Thursday, July 19, 2018

ExtremeXOS 22.5.1 adds support Broadcom ASIC table utilization statistics

ExtremeXOS 22.5.1 is now available! describes added support in sFlow for "New data structures to support reporting on hardware/table utilization statistics." The feature is available on Summit X450-G2, X460-G2, X670-G2, X770, and ExtremeSwitching X440-G2, X870, X620, X690 series switches.

Figure 1 shows the packet processing pipeline of a Broadcom ASIC. The pipeline consists of a number of linked hardware tables providing bridging, routing, access control list (ACL), and ECMP forwarding group functions. Operations teams need to be able to proactively monitor table utilizations in order to avoid performance problems associated with table exhaustion.

Broadcom's sFlow specification, sFlow Broadcom Switch ASIC Table Utilization Structures, leverages the industry standard sFlow protocol to offer scaleable, multi-vendor, network wide visibility into the utilization of these hardware tables.

The following output from the open source sflowtool command line utility shows the raw table measurements (this is in addition to the extensive set of measurements already exported via sFlow by ExtremeXOS):
bcm_asic_host_entries 4
bcm_host_entries_max 8192
bcm_ipv4_entries 0
bcm_ipv4_entries_max 0
bcm_ipv6_entries 0
bcm_ipv6_entries_max 0
bcm_ipv4_ipv6_entries 9
bcm_ipv4_ipv6_entries_max 16284
bcm_long_ipv6_entries 3
bcm_long_ipv6_entries_max 256
bcm_total_routes 10
bcm_total_routes_max 32768
bcm_ecmp_nexthops 0
bcm_ecmp_nexthops_max 2016
bcm_mac_entries 3
bcm_mac_entries_max 32768
bcm_ipv4_neighbors 4
bcm_ipv6_neighbors 0
bcm_ipv4_routes 0
bcm_ipv6_routes 0
bcm_acl_ingress_entries 842
bcm_acl_ingress_entries_max 4096
bcm_acl_ingress_counters 68
bcm_acl_ingress_counters_max 4096
bcm_acl_ingress_meters 18
bcm_acl_ingress_meters_max 8192
bcm_acl_ingress_slices 3
bcm_acl_ingress_slices_max 8
bcm_acl_egress_entries 36
bcm_acl_egress_entries_max 512
bcm_acl_egress_counters 36
bcm_acl_egress_counters_max 1024
bcm_acl_egress_meters 18
bcm_acl_egress_meters_max 512
bcm_acl_egress_slices 2
bcm_acl_egress_slices_max 2
The sflowtool output is useful for troubleshooting and is easy to parse with scripts.

A convenient way to run sflowtool is to use Docker:
docker run -p 6343:6343/udp sflow/sflowtool

Ethernet Fabric Visibility

Ethernet Fabrics: Extreme Networks ExtremeFabric
Leaf and spine fabrics are challenging to monitor. The fabric spreads traffic across all the switches and links in order to maximize bandwidth. Unlike traditional hierarchical network designs, where a small number of links can be monitored to provide visibility, a leaf and spine network has no special links or switches where running CLI commands or attaching a probe would provide visibility. Even if it were possible to attach probes, the effective bandwidth of a leaf and spine network can be as high as a Petabit/second, well beyond the capabilities of current generation monitoring tools.

Fabric View solves the visibility challenge by using the industry standard sFlow instrumentation built into data center switches. Fabric View represents the fabric as if it were a single large chassis switch, treating each leaf switch as a line card and the spine switches as the backplane. The result is an intuitive tool that is easily understood by anyone familiar with traditional networks.

