending.