We were very excited to be selected as a Gartner Cool Vendor in Enterprise Networking for 2018 according to their report (download now) released on May 7. We believe this recognition reflects the innovations we've made around intent-based networking, network operations and IT automation over the last year, as well as the continued traction we are seeing with customers in the market.
Forward Networks is improving our customers’ network agility by accelerating their ability to make network changes, automating the verification of network designs and dramatically shortening analysis and remediation cycles. Some of our customers are taking the opportunity to better align their accelerated DevOps processes with a more agile and efficient NetOps process where application requirements can be tested and verified in the network in a fraction of the time.
Forward Networks has helped pioneer an intent-based networking (IBN) approach. We think what separates us from other emerging vendors in this space, though, is our completely vendor-neutral approach with support for all major networking hardware vendors, including firewalls and load balancers. In systems like ours, accurately modeling the behavior of each device to perform path-based analysis and identify configuration errors is critical, and we can do it for 90% of any multi-vendor network out their today.
Another key factor is our completely agent-less approach, so we can provide a completely non-intrusive, non-disruptive solution that takes minutes to get up a running on your network. This allows us to add value today, right-away, on existing networks, and to not require a fork-lift to new hardware or only be used in greenfield environments.
Forward Essentials a cloud-hosted solution, allows you to map your network, manage and search configuration files and allows customers to gain experience with collecting data from their network devices. Forward Enterprise layers on the full network search/analysis and policy verification features required as part of an intent-based networking approach. Users can sign-up for Forward Essentials here.
[Note: Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.]
Monday morning this week, Internet access in many areas across the U.S. were severely compromised and routes through several carriers reported problems. Although remediation was fast (about 90 minutes), a simple router misconfiguration in the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) set-up through one of the carriers appears to be the culprit. And this time it appears to be a simple human error.
Down Detector’s user-generated outage map shows the scope of the problem:
The particular error, as noted by several sources, appears to be a route leak between ISPs. ISP’s use Autonomous Systems (AS) to discover the best paths through other service provider networks using BGP. In this case misconfigured router caused one ISP to send inefficient or bad routing path information to others, causing packets to be delayed or dropped completely.
As Wired further reported:
Route leaks can be malicious, sometimes called "route hijacks" or "BGP hijacks," but Monday's incident seems to have been caused by a simple mistake that ballooned to have national impact. Large outages caused by accidental route leaks have cropped up before...
Internet outages of all sizes caused by route leaks have occurred occasionally, but consistently, for decades. ISPs attempt to minimize them using "route filters" that check the IP routes their peers and customers intend to use to send and receive packets, and attempt to catch any problematic plans. But these filters are difficult to maintain on the scale of the modern internet, and can have their own mistakes.
Monday's outages reinforce how precarious connectivity really is, and how certain aspects of the internet's architecture—offering flexibility and ease-of-use—can introduce instability into what has become a vital service.
The key takeaways from this event are:
The final takeaway is that this is exactly the kind of misconfiguration error that Forward Enterprise is designed to detect and report, well before reaching this kind of performance degradation and business impact. Our intent-based verification system can find the needle in the haystack to focus on the potential errors and how they can be remediated, across very large telco-scale networks.
As Wired noted, state of the art in detecting routing leaks has traditionally relied on route filters that are difficult to maintain on the scale of the Internet. On the other hand, Forward Networks proactively identifies misconfiguration errors like this ahead of time because we compare the network intent (or policy requirements like network A sends to network C through B) to the de facto BGP router configurations and can quickly alert any discrepancy. Forward maintains a mathematical model of all device configurations and routing paths and would expose where route leaks exist and which devices need to be addressed.
It’s a revolutionary approach and platform to address a myriad of tedious manual network configuration errors and policy violations. Interested to learn more? Get a quick demo of how we can analyze your network device configurations, network states and head off any disruptions in your business.