A demonstration can be run using Docker:
docker run --entrypoint /sflow-rt/run_demo.sh -p 8008:8008 sflow/fabric-view
Access the web interface on port 8008.
The first chart shows the largest TCP/UDP flows traversing the fabric (calculated from a continues stream of packet samples received from all the switches in the fabric). The chart updates every second, providing a real-time view of traffic crossing the fabric.
The last two charts are based on the hardware/table utilization statistics that are now implemented in ExtremeXOS, trending the maximum utilization of each table across all the switches in the fabric.

sFlow-RT

FabricView is one of a number of applications developed for sFlow-RT. Examples include: DDoS mitigation, Internet routing using top of rack switches, and other articles on this blog.
The sFlow-RT analytics engine receives a continuous telemetry stream from sFlow Agents embedded in network devices, hosts and applications and converts them into actionable metrics, accessible through APIs. Applications can be external, written in any language that supports HTTP/REST calls, or internal, using sFlow-RT's embedded JavaScript/ECMAScript.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Visualizing real-time network traffic flows at scale

Particle has been released on GitHub, https://github.com/sflow-rt/particle. The application is a real-time visualization of network traffic in which particles flow between hosts arranged around the edges of the screen. Particle colors represent different types of traffic.

Particles provide an intuitive representation of network packets transiting the network from source to destination. The animation slows time so that the particle takes 10 seconds (instead of milliseconds) to transit the network. Groups of particles traveling the same path represent flows of packets between the hosts. Particle size and frequency are used to indicate the intensity magnitude of the traffic flowing on a path.

Particles don't follow straight lines, instead following quadratic Bézier curves around the center of the screen. Warping particle paths toward the center of the screen ensures that all paths are of similar length and visible - even if the start and end points are on the same axis.

The example above is from a site with over 500 network switches carrying hundreds of Gigabits of traffic. Internet, Customer, Site and Datacenter hosts have been assigned to the North, East, South and West sides respectively.
The screen is updated 60 times per second for smooth animation. Active flow metrics are updated every second. Hovering over the screen freezes the animation, highlights the nearest particle, and displays details.

To try out the software, first create a configuration file to label axes and assign addresses for your network.
particle.axisN=Internet
particle.cidrN=0.0.0.0/0
particle.axisS=Site
particle.cidrS=10.1.1.0/24,10.1.2.0/24
particle.axisE=Datacenter
particle.cidrE=10.2.0.0/16
particle.asisW=Remote
particle.cidrW=10.3.0.0/16
The above, particle.conf file, provides an example.

The simplest way to run the software is to use the pre-built Docker image.
docker run -p 8008:8008 -p 6343:6343/udp \
-v $PWD/particle.conf:/sflow-rt/particle.conf \
-e "RTPROP=-Dsystem.propertyFiles=particle.conf" \
sflow/particle
Access the web interface on port 8008.
The Docker image also contains a random simulation of flows to demonstrate the software:
docker run -e "RTPROP=-Dparticle.demo=yes" \
-p 6343:6343/udp -p 8008:8008 sflow/particle
This particle visualization was inspired by experiments with Vizceral, see Real-time traffic visualization using Netflix Vizceral. Vizceral focuses on interactions between layered microservices.

Visualizing network traffic unique challenges that needed to be addressed. For example, in these examples the North, Internet, axis (0.0.0.0/0) represents over 4 billion hosts - a number far greater than the number of pixels available on the screen. Instead of trying to represent each host individually, hosts are assigned a position proportional to their location in the range. For example, host 120.0.0.0 is assigned a position half way along the axis. Assigning fixed positions to each host ensures that traffic between the hosts will always take the same path across the screen, making it easier to recognize patterns and identify changes.

Chances are you have network equipment that supports sFlow telemetry since the standard is widely supported by vendors, including: A10, Aerohive, ALUe, Allied Telesis, Arista, Aruba, Big Switch, Cisco, Cumulus, Dell, D-Link, Edge-Core, Extreme, F5, Fortinet, Huawei, IP Infusion, Juniper, Netgear, OpenSwitch, Pica8, Proxim, Quanta, SMC, ZTE, and ZyXEL. Give Particle a try and see how traffic flows on your network.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

sFlow available on Juniper PTX series routers


sFlow functionality introduced on the PTX1000 and PTX10000 platforms—Starting in Junos OS Release 18.2R1, the PTX1000 and PTX10000 routers support sFlow, a network monitoring protocol for high-speed networks. With sFlow, you can continuously monitor tens of thousands of ports simultaneously. The mechanism used by sFlow is simple, not resource intensive, and accurate.  - New and Changed Features

The recent article, sFlow available on Juniper MX series routers, describes how Juniper is extending sFlow support to include routers to provide visibility across their entire range of switching and routing products.

