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Avaya VSP NOS targets network disaggregation

This week, bloggers explore Avaya VSP updates, the federal Software Assurance Marketplace and packet loss with TCP.

Ethan Banks, writing in Packet Pushers, explored Avaya VSP network operating system 4.3 updates aimed at network...

disaggregation -- unbundling the network operating system from switching hardware. According to Banks, the vendor has been heads down developing the Avaya VSP, or Virtual Services Platform, disaggregation project. It's intended to position Avaya products against competitors, such as Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Big Switch Networks.

Avaya VSP NOS 4.3 is one of two network operating system options the vendor offers, along with BayStack OS for access and edge boxes; NOS 4.3 is focused on mainline switching. Avaya has partnered with Delta Networks, a Taiwanese firm, to run NOS 4.3 on its line of Broadcom-anchored switches.

Banks predicted other hardware suppliers will be added, once Avaya gives its disaggregated offering a test run on Delta products. Banks said he sees the product being marketed to enterprises, with yearly subscription and perpetual license offers -- bundle licensing will also be offered. Avaya, like many other suppliers, anticipates a disaggregated model of networking will be commonplace in five to 10 years, as business pushes for a less expensive IT stack.

Read more of Banks' thoughts on Avaya VSP NOS 4.3. 

SWAMP may be a federal boondoggle

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., slogged through the Software Assurance Marketplace (SWAMP), a data security project that has yet to meet expectations. First announced in 2014, the program is founded on a $23 million support grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). SWAMP is designed to be a "no-cost, high-performance, centralized cloud computing platform that includes an array of open source and commercial software security testing tools, as well as a comprehensive results viewer to simplify vulnerability remediation."

According to Enterprise Strategy Group research, SWAMP was intended to meet an important industry need -- 33% of critical industry organizations have faced security problems with internally developed software. Yet, Oltsik said SWAMP has not lived up to its goals, offering only a limited and buggy set of features, undermined by mismanagement and only attracting a handful of users. "I have no doubt that DHS' heart was in the right place when it funded the SWAMP, but its ongoing project management seems to have turned this program into an irreversible failure," he said. "Instead of throwing good money after bad, Congress should hold DHS accountable, assess the true ROI and future of the SWAMP, and move on to bigger and better things, if necessary," he added, suggesting cybersecurity scholarships as a better alternative.

Take a closer look at Oltsik's ideas about SWAMP.

TCP and packet loss

"When someone tells you that 'TCP is a lossy protocol' during a job interview, don't throw him out immediately -- he was just trusting the internet a bit too much," said Ivan Pepelnjak. According to Pepelnjak, whose IPspace blog covers a variety of networking issues, the common wisdom about TCP packet loss is only partly true. While TCP is founded on the notion that some packets will be lost, the protocol reacts to packet drops and delays -- delaying instead of dropping them on low-speed connections over short sessions.

When it comes to quality of service (QoS), many claim TCP drops packets in almost any system, because there is less bandwidth in a network than endpoints are able to transmit. Pepelnjak agreed internet-wide QoS is impossible, but recommended improvements to QoS on a given system using policing, queuing, dropping or simply increasing bandwidth.

Explore Pepelnjak's thoughts on TCP reliability.

Next Steps

Disaggregation unlocks data center efficiency

DHS funds security research

Looking into network forensics

Dig Deeper on Network Design

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