eBPF - The Foundation For Next Generation Observability

Posted by Peter Dougherty on Nov 30, 2021 3:09:46 PM

What is eBPF, and why is it so important?

The Extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) functions constitute a relatively new and powerful set of capabilities embedded in the Linux kernel. First released in 2014 (w/ Linux 3.18) we are seeing accelerating adoption of eBPF for very good reason.

The access that eBPF provides enables a variety of important use-cases in modern cloud-native environments. Use-cases span across application and network performance monitoring, service mesh, load balancing, continuous discovery, dynamic topology and anomaly detection for a variety of development, systems engineering, operations, cloud infrastructure, 5G / IoT, and cybersecurity applications. We discuss these in more detail further below.

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Tags: network engineering, network preformance, Real-Time Monitoring, mantis, containers, 5G

eBPF vs. Sidecar Containers for 5G Visibility

Posted by Mike Fecher on Nov 1, 2021 12:14:40 PM

As 5G stand alone (SA) environments are beginning to roll out in more earnest, there is an ongoing conversation about how to best support visibility of these container-centric platforms. Network function vendors, carriers, MNOs, and MVNOs all have skin in the game and are taking part in this conversation. At the core of the discussion is a very simple question- what is the best way to instrument and observe these complex and heavily containerized systems?

Traditional tools are no longer viable- this is common knowledge across the ecosystem. The days of deploying taps are long gone, and the days of relying on virtual taps for “cloud resources” have also faded away. We are now firmly in the era of “cloud-native”- the first major evolution of the cloud. Cloud-native has ushered in a new focus on how to best leverage virtual resources and distributed computing, with the core tenet being a shift from VMs and VNFs to containers and CNFs. The challenge now is determining how to best introspect these containerized environments.

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Tags: mantis, containers, cloud native network function, 5G

Cloud Native Full Packet Capture to Meet the DoD SCCA

Posted by Marshall England on Apr 19, 2021 2:17:29 PM

How a cloud native packet capture platform can meet the DoD SCCA Requirement

Traditionally full packet capture systems exist to obtain the network communications between various hardware devices – servers, switches, routers – in a physical network environment. With the advent of Kubernetes and cloud native environments that type of traditional approach is no longer effective (or relevant) to provide information into ephemeral resources. Information from microservices and containers such as pod-to-pod, namespaces, and intra-pod communications, etc. are critical for continuous observability and forensic inspection for performance, security, and reliability engineering applications. The evolution of infrastructure and network communications has evolved into virtualized and cloud native architectures such that new technologies are needed to operate and monitor those systems.

Recently, we were approached to partner with a global cloud service provider (CSP) to meet the Department of Defense Secure Cloud Computing Architecture Functional Requirements PDF (DoD SCCA) for Full Packet Capture (FPC) by providing a cloud native FPC solution for their new environments.

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Tags: network preformance, cyber security, mantis, containers

Father Time's Cyber Reflections

Posted by Peter Dougherty on Jan 7, 2021 4:24:03 PM

As another year is completed, now is the time to spend reflecting on the state of technology, cybersecurity and innovations. The year 2020 (and previous years) has revealed some uncomfortable truths, despite our best efforts towards improving the future prospects for clients and our industry. We are confronted with some key issues to take to heart, to improve on what has been brought to light through recent cyber events – including the Marriott, TikTok, & Solarwinds incidents - among the growing list of breaches.

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Tags: cyber security, mantis, containers

Gaining Visibility into the 5G SBA

Posted by Mike Fecher on Sep 15, 2020 10:15:59 AM

One of the biggest drivers that has impacted the design of 5G systems is the goal of providing extremely low latency and high-speed data rates throughout the entire network. The increase in data delivery speeds with 5G environments promises staggering benefits- we are talking about moving from the 1 Gbps world of 4G into a promised 10 Gbps future- or more simply put, an evolution akin to shifting from the horse and buggy to internal combustion engines. Such an enormous jump in the speed at which the world’s most valuable resource (data) can be exchanged helps explain the amount of energy and excitement around 5G that we are all collectively experiencing.

But how does this translate into architecture principles?

Leaving carrier aggregation (CA) and massive MIMO aside for another conversation, we will focus on the network itself. For starters, the 3GPP determined early on that the control plane (CP) and user plane (UP) must be split (across both the RAN and the core) so that each plane can be independently scaled and flexibly deployed. In addition to this split, the decision to take a NFV/SDN, or “cloud-native” approach to the underlying resources is critical in achieving the promised speeds of 5G. Cloud-native allows for centralization of compute resources, and optimization of all physical resources that are serving network functions (NF), regardless of location in the network.

NF communications within the SBA

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Tags: mantis, containers, cloud native network function, 5G

What is Cloud Native Observability v. Visibility and Why is it so Important?

Posted by Peter Dougherty on Aug 31, 2020 12:19:17 PM

In our last post “Introducing the MantisNet CVF: Solving Cloud Native, Serverless, Observability Challenges“ we provided an overview of the Containerized Visibility Fabric (CVF) capabilities and made some assertions about how revolutionary and disruptive cloud-native technologies are, the resulting opacity problems, as well the art of the possible insofar as enabling next-generation observability.

In this installment we’ll go into more detail as to what exactly we mean by cloud-native observability as well as the significance, deeper implications of it, interoperability and investment protection. So, let’s revisit containerization, and by extension, why cloud-native observability is so revolutionary.

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Tags: Real-Time Monitoring, Data-In-Motion, mantis, cybersecurity, containers, cloud native network function

How to Make Encrypted Session Traffic Useful for Network Observability

Posted by Marshall England on Aug 26, 2020 3:22:04 PM

Solving the opacity problem - Bringing clarity to traffic obscured by encryption.

There are many reasons that the use of encryption will continue to increase as it provides a method of privacy and security of communications and lowers the risk of information loss. However, encrypted session traffic does pose a challenge in achieving visibility and observability of network events for day-to-day operational management, risk detection and response, and lawful intercept scenarios.

How can teams better leverage the information contained in encrypted network traffic sessions for real-time network visibility?

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Tags: Real-Time Monitoring, Data-In-Motion, mantis, cybersecurity, containers

Introducing the MantisNet CVF: Solving Cloud Native, Serverless, Observability Challenges

Posted by Peter Dougherty on Aug 7, 2020 11:59:56 AM

The MantisNet Containerized Visibility Fabric (CVF) is now generally available, and we want to provide a deeper dive into the challenges that we’ve seen with network visibility which compelled us to develop this much needed cloud native observability solution.

As we will discuss more deeply in this and future posts; serverless, cloud native systems are unique in that applications are deployed as microservices and containerized applications which can both more fully exploit the capabilities of the underlying machines and are further decoupled from the constraints of hypervisors. This provides programmatic visibility and access to the underlying nodes (hardware - machines) in such a way as to enable better scaling, fault isolation, observability and control.

In the cloud native world; network topology (physical and virtual) is hidden, interfaces (network namespaces) are hidden, data flows are hidden, and to make matters even more challenging - resources are dynamically configured, provisioned, deployed and reused.

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Tags: Real-Time Monitoring, mantis, containers, cloud native network function