Universal support for industry standard sFlow as a base Junos feature reduces the operational complexity and cost of network visibility for enterprises and service providers. Real-time streaming telemetry from campus switches, routers, and data center switches, provides centralized, real-time, end-to-end visibility needed to troubleshoot, optimize, and account for network usage.

Analytics software is a critical factor in realizing the full benefits of sFlow monitoring. Choosing an sFlow analyzer discusses important factors to consider when selecting from the range of open source and commercial sFlow analysis tools.

Monday, April 9, 2018

SDKLT

Logical Table Software Development Kit (SDKLT) is a new, powerful, and feature rich Software Development Kit (SDK) for Broadcom switches. SDKLT provides a new approach to switch configuration using Logical Tables.

Building the Demo App describes how to get started using a simulated Tomahawk device. Included, is a CLI that can be used to explore tables. For example, the following CLI output shows the attributes of the sFlow packet sampling table:
BCMLT.0> lt list -d MIRROR_PORT_ENCAP_SFLOW
MIRROR_PORT_ENCAP_SFLOW
  Description: The MIRROR_PORT_ENCAP_SFLOW logical table is used to specify
               per-port sFlow encapsulation sample configuration.
  11 fields (1 key-type field):
    SAMPLE_ING_FLEX_RATE
        Description: Sample ingress flex sFlow packet if the generated sFlow random
                     number is greater than the threshold. A lower threshold leads to
                     higher sampling frequency.
    SAMPLE_EGR_RATE
        Description: Sample egress sFlow packet if the generated sFlow random number is
                     greater than the threshold. A lower threshold leads to
                     higher sampling frequency.
    SAMPLE_ING_RATE
        Description: Sample ingress sFlow packet if the generated sFlow random number is
                     greater than the threshold. A lower threshold leads to
                     higher sampling frequency.
    SAMPLE_ING_FLEX_MIRROR_INSTANCE
        Description: Enable to copy ingress flex sFlow packet samples to the ingress
                     mirror member using the sFlow mirror instance configuration.
    SAMPLE_ING_FLEX_CPU
        Description: Enable to copy ingress flex sFlow packet samples to CPU.
    SAMPLE_ING_MIRROR_INSTANCE
        Description: Enable to copy ingress sFlow packet samples to the ingress
                     mirror member using the sFlow mirror instance configuration.
    SAMPLE_ING_CPU
        Description: Enable to copy ingress sFlow packet samples to CPU.
    SAMPLE_ING_FLEX
        Description: Enable to sample ingress port-based flex sFlow packets.
    SAMPLE_EGR
        Description: Enable to sample egress port-based sFlow packets.
    SAMPLE_ING
        Description: Enable to sample ingress port-based sFlow packets.
    PORT_ID
        Description: Logical port ID.
SDKLT is a part of the OpenNSL suite, which makes it possible for the development of open network operating system projects, including: Open Network Linux, OpenSwitch, and SONiC.
The network operating system bridges the gap between applications (BGP, SNMP, sFlow, etc.) and the low level hardware capabilities accessed through the SDK. For example, OpenSwitch describes how the open source Host sFlow agent uses Control Plane Services (CPS) and Open Compute Project (OCP) Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) to configure hardware packet sampling via vendor specific SDKs (such as OpenNSL).

Friday, April 6, 2018

sFlow available on Juniper MX series routers

sFlow support on MX Series devices—Starting in Junos OS Release 18.1R1, you can configure sFlow technology (as a sFlow agent) on a MX Series device, to continuously monitor traffic at wire speed on all interfaces simultaneously. The sFlow technology is a monitoring technology for high-speed switched or routed networks.  - New and Changed Features

