SearchNetworking has named Forward Networks Inc. The cutting-edge winner of. TechTarget’s Network Innovation Award in popularity of its guarantee and verification software program. The platform collects configuration states from network devices and creates an actual-time behavioral model of the surroundings — what the organization calls the community’s virtual twin. This fact permits IT professionals to affirm their community is behaving as expected and intended, or indicators them if it is no longer. The platform additionally permits operators to test hypothetical adjustments in a digital sandbox to expect how they will impact performance. Forward Networks CEO David Erickson lately mentioned the technology and the role it plays in reason-primarily based networking. Editors are aware: This interview has been lightly edited for period and readability.
What problem does the Forward Networks platform deal with?
David Erickson: I assume there is more than one commonplace demanding situation that anyone going for walks a community deals with successfully. The first is visibility — determining what’s in the network and what it’s doing. The second is determining whether the network is clearly handing over the extent of carrier and protection the business requires.
We have programs to deal with both challenges — a visibility utility referred to as Search and an application called Verify that tells you if your community is virtually delivering the conduct you want it to. The platform essentially talks to each tool inside the network and builds a virtual dual of the environment — a duplicate of the network in software.
So now you have got a duplicate of your manufacturing community that offers full visibility into how it’s running right now and also how it’s labored historically. You can use this model to mathematically prove you’re delivering the preferred stage of the carrier.
And how does that match into purpose-based totally networking?
Erickson: In networking, lots of us are still down within the weeds, manually writing very low-level configuration code on a device-by-device foundation. That technique is relatively prone to blunders and very tedious — and makes it difficult to see the wooded area thru the trees, so to talk. We want to make an identical degree of change in how we program and perform networks in software development.
Trying to pull us up out of the weeds so we can say, ‘What do I really want from my network? What is cease-to-stop conduct? What applications do I want to attach? What sites do I need to make sure I can speak?’ There are strategies for rationale-based networking. One — what I could call the orchestrator, manage-aircraft method — is geared towards clean-slate, trendy networks. It was pretty rigid and constrained inside the forms of configuration parameters you could apply. Plus, the great majority of the world operates on brownfield networks.
We, as an organization, have pioneered the other approach — what we name network verification. The idea is easy. ‘I’ve were given this current complicated community which could have thousands of community devices and masses of thousands of lines of configuration helping heaps of community packages. I want to recognize — proper this second and on an ongoing foundation — if my community is handing over the connectivity and security that my commercial enterprise wishes.’
I want with a view to sleep at night time — to undergo exchange windows and recognize my network engineers haven’t fats-fingered something and taken the community down in a way they won’t recognize until irritated clients begin calling. Our software program offers you the visibility you want in even the most complex environment — whether or not it’s a brownfield, Greenfield, SDN [software-defined network], cloud-based totally, hybrid, with an aggregate of hardware or software — and proves it is running the way you need it to paintings.
So who is a regular Forward Networks consumer?
Erickson: In a fashionable, our users are community engineers and operators from medium-sized or huge corporations. We paintings with some of the most important groups on the planet, which have a tendency to have the most important and most complex community environments and often the largest ache factors. Telcos, service providers, banks, retail companies, authorities agencies, and startups — it’s throughout the board.
And what does Forward Networks’ deployment procedure look like?
Erickson: The corporation product has deployment options — one is on-prem built into virtual machines or packing containers, and the opposite is cloud-added. In the cloud case, you’ll install a small, lightweight collector device on-premises to collect the data from your network devices and then securely transmit it as much as the cloud. If you install the cloud version, that’s what we advocate, and you’ve got a current list of your network gadgets and the credentials that would permit the carrier to log in and acquire data, then you could be up and jogging and getting the price in a count number of mins.