The Art of Network Engineering

Ep 112 - NFD30 Special!

February 08, 2023 A.J., Andy, Dan, Tim, and Lexie Episode 112
The Art of Network Engineering
Ep 112 - NFD30 Special!
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, A.J. and Tim are joined by repeat guest Girard Kavelines, of TechHouse570. The guys all attended Networking Field Day 30 together and wanted to share their thoughts on what they saw at the event. 

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This is the Art of Network Engineering podcast.

In this podcast, we'll explore tools, technologies, and talented people. We aim to bring you information that will expand your skill sets and toolbox, and share the stories of fellow network engineers.

Welcome to the art of network engineering. I am AJ Murray at No Blinky Blinky on the Twitters and I have the privilege and honor of being joined this evening by Tim. He is at Timbertino. Tim, how you doing? I'm good AJ, I'm still coming down from this high of our topic this evening though. I know, I know. I can't wait to get into it, how you doing? Oh man, I'm doing really well. Yeah, you know, I.

I feel so spoiled when I get to see you, like, or anybody on the team, like, more than once a year. And so, like, I saw you in October a couple years ago, and then I saw you last year when we all got together in Nashville, and then I get to see you again this year. And it's like, oh, yes. Yeah, we're getting to be on almost six-month increments. I know. See if we can keep that up. That's more than I could ever ask for. I'm just happy to see you every now and then. That's great.

And I'd like to welcome back Gerard Cavalinas. He is at G Cavalinas on Twitter. Gerard, thank you so much for joining us again, man. Welcome back. Oh, thanks for having me back. I think the last time we all got to kick it was in October, the Halloween episode. Oh, yeah. That was the last time, episode 69. That was a fun one. Yeah, man, that was that was over a year ago now. I know, right? And like, COVID and everything. And then finally, it took two years, but I finally got to meet y'all, networking field day. See, and that's hard to believe, Gerard, because

I went into that knowing that I was gonna meet you for the first time Physically and when I did it wasn't like I met you for the first time. Yeah, if that makes any sense Yeah, it was just so weird. I was I mean listen, I'll say it again. It was with the highlights I mean the whole of that was phenomenal again to hang out with you two was I mean especially like I tell everybody You know, you two are my closest friends. I talked to you a lot, you know every other day and Yeah, it's two years in the making so I was like when we got there It was just like picking up like I could actually have a beer with these guys and hang out and you know, it was great

So and we did do that. We did. We had a few. So if you're listening now, you're probably wondering, what are these guys talking about? And so it's a few weeks after the fact now. So a few weeks ago, we got together at Networking Field Day 30. It's associated with Tech Field Day. And what these events do, if you're not familiar, is they bring in content creators from all over the internet.

and they present or they bring in vendors as well and they present on the latest and greatest coming from all these vendors. And we get to poke holes in their solution, ask questions and just really dig into it with the presenters. And it's a really unique opportunity because usually when these presenters are giving these kinds of spiels, it's to a customer and there's a sale on the line. But there is no sale on the line. We're not buying anything from them this time around. They're just giving us their pitch and we get to really ask some thoughtful questions.

and get more information out of them. All of these sessions are recorded. You can go to and check those out. But what we wanna do for you today here in this episode of A1 is to kind of recap the presentations that we saw while we're at Network Field Day 30 and what stuck out to us as we thought was like most interesting and forward thinking and what we're excited to see. So let's jump right into it. There was a bunch of presenters that we saw.

You know, the first one that comes to my mind that was really one of the great presentations that we saw came from Juniper and Juniper was talking about their implementation of VXLan and EVPN on the campus. So what are your guys thoughts on that? I want to start at the beginning with Juniper. What I really appreciate about how they have presented and I'm pretty sure they showed us this back when we attended virtually.

networking field day 26 and 2021 is they start off with kind of what their mission is for their different products and they call it their experience first networking. So they show us this pyramid and the end user or the customer experience is at the top and all of their solutions, their automated WAN, their cloud ready data center and their AI driven enterprise are all feeding into make that user experience better with embedded security.

I'm pretty sure they showed this back at NFD 26 over a year ago. So it was really cool to see that that's still their mission and they still bring that as a forethought. As far as the, what was that called? The campus fabric. So campus fabric is really interesting because it's giving you that seamless experience across.

campus and they give you multiple different topology options where you can integrate your entire core distribution access or just your distribution access down or just your core. And you're really building this seamless environment where users can roam among the campus, keep their same layer two and layer three adjacencies, their same IP addresses, and they're also adding in micro segmentation as part of their automated campus fabric. What do you guys think?

Well, just to kind of piggyback on that too, what I really love, and I think it's like the security guy in me, right, is their solution, they really designed it and kind of tailored and narrowed it down to security, right? So I mean, you hear security a lot and having good security posture is kind of imperative in an environment. What I liked though was they designed it more around, you know, the authentication, a lot of the like infrastructure and kind of like the sensors and policy enforcement. So it allows you to go ahead and I believe it was called a, what was it? It was a radius solution.

