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The Hedge

Author: The Hedge

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A wide ranging network engineering podcast. The Hedge covers technology to life as a network engineer, Internet wide issues to small scale networks.
98 Episodes
Hedge 101: In Situ OAM

Hedge 101: In Situ OAM


Understanding the flow of a packet is difficult in modern networks, particularly data center fabrics with their wide fanout and high ECMP counts. At the same time, solving this problem is becoming increasingly important as quality of experience becomes the dominant measure of the network. A number of vendor-specific solutions are being developed to solve this problem. In this episode of the Hedge, Frank Brockners and Shwetha Bhandari join Alvaro Retana and Russ White to discuss the in-situ OAM work currently in progress in the IPPM Wg of the IETF.
Most network engineers don't spend a lot of time thinking about their supply chain—you must call your favorite vendor, order, and a few weeks later the hardware shows up on your loading dock. It's not so simple any more. If you disaggregate, you need to manage your software and hardware supply chains separately. You need to think about security in your supply chain—is that software package backdoored? Moving to the cloud might seem to solve these problems, but they don't. Even virtual networks have physical limits.
Hedge 99

Hedge 99


Two things have been top of mind for those who watch the 'net and global Internet policy—the increasing number of widespread outages, and the logical and physical centralization of the 'net. How do these things relate to one another? Alban Kwan joins us to discuss the relationship between centralization and widespread outages. You can read Alban's article on the topic here.
Drones are becoming—and in many cases have already become—an everyday part of our lives. Drones are used in warfare, delivery services, photography, and recreation. One of the problems facing the world of drones, however, is the strong tie-in between the controller and the drone; this proprietary link limits innovation and reduces the information available to public officials to manage traffic, and even to protect the privacy of drone operators. The DRIP working group is building protocols designed to standardize the drone-to-controller interface, advancing the state of the art in drones and opening up the field for innovation. Stuart Card joins Alvaro Retana and Russ White to discuss DRIP.
Language is deeply contextual—one of my favorite sayings from the theological world is if you take the text out of its context, you are just left with the con. What does context have to do with development and operations, though? Can there be low and high context situations in the daily life of building and running systems? Thomas Limoncelli joins Tom Ammon and Russ White to discuss the idea of low context devops, and the larger issue of context in managing projects and teams, on this episode of the Hedge.
It often seems like the IETF is losing steam—building standards, particularly as large cloud-scale companies a reducing their participation in standards bodies and deploying whatever works for them. Given these changes, what is the future of standards bodies like the IETF? Mark Nottingham joins Tom Ammon and Russ White in a broad-ranging discussion around this topic.
If you're like me, you've heard a lot of hype about quantum—but you've never really been able to understand what quantum networking might be useful for. On this episode of the Hedge, Josh Slater, who works in the field of quantum networking, Ethan Banks, and Russ White discuss the current state of quantum networking and potential use cases for the technology. Things are farther along than you might think.
We talk a lot of about telemetry in the networking world, but generally as a set of disconnected things we measure, rather than as an entire system. We also tend to think about what we can measure, rather than what is useful to measure. Dinesh Dutt argues we should be thinking about observability, and how to see the network as a system. Listen in as Dinesh, Tom, And Russ talk about observability, telemetry, and Dinesh's open source network observability project.
In most areas of life, where the are standards, there is some kind of enforcing agency. For instance, there are water standards, and there is a water department that enforces these standards. There are electrical standards, and there is an entire infrastructure of organizations that make certain the fewest number of people are electrocuted as possible each year. What about Internet standards? Most people are surprised when they realize there is no such thing as a "standards police" in the Internet. Listen in as George Michaelson, Evyonne Sharp, Tom Ammon, and Russ White discuss the reality of standards enforcement in the Internet ecosystem.
What if you could connect a lot of devices to the Internet—without any kind of firewall or other protection—and observe attackers trying to find their way "in?" What might you learn from such an exercise? One thing you might learn is a lot of attacks seem to originate from within a relatively small group of IP addresses—IP addresses acing badly. Listen in as Leslie Daigle of Thinking Cat and the Techsequences podcast, Tom Ammon, and Russ White discuss just such an experiment and its results.
Automation is surely one of the best things to come to the networking world—the ability to consistently apply a set of changes across a wide array of network devices has speed at which network engineers can respond to customer requests, increased the security of the network, and reduced the number of hours required to build and maintain large-scale systems. There are downsides to automation, as well—particularly when operators begin to rely on automation to solve problems that really should be solved someplace else. In this episode of the Hedge, Andrew Wertkin from Bluecat Networks joins Tom Ammon and Russ White to discuss the naïve reliance on automation.
Bluecat, in cooperation with an outside research consultant, jut finished a survey and study on the lack of communication and divisions between the cloud and networking teams in deployments to support business operations. Dana Iskoldski joins Tom Ammon and Russ White to discuss the findings of their study, and make some suggestions about how we can improve communication between the two teams. Please find a copy of the study at
I often feel like I'm "behind" on what I need to get done. Being a bit metacognitive, however, I often find this feeling is more related to not organizing things well, which means I often feel like I have so much to do "right now" that I just don't know what to do next—hence "processor thrashing on process scheduler." Todd Palino joins this episode of the Hedge to talk about the "Getting Things Done" technique (or system) of, well ... getting things done.
The network monitoring world is rife with formats for packets being measured—every tool has its own format. What would make things a lot better for network engineers is a standard data representation for packet analysis, no matter what format packets are captured in. Jordan Holland joins Russ White and Tom Ammon on this episode of the Hedge to discuss the problem and nprint, a standard packet analysis format and tools for converting from other formats.
The Hedge 86: TCPLS

The Hedge 86: TCPLS


TCP and QUIC are the two primary transport protocols in use on the Internet today—QUIC carries a large part of the HTTP traffic that makes the web work, while TCP carries most everything else that expects reliability. Why can't we apply the lessons from QUIC to TCP so we can merge these two protocols, unifying Internet transport? TCPLS is just such an attempt at merging the most widely used reliable transport protocols.
It's easy to assume automation can solve anything and that it's cheap to deploy—that there are a lot of upsides to automation, and no downsides. In this episode of the Hedge, Terry Slattery joins Tom Ammon and Russ White to discuss something we don't often talk about, the Return on Investment (ROI) of automation.
Many engineers just assume that secure hardware boot is, in fact, secure. How does this security work, and just how secure is it, though? David Brown joins Tom Ammon, Eyvonne Sharp, and Russ White on this episode of the Hedge to discuss the secure boot loader in some detail. For more information on the secure boot loader and IoT, see David's presentation at the Open Source Summit.
Network engineers tend to look at the world through the lens of a single device—an individual appliance, sold by a vendor, with a well-developed CLI for configuration and maintenance. Networks, however, are the "odd person out" in the world of information technology. In the broader technology world, a stronger systems-oriented view is more common. In this episode of the Hedge, Bruce Davie joins Tom Ammon and Russ White to discuss a systems view of the world, as well as a new publishing model he's working on, and some thoughts on the place of SDN.
Intentionally poisoning BGP routes in the Default-Free Zone (DFZ) would always be a bad thing, right? Actually, this is a fairly common method to steer traffic flows away from and through specific autonomous systems. How does this work, how common is it, and who does this? Jared Smith joins us on this episode of the Hedge to discuss the technique, and his research into how frequently it is used.
QUIC is a middle-aged protocol at this point—it's several years old, and widely deployed although TCP still dominates the transport layer of the Internet. In this episode of the Hedge, Jana Iyengar joins Alvaro Retana and Russ White to discuss the motivation for developing QUIC, and its ongoing development and deployment.
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