In the world of networking, misconfigurations and inconsistencies can lead to significant issues for businesses, especially those in highly regulated industries such as financial services. One Fortune 500 financial services company experienced a nightmare scenario with their MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) settings, resulting in application and performance problems. Fortunately, the company found a solution in Forward Networks' digital twin. This blog post will delve into the MTU issues faced by the company and how Forward Networks helped them overcome these challenges.

The MTU Nightmare:

The financial industry is known for its tight control over deployments and configurations. However, this also means that any misconfiguration or inconsistency can have severe consequences. The financial services company had been facing application issues and performance problems that had been occurring randomly, making it difficult to identify the root cause. Eventually, it was discovered that there was a misconfiguration in the MTU settings of a cross link between core devices. While jumbo frames were enabled north and south, this cross link was set to a lower MTU size of 1500. The issues became more apparent when the primary path failed, and traffic started traversing this misconfigured link. The network devices had to fragment the traffic, resulting in processing delays.

Before incorporating Forward Networks' digital twin technology, the company had programmers writing custom scripts to identify misconfigurations. These scripts were scattered across personal drives, making it challenging to consolidate and analyze the vast amounts of data they generated. The team became overwhelmed with Excel files containing close to a million lines, making the investigation process nearly impossible.

Recognizing the need for a more efficient and centralized approach to network analysis, the company turned to Forward Networks. The company saw promising results with Forward Networks' digital twin solution, which offered out-of-the-box capabilities to address their MTU issues. Forward Networks provided a pre-built script specifically designed to identify MTU misconfigurations, convincing the company of the platform's suitability for their needs.

Although the pre-written script provided by Forward Networks yielded results, the company still needed to narrow down the information it wanted to see. Despite not being a programmer, one of the company's network engineers was able to customize the script using educational resources provided by Forward Networks and the company’s user community. The engineer successfully created a tailored solution that only displayed infrastructure MTU information, filtering out unnecessary data.

By leveraging the capabilities of Forward Networks' network assurance and intent-based networking platform, this company saved a significant amount of time by automating the identification of MTU issues. Forward Networks enabled them to replace manual, fragmented scripts with a centralized solution, empowering their engineers to analyze network data more efficiently. In turn, they have minimized downtime and ensured that their network infrastructure is robust and reliable.

Networking technology is undergoing renovations. Vendors are bringing out products that flip the network for multicloud and distributed information technology. These new network types can be a complex, layered handful from an operational perspective. Without visibility into the entire network, operations teams are left guessing about the effects of changes to their systems. Improved network operations, with the help of digital twins, are needed to match the growing complexity.

“In almost every dimension, networking is growing in complexity every single year,” said David Erickson (pictured), co-founder and chief executive officer of Forward Networks Inc... [READ MORE on SILICON ANGLE]

Palo Alto, California-based Forward Networks can create a virtual twin of a network to assure network performance. The firm was launched by four Stanford University Ph.D.s five years ago and has raised $33 million in two funding rounds.

Forward's software taps into configuration data and operational state information from every device on the network to create the virtual copy. The flow of data is constant, so the digital twin always is current. It tracks how the network is doing and assesses the impact that any hardware or software change has on operations. The data collection is done via APIs that link to major manufacturers' network equipment... [READ MORE on FIERCE TELECOM]

The great panacea for network IT the last several years has been more and more automation. Automation through orchestration. Simplifying and accelerating network administration tasks at the scale of large enterprise and cloud networks. Automation to keep up with the accelerated deployment of virtual applications, workload mobility and virtual networks. But if everything is happening so fast, and change is constant, can we keep the same degree of accuracy and assurance in our network and security deployments?

Automating complex network configuration processes is a great way to propagate errors at warp speed to all corners of your data center. Orchestration platforms can be great tools in the right hands, but small errors have a way of doing greater damage in profound ways. Like a power chain saw can do more damage with the slightest miscalculation. What's needed is to couple orchestration platforms with rapidly emerging network verification technology. Network verification can now be completely automated, so you aren't introducing additional manual processes to slow down your orchestration. But you can verify that everything is accurate and deployed correctly at light speed.

But what is network verification? If you've been following Forward Networks to get this far, you probably know already. Verification is much closer to an automated audit process than traditional tests that look at live traffic, log files, sniffers or port analyzers. It is a much more thorough analysis of the entire network end-to-end based on identifying theoretical sets of packets that could potentially breach stated policies. The analysis is based on a behaviorally-accurate mathematical model of your large network that can be queried for policy compliance and end-to-end behavior. You define the policy checks you need to have in place, and the platform verifies whether the current network configurations deviate from any of the policies. In minutes or less.

How would this work in practice? We just recorded a great 30-minute webinar and demo that gives a great example of this scenario in action. In the following presentation, we show how Forward Enterprise, our verification and network assurance platform, can be integrated with Cisco Network Services Orchestrator (NSO, formerly Tail-f), a leading automation platform. In this short video, you can see how Forward Networks:

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