And that way it allows you to kind of determine and pre configure like authentication actions, certain policies. You could tweak a lot of things because especially when you have a lot of devices coming on, you know, whether it be an on campus device or again, you know, like BYOD, like someone's bringing a phone or tablet, it gives you a lot more granular insight, which I like, you know, especially with a lot of like visibility solutions. Yeah, I think they got tired of me asking micro segmentation questions. Because Gerard, I'm with you. I hit that hard because that's.

That's something that I deal with on a regular basis. And so from a security side, security aspect, you mentioned it Gerard, there are multiple ways of handling that authentication and authorization. One is with an external radius solution. They integrate with really anything that operates a radius protocol.

But they also have some embedded enforcement. You can do the scalable group tagging that a lot of us are familiar with, both from a radius solution, or you can create static groups within their own solution to really provide that micro-segmented network across the campus. Yeah, I'm just excited to see another player in the space, right? Like, you know, Cisco's got DNA Center and...

There's really not anybody else to speak of. And now there's Juniper here with their Enterprise Campus Fabric. And I just really like the competition that that brings about. I thought that having the different options for the design was unique, and it wasn't just a here, take this kind of product. And then the delivery engineer in me was particularly excited when you can talk about,

pre-building the fabric without even having the switches shipped, right? And then you can build the entire thing, you can design it and build it in their UI. And then once the switches do arrive, you just have to cable them up and let them report into the cloud and then they'll pull down the configuration and everything. It's just like that's pretty awesome. In a world where there's shipping delays with everything, you know, and I don't know what Juniper lead times look like these days, but still, like whether it's one week.

or a month or whatever it is, to be able to start working right away on what you're going to be deploying is pretty awesome. It's like zero touch provisioning on a next level. And I give that, you know, especially like you said, DNA center and stuff. I always thought that was phenomenal, but like they're really kind of up in the ante, you know, being able to do that. So yeah, absolutely. Well, in the interest of time, any last thoughts on Juniper before we jump on to the next? I did just want to call out. Like you said, they

their presentation style. They had multiple presenters in there and it really just, it flowed really well. In fact, I caught up with them after the fact and let them know. And when there was a question that was asked that wasn't necessarily the responsibility of the person that was presenting at the time, the person, the other person in the room that had that jumped in right away. They didn't, they didn't need to wait.

for somebody to say, hey, well, this other person may know, they jumped in right away. It just really, I think they kept it really conversational. They had a good flow to it. Yeah, yeah, it was a great presentation. You can tell, like, they know the product, they're proud of the product, and they're just really good presenters. Like, I think they could have been presenting on anything, and they would have had all of us, like, in their grips. Like, they just did a great job. So the next presentation we saw was from Ariaka. So I was new to Ariaka, had never heard it. The, they...

Presented themselves as an SD WAN company, but I think they were more WAN as a service and this is a real problem And not that they're misnaming themselves as a real problem like they are solving a real problem I work with enterprises of all different kinds of sizes and to Have such a spread out WAN you're probably not going to get lucky and have the last mile for all your locations be serviced by the same ISP so

to be able to go to a company like Ariaka and have them handle your entire WAN for you, that's huge in my opinion. I think that solves a very real and a very big problem. Thoughts? Yeah, that wasn't something that I expected as being a pitch at NFD, but you nailed it, AJ. That is an issue with enterprises, I think both large and small. Sure. When you have a distributed environment with many remote locations,

or even a few, you may not have the same carriers that are available at all those sites. So you don't get the same offering. So for one to have an SD-WAN solution that can take in any circuit, any kind of carrier, and tie that back altogether, and get you access to the cloud. But they have a service, a managed service, to procure those circuits and manage all of those relationships with the different carriers, which is...

which is huge when because if that doesn't happen, who's that gonna fall on? Either the billing department, which is probably gonna need to pull in IT anyway. So you're gonna be spending time and resources just dealing with billing and circuit support. I mean, who wants to do that? So the fact that Ariaka gives that up as a solution is, that was an interesting play. It was. The only, my only take, and it wasn't even a bad, they did a phenomenal presentation.

I think any company, but Ariac especially, to really bring it home, take that service, I would like that just, that's your bread and butter, right? Like I think that's gonna be where the meat of everything is because the only thing at one point that had me a little confused, I don't know about you guys, but like, they're like, well, we offer, you know, WAN as a service and we'll manage all your WAN infrastructure and okay. And then we're an MSP and then we're this. And I was starting to get a little confused, but I feel like they're aware of that. And I know, you know, when we did the post questions and stuff, that was one thing.

we had brought up and some of us had addressed because that's literally that you guys just hit the nail on the head, right? And especially coming from a healthcare background and now into a different environment, it's all the same in the sense that it's gonna fall somewhere. And I've seen it personally firsthand, especially in a healthcare environment, when it does go to, which is ironic, you brought that up, Tim. When it goes to the billing department, nine times out of 10, that voice is gonna sit there at the desk. And then it's like, oh well, here's that notice, by the way. And you're like, well, how'd this get missed? And then they pull you in, so.

