Thursday, March 19, 2020

SFMIX San Francisco shelter in place

A shelter in place order restricted San Francisco residents to their homes beginning at 12:01 a.m. on March 17, 2020. Many residents work for Bay Area technology companies such as Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Netflix and Apple. Employees from these companies are able to, and have been instructed to, work remotely from their homes. In addition, other housebound residents are making use of social networking to keep in touch with friends and family as well as streaming media and online gaming for entertainment.

The traffic trend chart above from the San Francisco Metropolitan Internet Exchange (SFMIX) shows the change in network traffic that has resulted from the shelter in place order. Peak traffic has increased by around 10Gbit/s (a 25% increase) and continues throughout the day (whereas peaks previously occurred in the evenings).

The SFMIX network directly connects a number of data centers in the Bay Area and the member organizations that peer from those data centers.  Peering through the exchange network keeps traffic local by directly connecting companies with their employees and customers and avoiding potentially congested service provider networks.
SFMIX recently finished a network upgrade to 100Gbit/s Arista switches and all fiber optic connections and so is easily able to handle the increase in traffic.

Network visibility is critical to being able to quickly respond to unexpected changes in network usage. The sFlow measurement technology built into high speed switches is a standard method of monitoring Internet Exchanges (IXs) - Internet Exchange (IX) Metrics is a measurement tool developed with SFMIX.

Every organization depends on their networks and visibility is critical to manage the challenges posed by a rapidly changing environment. sFlow is an industry standard that is widely implemented by network vendors.  Enable sFlow telemetry from existing network equipment and deploy an sFlow analytics tool to gain visibility into your network traffic. sFlowTrend is a free tool that can be installed and running in minutes. Flow metrics with Prometheus and Grafana describes how to integrate network traffic visibility into existing operational dashboards.

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