Understanding How to Use sFlow Technology for Network Monitoring on a MX Series Router lists the following benefits of sFlow Technology on a MX Series Router:
  • sFlow can be used by software tools like a network analyzer to continuously monitor tens of thousands of switch or router ports simultaneously.
  • Since sFlow uses network sampling (forwarding one packet from ‘n’ number of total packets) for analysis, it is not resource intensive (for example processing, memory and more). The sampling is done at the hardware application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and hence it is simple and more accurate.
With the addition of the MX series routers, Juniper now supports sFlow across its entire product range:
Universal support for industry standard sFlow as a base Junos feature reduces the operational complexity and cost of network visibility for enterprises and service providers. Real-time streaming telemetry from campus switches, routers, and data center switches, provides centralized, real-time, end-to-end visibility needed to troubleshoot, optimize, and account for network usage.
Analytics software is a critical factor in realizing the full benefits of sFlow monitoring. Choosing an sFlow analyzer discusses important factors to consider when selecting from the range of open source and commercial sFlow analysis tools.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

ONOS measurement based control

ONOS traffic analytics describes how to run the ONOS SDN controller with a virtual network created using Mininet. The article also showed how to monitor network traffic using industry standard sFlow instrumentation available in Mininet and in physical switches.
This article uses the same ONOS / Mininet test bed to demonstrate how sFlow-RT real-time flow analytics can be used to push controls to the network through the ONOS REST API.  Leaf and spine traffic engineering using segment routing and SDN used real-time flow analytics to load balance an ONOS controlled physical network. In this example, we will use ONOS to filter DDoS attack traffic on a Mininet virtual network.

The following sFlow-RT script, ddos.js, detects DDoS attacks and programs ONOS filter rules to block the attacks:
var user = 'onos';
var password = 'rocks';
var onos = '192.168.123.1';
var controls = {};

setFlow('udp_reflection',
 {keys:'ipdestination,udpsourceport',value:'frames'});
setThreshold('udp_reflection_attack',
 {metric:'udp_reflection',value:100,byFlow:true,timeout:2});

setEventHandler(function(evt) {
 // don't consider inter-switch links
 var link = topologyInterfaceToLink(evt.agent,evt.dataSource);
 if(link) return;

 // get port information
 var port = topologyInterfaceToPort(evt.agent,evt.dataSource);
 if(!port) return;

 // need OpenFlow info to create ONOS filtering rule
 if(!port.dpid || !port.ofport) return;

 // we already have a control for this flow
 if(controls[evt.flowKey]) return;

 var [ipdestination,udpsourceport] = evt.flowKey.split(',');
 var msg = {
  flows: [
   {
    priority:4000,
    timeout:0,
    isPermanent:true,
    deviceId:'of:'+port.dpid,
    treatment:[],
    selector: {
     criteria: [
      {type:'IN_PORT',port:port.ofport},
      {type:'ETH_TYPE',ethType:'0x800'},
      {type:'IPV4_DST',ip:ipdestination+'/32'},
      {type:'IP_PROTO',protocol:'17'},
      {type:'UDP_SRC',udpPort:udpsourceport} 
     ]
    }
   }
  ]
 };

 var resp = http2({
  url:'http://'+onos+':8181/onos/v1/flows?appId=ddos',
  headers:{'Content-Type':'application/json','Accept':'application/json'},
  operation:'post',
  user:user,
  password:password,
  body: JSON.stringify(msg)
 });

 var {deviceId,flowId} = JSON.parse(resp.body).flows[0];
 controls[evt.flowKey] = {
  time:Date.now(),
  threshold:evt.thresholdID,
  agent:evt.agent,
  metric:evt.dataSource+'.'+evt.metric,
  deviceId:deviceId,
  flowId:flowId
 };

 logInfo("blocking " + evt.flowKey);
},['udp_reflection_attack']);

setIntervalHandler(function() {
 var now = Date.now();
 for(var key in controls) {
   let rec = controls[key];

   // keep control for at least 10 seconds
   if(now - rec.time < 10000) continue;
   // keep control if threshold still triggered
   if(thresholdTriggered(rec.threshold,rec.agent,rec.metric,key)) continue;

   var resp = http2({
    url:'http://'+onos+':8181/onos/v1/flows/'
        +encodeURIComponent(rec.deviceId)+'/'+encodeURIComponent(rec.flowId),
    headers:{'Accept':'application/json'},
    operation:'delete',
    user:user,
    password:password
   });

   delete controls[key];