I mean, yeah, it's great that there are companies, but Ariaka especially, there's somebody who's offering that to take that burden off of you, to consolidate that, manage all those uplinks, manage that connectivity, and then you're not gonna have to worry about it. It's one massive piece of the puzzle that's off your plate. Kind of monitor it and keep an eye on it as you go, but you're not gonna have to really take too much time to focus and tailor, shoot it to that. They led the presentation with the SD-WAN offering, and then when they got into the WAN as a service offering,

Oh, oh, okay. Yeah, now. That's what you do. Yeah. Yeah. Now I get it. That was a great time. Yeah. Excellent. All right. After Ariaka, we heard from Cisco. Now, the Cisco presentation was a little bit more geared towards ISPs and very large enterprises. They were talking about their new solution and the name is escaping me right now.

the Cisco CrossWork Network Controller. CrossWork Network Controller, that's it. I was like, it was Cross something. We have controller and automation solutions that we're all aware of for campus and data center networks. So this one was different for me. Like you said, AJ, it was definitely geared toward ISPs, service providers, and large networks. So it's an automation solution, a controller-based solution for deploying.

operating and monitoring IP transport networks. This was something I had, now obviously I'm not in a service provider environment, but I had never heard of this, but I definitely get that there's a need. I mean, these are some of the biggest networks in the world. Yeah, I guess you'd wanna automate the deployment and monitoring of those. Probably a good idea. Absolutely. I'm gonna take a minute real quick.

because like I'm not in the, I am not in the ISP space. So a lot of the stuff, I'm being honest, went over my head. But I want to give a big shout out to David Pinozza, because one, I love it, you're awesome. But two, that whole presentation, the whole time, and I mean, maybe in the, you know, show notes, we'll put these, like he made it, so he had already written about this previously, and he had touched base on it, and the way he explained it for someone, maybe me or Tim, who we heard about it, but since we don't use it day to day, that technology's outside of my, he really kind of was like,

Let me let me break this down in a lot simpler terms. He carried us in that one. Absolutely. For sure. Fullheartedly. Most certainly did. Yeah. So the speed at which that man types is unbelievable, because he would sit there and type in our delegate chat, and then he would be tweeting as well. And it's just like, how is he doing that? And I thought I was quick.

I thought I was, I still think it was the glasses. The glasses he was wearing, those were not traditional glasses that had some sort of AI ML soup going on in those things. Yeah, yeah. So again, you know, big thank you to David for that. Unfortunately, David couldn't join us tonight. We had a few of the other delegates that were there that were set to join us and for one reason or another things came up and they couldn't. So but yeah, big thank you to David because he did spend a lot of time kind of decoding

the conversation back up to our level. Because we don't do service provider. He works for a service provider. He understands exactly what they're talking about. And he understood the need and saw the value. And he was able to translate that to us so we could have an appreciation for it while sitting there in that room. But yeah, very interesting stuff coming from Cisco and their crosswork network controller. Next up was Arista.

Arista brought some pretty cool stuff. They also had a very good presentation and they also kind of brought up a potential network as a service offering. And they're doing a lot with telemetry and data lakes. And one of the interesting things that Ken brought up is that based on the telemetry that they've been getting, they were able to detect and recommend the replacement of

pretty good failure period. They said we can predict the failure of these pretty reliably to within like six weeks. And it's just like, that's pretty impressive. And that's the kind of stuff that I wanna see come from all of this telemetry and all this data lakes and everything else that they're doing, right? Like, don't just tell me that there's a problem. Tell me that there's going to be a problem and now it's time to fix it. Cause now you're talking about truly proactive TAC connections, right? Like...

Don't just open a ticket on my behalf because you see a problem in the logs You're looking at the logs and you can see there's about to be a problem now. We're talking Yeah, and I think that's nice too, right because universally with all these different tools and solutions out there the more visibility and I mean has automations grown and so I feel like like that's all of our loves but

the more it grows, the more visibility we have. That's fine, the deeper you can go with it and you'll leverage those tools, because it's real easy, right? Especially in a situation or instance like, hey, I'm gonna open a support case with Tac. And then, you know, they'll say, too many cooks spoil the soup, right? You have all these people looking at it, and I feel like things in that instance get overlooked. Because it's easy to just kind of skim through the logs, but just take away all that extra stuff, right? You're taking away all that extra.

all those extra logs and you're kind of really pinpointing it now, that's where you can really start troubleshooting because I think that's what that's what the delay always is, in my opinion, right? You're looking at logs, but it's easy to look at a log. You look for logs for days, hours, weeks, if you just can skim out kind of like, you know, a lot of the nonsense and then, OK, here's some of the things that stand out. And I feel with a lot of their solutions that really that really, you know, they'd be able to leverage it a little more with that. I agree 100 percent, Gerard, in an operations role.

you want to get pointed in the right direction as quickly as possible and cut down the amount of that manual correlation, data gathering correlation that you have to do. And what I've noticed in networking field day events so far that I've been a part of, and I guess that we've been a part of, we were both part of the last two that we did, is monitoring and analytics. And it's really interesting to see.

all the different approaches from the different vendors when it comes to this topic and the data lake concept. So you're bringing in data and analytics from all of your different devices and you're just putting them in this what's called a data lake and they, Arista is doing all of this correlation for you. So then they can put it together and say, yep, you need to look here and guess what? We just opened up an incident for you like AJ mentioned. So it's...

