Have you ever read What’s in Your Backpack: Packing for Success in Life or watched the movie Up in the Air? What’s the common denominator? The backpack as a metaphor, of course! It makes sense to continually re-evaluate what we are carrying in our “backpacks.” There are times when we need to lighten the load to fill our journey with joy and success, and the same goes for our network.
Our networks are carrying a plethora of overlays, including BGP/MPLS VPNs, EVPNs, 802.1 VLANs, IEEE 802.1aq, TRILL, L2VPN, LISP, among many others [RFC7364]. They are littered with middleboxes, such as tunnel endpoints, packet classifiers, load balancers, firewalls, transcoders, relays, proxies, caches, and other gateways [RFC3234]. Is it possible to go where we want to go with all that in our backpack?
We seem to have resigned our networks to overlays, tunnels, and middleboxes, causing obscurity. There is anywhere between 15 to 35 percent overhead due to encapsulations alone. How about removing these devices and increasing bandwidth efficiency? Kind of exhilarating to get that out of your backpack and off your shoulders!
Studies show that the number of middleboxes is equal to the number of routers in networks today [APLOMB, SIGCOMM ‘12]. We have settled to double the number of devices in our network, maintain state in all of them, redirect traffic to these boxes, maintain, configure, and *gulp* – pay for these devices.
“Studies show that the number of middleboxes is equal to the number of routers in networks today.”
128 Technology Secure Vector Routing (SVR) can easily migrate these functions into a router via session based networking. Instead of service function chaining these devices and creating virtual functions for each one, you can prompt them to carry out advanced network tasks natively as needed within your network. This would reduce the number of devices significantly!
Middleboxes, along with the overhead and ambiguity of tunnels, are the heaviest components in your network backpack. SVR builds context-aware networks and removes the need for overlays, tunnels, and middleboxes. There are numerous other advantages like zero trust security, intelligent session routing, semantic networking, and innovative orchestration that lighten the load on your network. It improves network efficiency, resiliency, and performance.
A side-by-side comparison of IPSec and SVR shows 10 to 20 percent savings in bandwidth, not to mention the remaining advantages demonstrated by SVR. Traditional SD-WAN and legacy routing solutions, along with the new catch-all NFV/SDN approach, only reorganize your network backpack, not lessen the load. Get rid of that network complexity, simplify your network, and join businesses who have embraced innovation.
Stop struggling with the old and migrate to the new. We cannot always change the path we have in life, but we can make the hike easier if we reduce what’s in our backpack. There is no need to burn your network or rack your brains.