   logInfo("unblocking " + key);
 }
});
Some notes on the script:
  1. The ONOS REST API is used to add/remove filters that block the DDoS traffic.
  2. The controller address, 192.168.123.1, can be found on the ONOS Cluster Nodes web page.
  3. The udp_reflection flow definition is designed to detect UDP amplification attacks, e.g. DNS amplification attacks
  4. Controls are applied to the switch port where traffic enters the network
  5. The controls structure is used to keep track of state associated with deployed configuration changes so that they can be undone
  6. The intervalHandler() function is used to automatically release controls after 10 seconds - the timeout is short for the purposes of demonstration, in practical deployments the timeout would be much measured in hours
  7. For simplicity, this script is missing the error handling needed for production use. 
  8. See Writing Applications for more information.
We are going to use hping3 to simulate a DDoS attack, so install the software using the following command:
sudo apt install hping3
Run the following command to start sFlow-RT and run the ddos.js script:
env RTPROP=-Dscript.file=ddos.js ./start.sh
Next, start Mininet with ONOS:
sudo mn --custom ~/onos/tools/dev/mininet/onos.py,sflow-rt/extras/sflow.py \
--link tc,bw=10 --controller onos,1 --topo tree,2,2
Generate normal traffic between hosts h1 and h3:
mininet-onos> iperf h1 h3
The weathermap view above shows the flow crossing the network from switch s2 to s3 via s1.
Next, launch the simulated DNS amplification attack from h1 to h3:
mininet-onos> h1 hping3 --flood --udp -k -s 53 h3
The weathermap view verifies that the attack has been successfully blocked since none of the traffic is seen traversing the network.

The chart at the top of this article shows the iperf test followed by the simulated attack. The top chart shows the top flows entering the network, showing the DNS amplification attack traffic in blue. The middle chart shows traffic broken out by switch port. Here, the blue line shows the attack traffic arriving at switch s2 port s2-eth1 while the orange line shows that only a small amount of traffic is forwarded to switch s3 port s3-eth3 before the attack is blocked at switch s2 by the controller.

Mininet with ONOS and sFlow-RT is a great way to rapidly develop and test SDN applications, avoiding the time and expense involved in setting up a physical network. The application is easily moved from the Mininet virtual network to a physical network since it is based on the same industry standard sFlow telemetry generated by physical switches. In this case, using commodity switch hardware to cost effectively detect and filter massive (100's of Gbit/s) DDoS attacks.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

ONOS traffic analytics

Open Network Operating System (ONOS) is "a software defined networking (SDN) OS for service providers that has scalability, high availability, high performance, and abstractions to make it easy to create applications and services." The open source project is hosted by the Linux Foundation.

Mininet and onos.py workflow describes how to run ONOS using the Mininet network emulator. Mininet allows virtual networks to be quickly constructed and is a simple way to experiment with ONOS. In addition, Mininet flow analytics describes how to enable industry standard sFlow streaming telemetry in Mininet, proving a simple way monitor traffic in the ONOS controlled network.

For example, the following command creates a Mininet network, controlled by ONOS, and monitored using sFlow:
sudo mn --custom ~/onos/tools/dev/mininet/onos.py,sflow-rt/extras/sflow.py \
--link tc,bw=10 --controller onos,1 --topo tree,2,2
The screen capture above shows the network topology in the ONOS web user interface.
Install Mininet dashboard to visualize the network traffic. The screen capture above shows a large flow over the same topology being displayed by ONOS, see Mininet weathermap for more examples.

In this case, the traffic was created by the following Mininet command:
mininet-onos> iperf h1 h3
The screen capture above shows top flows, busiest switch ports, and the diameter of the network topology.


The Mininet dashboard is a simple application running on the sFlow-RT analytics platform. For a more realistic example, watch the demonstration of SDN leaf and spine traffic engineering recorded at the Open Networking Summit. In the demonstration, a redundant pair of ONOS controllers implement segment routing, using OpenFlow 1.3 to control an eight switch leaf and spine network of commodity switches. Real-time flow analytics drives the dashboards in the demonstration and trigger load balancing of flows across the fabric. Leaf and spine traffic engineering using segment routing and SDN provides a more detailed explanation.

Mininet with ONOS and sFlow-RT is a great way to rapidly develop and test SDN applications, avoiding the time and expense involved in setting up a physical network.