It's always really cool for me to see anything that's gonna cut down my time as, or our time as network operators to resolve and provide value, because at the end of the day, that's what you're doing. If you can resolve those incidents early or before somebody even has to report them, that's how we as IT departments can provide value to the organization versus just being a cost center. Yeah.

And that's the nice part, like I said, just to kind of, you know, sum it up on my part or with the all in that is you can pull all this stuff in when we have to, having that extra person or that tool or that team to do that for me is like, it's a game changer. Cause now I'm not sifting through all that crap and like, okay, well, this could be this, could be this. There's like 75 directions. You've taken 75 directions and narrowed it down to two, maybe three, but let's just go with two. Okay, so these are your two critical points. Focus there, start troubleshooting. Well, I like how you put that.

You said, I don't even know if you meant to say it, but you called it out as almost being like an extra person. And that's really what it is because today, guess what? I can actually set a hands eyes. Yeah, guess what? We're doing it on our own today. So the fact that we can add it as a tool versus adding more people on the staff, you know, that can work out in our advantage. Absolutely. Because guess what? We're not getting to add more people on staff.

Yeah, you know the other thing that I appreciate about Arista's approach is that it's not always about Arista It's not just an Arista solution, right? They they are willing and able to Monitor any network device that they can get telemetry data from and not just Arista devices now as far as you know that kind of Extra responsiveness and stuff like that. Well Arista knows Arista a whole lot better than they know other vendors So they you know, they can't make the same guarantees or promises about detecting

proactively failing SPs or SFPs or whatever. But the fact that they're building all these solutions and everything that I've seen come from Arista has never been Shoebox or Arista. It's always been an open source platform, but with open source tools that they have taken kind of the best of the breed of what's out there, put them together to create this orchestration platform. And they're doing the same thing again with this. And so I just think it's a really cool approach and it's nice to see from vendors.

being a little bit more open. Because they understand the reality, right? Like not, their switches aren't going to be everywhere. They're not going to be in the enterprise and the data center and all the WAN locations. Like it's just the reality. Like the larger the company is, the more diverse hardware you're going to see, in my opinion and in my experience. So they have embraced that reality and are willing to accept that there's going to be other vendors in the environment. And so the sooner that they learn to adapt that, I think the more successful they're going to be.

All right, after Arista on the on the last day we saw our last two presentations the first one came from for tonight now I wrote about for tonight. I Have zero experience in for tonight. This was really my first interaction with them Gerard I know that you work with them kind of frequently and you you Great to hear I love for it. I'll do a for an episode James on this team like

I mean that was the first time I wanted to even get to see the present because security field day I went and just things fell through and you know was gonna be on their security products But nonetheless, I've just been really looking forward to seeing them present I swear like God must have heard me when this whole event got put together as for tonight was gonna be there I was like, yes, I was like thank God. So But yeah, I mean I'll let you lead in but go ahead I mean dude, I I love for tonight there and I mean I'll let you kick it off cuz so so we saw

multiple products, which I thought was cool. I heard that Fortinet was presenting, so I figured it was going to be a firewall or zero trust, focused conversation. And we did touch on some of that. But one of the things I liked is that they presented on their switching platform, which was really cool to see how they're really trying to capture that market of, hey, we can be your all-in-one provider.

And speaking of that, I did want to touch on one of the things that they went through that I think is really beneficial to their customers is that they have converged networking and security powered by a single operating system. You log into their FortiGate firewall, you're going to see the same operating system as you log into their FortiSwitch. I'm sure if they had a FortiShoe that...

Auto-tied the laces it would be powered by their 40 everything I love it They want to deliver that That similar experience so you see your their customers are not having to relearn Products every time they log into something else from an operating system or for a look-and-feel perspective and I I think that's a really interesting take and I think that does provide some value and So I'll give you the short of the long right for time purposes

One of the big reasons I even came to the job that I'm currently at now was because and I mean it was because of Fortinet because I was really, really, really interested in learning and really intriually diving into their products, their solutions. And what I loved about it was the simplicity, right? Like you could take world-class, like phenomenal hardware and software that could do all of these incredible things. They're 40 OS based software. And they also utilize which in AJ's amazing piece, which I read, it was great.

and the presentations they touch on their 40 link technology, which that's pretty much it's like a it's like that that they're I believe it's their software that in the chipset that's integrated in every piece of hardware. And they also make IP phones and cameras. But every FortiGate or Fortinet product that's that's designed as soon as you go ahead and configure it, it automatically finds it, it pulls it right. And it pulls it right into your 40 manager dashboard. You could start monitoring. Another thing, too, with their products was that I loved and I was learning this is just recently a few months ago.

was like a firewall goes down, right? Like you have to power it back on manually, there's worse things, but they use 40 cloud and you could take all of those logs and everything that failed. Even if you don't back it up or save it, it dumps all of those logs into the cloud automatically. So you could actually go in there, find the device and pull it. Like it's not something you have to set up or do, it just pulls it automatically, right? Like they make it simplistic. And that's my thing, especially as an engineer and as you all like.

the simplicity of it all to install it, to deploy it, configure it, and then maintaining it, right? And their UI is phenomenal. I like a nice, somewhat a nice cleaved finish. Some of you could just go in there, check the logs. Okay, go here. It's manageable and it's easy to use, but it provides you such a high level of security, whether it be the SD-WAN space security. And yeah, now in their switching products. Yeah. And taking that forward with the switching, I thought was interesting as well is that deployment you were talking about.

a small to mid-size campus and you're running FortiGate firewalls at that campus, you can manage your switching environment from the firewall, which I thought was interesting. You could build, configure, and manage all that from the firewall or the FortiManager, like you said, Gerard. And I will say as far as the switching platform, I encourage you to check out all the Networking Field Day videos.

the 40 Switch platform, definitely check this out. We had a really good conversation in their presentation about their stacking technology and kinda how that works. So if you're interested in that, definitely check out the video. Definitely, I would highly recommend it. I mean, they said a little bias, but I was looking forward to them for about almost a year. Just again, utilizing a solution, working with it, go through, do the certs, and then I finally got to see the person, it's worth it. Watch every video, you're gonna be disappointed.

AJ, I think you talked about this in your piece, in your blog, but they had an interesting take on licensing. You want to highlight that for us? Simplistic licensing. You know, first of all, I want to like, their approach to everything was very simplistic. I feel like some companies, you know, in general, when you make a product, you're following the 80-20 rule, right? Like 80% of the people are going to need or want to use this. 20%, this might not be the best fit for them.

But you're going after the 80% because that's going to get you the return on investment, right? Right. Some of the things that we saw from networking field day and some of the things that we're seeing come from other networking vendors, it feels like they're chasing after the 20%, the super large enterprise in ISP, right? Like there's not a lot of market there. It's going to be really big and probably, you know, a lot for them in that sale, but they're not chasing the 80, they're chasing the 20.

Fortinet's definitely chasing the 80. And when you look at the panel that was there, a lot of them said they're ex-employees of other network vendors. So it's like they saw what other networking vendors were doing, they didn't like it, and they came to Fortinet. And now we're seeing all these really great, interesting, cool things come from Fortinet. The consistency in their UI, right? Like the Fortigate firewall and managing the UI there looked a lot like FortiManager. And it was just this, you know.

constant consistency in their delivery of their products. The licensing was super simplistic. They're not gonna try to nickel and dime you for every feature that you want. You buy one license, you get all the features. Couldn't be easier. I understand the value proposition that some companies are trying to bang on. Well, like, we don't want to ding you for features you're not using. Right, but most of the time when I look at those tiers, the one feature that I want is in the highest tier.

So yeah, you're nickel and diming me for the features that I want, right? Like it's mixed up in there with a lot of these other features that I probably don't want or need But that one thing that I really want is in the highest licensing tier level and Fortinet's not doing that They're just giving you one licensing tier. That's all you got to worry about and you get everything that you need. So I In my blog article, I talked about this is like a tortoise in the hair kind of thing, right? Like they are not as caught up to some other networking vendors

but they're getting there. They're taking the lessons learned. They're applying it to their products. Their message is consistent. If they continue to do this, I would not be surprised to see Fortinet take a significant market share in networking and they would deserve it. Again, this was like my real first interaction with Fortinet. I have to say I left the presentation impressed. I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna, but listen, I'm gonna say it as far as in my opinion, the firewall space.

They've already taken Cisco's girl. Sorry, I'm gonna say it. Dave. And again, they've they've they've it's not. I love Cisco. I'm keeping. I love Cisco. But it's just we, we know their hardware is just like phenomenal, right? Like built dirt, like good, like just phenomenal hardware. But I want to bang my head off.

of a wall when you try to configure anything of firepower or utilizing their next-gen firewall features. And that was one of the reasons, right? There's so much more, you gotta do this, you gotta do this. It starts to become more of a headache. Whereas, again, Fortinet, I was just already interested because the company, again, utilizes them, but it's the simplicity. And it gives you the same level, if not, in my, again, better security, performance, insight, visibility, again.

Real-time view detection, especially their EDR solutions. I mean I could be here all day That's why it wasn't just like oh, I love for it I don't like I really genuinely if you feel you stand by the product and ironically enough I have to finish my blog piece which the first network you feel they want is about for it, man So definitely keep your eyes peeled for that one. That's gonna be fun Tim. I have a prediction In a few years time, we're gonna see Gerard Cavalinas TME for tonight

I just have this feeling. I don't know why I can't put my finger on it. I'm going to flip a lot of shitty questions you too, brother. But I mean, from a Fortinet perspective, I, I don't want to say that, that they've got this narrow focus. But I think a value that they provide is that they can go after that customer base of the, the small to medium sized businesses that want that single solution. I just want to go to one vendor.

for my security, my switching, my wireless. Oh, and by the way, they do phones and IP cameras as well. And I can just get everything from them as a unified solution. I think that's an interesting play. Right. It might not be 80-20, but man, that is a huge chunk of business for them. For sure. Yeah, even the things I know, I just found, again, that's only been about a year, almost a year and a half. I didn't even know they offer cameras and IP phones. Now you figure like the Marakee offering, I had no idea.

So that'd be an interesting solution, you know, I can imagine never doing a full Fortinet deployment. I have yet to do one, but I think that would be, that would be pretty interesting. Yeah, yeah. Well, I would say that, and I'm pretty sure I can safely speak for the two of you as well, that the last presentation we saw for Network Field Day 30 was from Selector AI, and man, if that didn't knock you off your feet and into your seat, that was such a great presentation. And you know what's nuts about that? For a first time presenter.

It was their first time. Yes. Yeah, it was a fantastic presentation. So,, I likened it to Spotify for your network. They do event correlation, and they do that by assigning tags to all of your network devices. And then when there's an incident, they look at, well, what does this incident kind of involve? And the more tags that are involved, the more common tags between devices, they can make some

very strong recommendations about where to look, what happened, even who made the change and to start your investigation from there. There are so many different use cases and even the idea itself came from how does Netflix, how does Spotify make recommendations for those movies and those songs for you. And it's all about the tags, some very cool stuff, a very compelling presentation. There's so many different use cases for this technology.

I feel like I'm just rambling now. What did you guys say? Well, this... Yeah, go ahead, Jordan. Well, you know, I'll just start it real quick. So for AIOps, right, I remember a while ago I did an episode of the Utilizing AI Podcast, and now the CXL Podcast with Stephen, and I know very little about AI. I know enough. I know we know what it is, but like not in a day-to-day use. So I've seen some solutions between then and now, and from an AIOps perspective, like holy crap, right?

And I love to he he his his forever. This will stick out my mind. I think a couple's example he uses, which is non-technical. He goes to give it like a Quentin Tarantino film. And if you're watching, you know, from dusk till dawn and you watch that and you match that data, you know, I'm talking about. Right. And he's like, if you match that data and you kind of correlate with other ones, it'll base recommendations on other movies for you to watch. Like, oh, if you like this genre, just our this genre, then you like Jackie Brown or whatever.

It's scary, but in a good way, right? Like when you could pull, and I mean, that's why I friggin, I think AI is like next level, because when you can take that kind of data, it's just like probability and detection base. And it's like, eh, okay, like, you know, like you said, similar to Spotify. Well, we can pick up on those identifiers and then to make those kinds of solid recommendations. Usually a lot of software too, it takes time to like metaphorically speaking, like train it, you know? To trade it, to kind of get accustomed to.

You know, like your your download patterns and things of that nature. But to be able to pull that like first shot, I think I like it floored me. I thought the solution was just like, I love to use it day to day. I know me too. I love to use that data. And I would just the insight, like just see a first time Paul is data aside the tags applied to devices, et cetera, et cetera. I feel like, yeah, this solution seems almost magical. And the reason is because this is a very difficult problem to solve. Yeah.

what they are doing effectively is, well, let's step back to the problem they're trying to solve. So on one of their slides, they state that the scale and complexity of modern networks has made it increasingly difficult to make sense of the available data and support incident remediation workflows. So again, what we talked about earlier, one of the big themes of Networking Field Day is monitoring analytics, automated.

event correlation and potentially remediation. When you're sending data to a system, you're getting monitoring data. You may have logs, you may have metric data, you may have errors. Those are all very different things. So what selector AI is doing, back to AJ's point of their tagging different kinds of events, metrics, they're essentially at a high level, able to compare apples and oranges.

Yeah. And then integrate to ITSM tools or when they did their demo, they demoed Slack in that they can send alerts to Slack and the team can open it up and see, hey, you had an issue going on on these devices or just in general in your environment. And by the way, it was caused by this person doing this thing at this time. I mean, that's incredible.

The Slack integration piece that was interesting for me too was that you could use common language. You could speak English to this thing. You could type English words and stuff. Oh yeah, you could interact with it. Not have to do like backslash this and backslash that to get the interaction, to get the output that you wanted from it. You could just type to it like you're doing an instant message in Slack with a person. When that conversation first started and they started throwing around correlation, the first thing that I think of is time.

Right? And they're doing it off a whole lot more than just time. Right? Because I was thinking like, well, you know, you could have like ports flapping all over your enterprise for very valid reasons at the same time, all across your enterprise, all across your network. But that doesn't mean that there's a problem. That doesn't mean that they're related. So how are they going to do this correlation and just wow at the stuff that they're doing here? The the all the AI that goes into it, the tagging and looking at.

all of those really deep analytics, they're doing some very impressive stuff, and they're doing it very quickly, and they're able to get really good troubleshooting information out. Like, you know, one of the use cases he said was putting it in front of ITSM systems, because those charge you based on tickets that get opened up in the system. And so to be able to put selector AI in front of that, and really only feed in the tickets that matter, and not just everything information overload,

Again, really impressive stuff. Yeah. What I really appreciated too was near the beginning, they called out who their target customers are. That's something that you sit in on some of these presentations and if the presenter doesn't outright say, hey, this is the problem we're trying to solve or who we're trying to solve it for, you may spend most of the presentation trying to figure out where this is cool, but where is it applicable.

And one of the first things they called out was, hey, we are targeting basically large networks so far. Telcos, cable and hosting providers, retailers, just large networks, data centers and backbones. Mm-hmm, yep. What's nice there is it's just large networks. It doesn't matter what kind of large network. Good point, yes. But just, you know, when it hits a certain size and it's overwhelming for any analyst or team of analysts to go through all the logs and try to make that kind of correlation, like,

like they can do. It makes a whole lot of sense. Yeah, they got something special for sure. They sure did. Like I said, they came prepared. Questions, structure, format, their presentation. Did not skip a beat. They were on it. And to take that a step further, Gerard, didn't skip a beat. They had an issue connecting to their demo. And you wouldn't have even known it. I mean, I had a hard time remembering, oh, we're not actually looking at live demo data because they just kept going through the presentation and it didn't even phase them. It's like.

They've done this a time or two, maybe not at Tech Field Day, but they've done this a time or two. Well, I can assure you, Todd put it best, after this one, they're gonna come back, be it next Networking Field Day, or at another Field Day event, but they will most certainly be back, I can assure you that. It's gonna be interesting to see what happens to them. I mean, they're small, they're kind of ripe for, you know, the picking, the acquisition. I hope they don't go that way right away, but you know, investors are gonna want their money back at some point.

Yeah It's gonna be really interesting to watch them, you know continue to find their footing continue to grow get the solution out there You know, I'm with you Gerard. I definitely want to play with it I would love to get my hands on that and just really see the power for myself But this is just gonna be a fun one to watch so select AI if you're listening. What's saying? We're all about it It's seriously times like these were you know, I almost wish I operated a network so I could like

I'm like hey, I want to get you in here, but you know I don't I help my customers I love my job, so that's you know it is what it is of course net network issues and Tarantino flicks That was quite the presentation You can't I love both of them, so that's a win Well if you've had fun listening to this conversation, and you're thinking to yourself man. How do I become a delegate? Well, just just sit right here because we're gonna tell you that there's a website called tech field a comm you go over to tech field day

and there's delegates right there at the top of the page. And if you click on delegates, you can go down to become a field day delegate. And that is a form that you can fill out to become a field day delegate and come hang out at future events with myself, Tim, Gerard, and other content creators that you see all over the internet. And you might be asking like, well,

I don't blog or I don't have a podcast or anything like that. You really just need to have a following, right? If you are on LinkedIn and you post a lot and you have a lot of people interacting with your posts, people that follow you and are in your niche and networking with you. Or if you're on Twitter and have, you don't even need to have like a thousand followers, but you just to be active in the community is really what these folks are looking for in a delegate.

And there's just so many different benefits and a lot of value. You know, I love going to these things and I love the presentations, but I love meeting other people that do what we do even more. That's really the fun part. Like I met a lot of people at this event that I've interacted with on social media. I've met some of them before in person, but to meet them in person at this event and just talk about life, talk about what we do at work, what we do in content creation.

It's just a good time. It is, and I can tell you, you know, because it was actually, and I've said that AJ was the one who educated me to what Tech Field Day was. You know, looking back, I think almost about three years now, three years or so, and is it one of the, I thank him endlessly for a bunch of things, but that's one of them, right? Because being a part of the Gestalt Tech Field Day family is, it's game-changing, right? And not only elevates you professionally, but personally, right, like I'm gonna be a part of this big community and growing and helping others, but now I get to meet these individuals.

you know, from engineers to architects, CCIEs, and not just the people you meet, right, and the numbers and the alcholades, but you're interacting with them on a whole new level, being, again, on a personal one when you're going out at the delegate dinner, you get to do, you know, Yankee swap, and you're really bonding with these people. And then the next four days, you know, you sit through these phenomenal, awesome presentations, you get to see new technology hang out. I mean, it's like...

Disneyland for for for you know for for freaking techies I mean, I don't know how else he gets any better than that right? It is it's like you know it's it's what you're working in you and you and it's it's you know You got to commit to it. It's a passion, but it's at the end of the day. It's such a reward You know yeah, and then the takeaways from it these new solutions You know that you could apply in your environment and learn and so please definitely check out the link It should have a JLA know to probably in the show notes apply love to have you at an event for sure too many thoughts I will say that if you're

Even if you're kind of on the fence of, so I don't travel terribly often and You're more of an indoor cat as you've mentioned I am, I am. If it's indoors and there's beer, I'm in. I will drink beer outside too. Don't paint me in a corner There's beer, I'll drink it on a roof I don't discriminate when it comes to beer locations But you may be on the fence, you may say, this sounds great but I don't want to have to plan my trip and get

plan my flight and get a hotel. The Gestalt team takes care of all of that. You really don't have to lift a finger. You get yourself to your closest airport if you have to fly and they take care of the rest. It was really, I mean, I felt catered to the entire time. And another thing that was really cool is not only were we hanging out with the support staff, or sorry, not only were we hanging out with each other, but we got to meet and really get the behind the scenes

Tech Field Day support staff too as well. And that was really cool. I mean, like Gerard said, you really get to bond with and it's really a community building experience. Now there's more than just Networking Field Day. Tech Field Day is made up of a number of different field days geared towards various different parts in information technology. There's AI Field Day, Cloud Field Day, Edge Field Day, Mobility, focused on wireless networking. Of course there's Networking Field Day. The best one. And then there, the best one, that's right. The only, no, not the only one.

Then there's also security field day, storage field day, and then there is a field day called tech field day, even though this is all kind of referred to as tech field day as a blanket. And so depending on what your niche or your vertical is, what you're specializing in, you can attend anyone or multiple of these events. Gerard, I believe you've been to a number of different field day events, not just networking field day. I've been pretty blessed. I've been to like six or seven total, but I've been to networking field day, security,

I did a tech field day and this is my, I think, second or this is actually my third networking field day. So it's pretty amazing. Edge field day is the new one. That's going to be coming up here in the next few weeks. So focusing more on like Edge and CXL technology. So that's going to be pretty cool. Definitely be on the lookout for all this stuff. Also keep in touch with the Gestalt team as well. If you are someone that goes to various technology conferences, they tend to be at all of them.

Cisco Live EMEA, they'll be at Cisco Live US, they're all over the place and they do events. Oh, what do they call them? Tom's gonna hate me. Field Day Actress. Field Day Actress, thank you. That they put on at these trade show events. So they are all over the place. It seems like they wrap up one event, they were wrapping up networking field day 30, and the very next week they were spinning up a cloud field day. So these are ongoing, you have tons of opportunity.

to participate and be a part of it. And I'll tell you too, as an IT practitioner, when I wanna learn about something, there's a couple of different places I go to start learning about a solution and Tech Field Day is one of them. I mean, there's been tons of companies presenting on tons of different topics and products and solutions. And so this has just become a huge library that's available to you for absolutely free. So if there's something that you wanna learn about.

Start here. You'll get a great presentation. You'll have delegates in the audience that are asking thoughtful questions If you're fortunate enough to watch the event live you can tweet out and use hashtags And have the delegates that are in the room ask the question on your behalf So, you know you can get the answer right away But it's just it's really like a great live event and it's a great archive for you to access anytime

And I'll be honest, I'm that guy, because I'm very involved in the Gestalt IT events and all this stuff, and I think it's great. I have gone back and I watch events from 2012 and 2009 and older ones with you, because you learn a lot about a lot of technologies that are still around. This is when they refer to upcoming, and it's really cool. Plus, if you're fortunate enough, you get to see Tom rap throughout one of those events.

You know, it's gonna be. Yeah, Tom doesn't disappoint. Tom never does. Tom is the friggin' man, but he knows it. Awesome. Well, guys, this has been a lot of fun. It was so great to see in person a few weeks ago. I can't wait till we can do it again. Final thoughts on NFD 30. Spectacular. It was like I wrote in my initial event preview. I asked Santa for some this year. He delivered. So I got to meet my friend.

Chris came real early, it came a little late, but I'll take it, I got to meet my friends, I got to see some phenomenal presentations, and it was by far one of the best events, hands down. And like I said, hope to get to do another one real soon, hope to get to see you guys real soon, be it at a Tech Field Day event or, you know, something else, because we gotta get something planned. That's a must. Yeah, all around great experience. You get to meet awesome people, and from a technical standpoint, as a delegate, think about it this way, you...

will get to interact with and ask questions of individuals in business units working on these products that they're presenting on, that you get to pick their brain and ask questions. Where else are you gonna get that kind of experience? So definitely check it out. Absolutely. Well, this has been a great conversation. If you would like to learn more about Tech Field Day, become a Tech Field Day delegate.

or view one of the presentations that you heard us talk about tonight, you can go to, check the show notes for the podcast, this episode of the podcast. You can also look in the description on the YouTube video as well. I will put all of those links so you can easily access it. Just scroll down, click or tap whatever you're using from. And yeah, definitely sign up to be a delegate. If you have any questions about any of that, you can reach out to any of us on Twitter. You can slide on into our DMs. Our DMs are open.

And yeah, we would really encourage you if you're thinking about it. Just just fill out the form. Just do it Do it right now. You will not go away wanted click the link exactly. Hopefully we see you there We are gonna have a future episode with Tom And he's gonna talk a lot more about behind the scenes at these tech field day events and what it's like to be a delegate So get your questions ready and and now we can fire him at Tom just like, you know

It will flip the script on him, right? He's doing the presentation and we're going to ask him the questions. He's not going to be running the show. We are. So maybe a few dad jokes in there. Awesome guys. Thank you so much for joining me tonight. Gerardo was good to see you again. A pleasure to have you back on another episode soon. Tim, as always, thanks for being here. Appreciate all your questions and your contributions to the podcast. And if you've enjoyed this episode, please subscribe.

And we'll see you next time on another episode of the Art of Network Engineering podcast. See you everyone.

Hey everyone, this is AJ. If you like what you heard today, then make sure you subscribe to our podcast and your favorite podcatcher. Smash that bell icon to get notified of all of our future episodes. Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. We are at Art of Net Eng. That's Art of N-E-T-E-N-G. You can also find us on the web at, where we post all of our show notes. You can read blog articles from the co-hosts and guests.

and also a lot more news and info from the networking world. Thanks for listening.