Kentik - Network Observability

Kentik Blog: Network Engineering

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by Avi Freedman
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The New Normals of Network Operations in the Year Ahead

January 29, 2021

Last week I had the honor to participate in the PTC 2021 conference. Held in Hawaii every January, PTC’s annual conference is the Pacific Rim’s premier telecommunications event. Although this year’s conference was all virtual (no boondoggles to Honolulu!), it was no less important as the theme this year was New Realities. In the following blog post, I summarize what I presented in my PTC panel entitled Strategies to Meet Network Needs.

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The State of Network Automation: Don't Worry... You Aren't Behind

September 23, 2019

Kentik CTO Jonah Kowall highlights challenges and opportunites in network automation and describes how Kentik is leading the way in providing next-generation solutions for automation, notification, advanced API integrations with telemetry, and more. “Every organization has an automation goal, and it’s no doubt that network automation is not only essential to avoid costly outages, but also helps organizations scale without putting people in the work path… The problem is that every organization has a storied history of automation tools, meaning we already have at least a dozen of them in our organizations across various silos and stacks, some of which are commercial and some are open source.”

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Data Enrichment Will Be the New Correlation

July 25, 2019

At one point, data was called “the new oil.” While that’s certainly an apt description for the insights we can extract from data, most organizations today are finding that new data repositories and “data lakes” often don’t provide the expected benefits due to the analytics challenge. CTO Jonah Kowall explains how advanced data enrichment techniques, leveraging AIOps technologies, can make the promise of data analysis a reality.

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Internet Underlay Visibility is Critical for SD-WAN Overlays

March 27, 2018

Fixing a persistent Internet underlay problem might be as simple as using a higher bandwidth connection or as complex as choosing the right peering and transit networks for specific applications and destination cloud services. In this blog, ACG analyst Stephen Collins advices that to make the best-informed decision about how to proceed, IT managers need to be equipped with tools that enable them to fully diagnose the nature of Internet underlay connectivity problems.

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Finding Bots with Kentik Detect

March 6, 2018

Kentik Detect now incorporates IP reputation data from Spamhaus, enabling users to identify infected or compromised hosts. In this post we look at the types of threat feed information we use from Spamhaus, and then dive into how to use that information to reveal problem hosts on an ad hoc basis, to generate scheduled reports about infections, and to set up alerting when your network is found to have carried compromised traffic.

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Seeing CDN Traffic with Kentik Detect

February 8, 2018

CDNs have been around for years, but they’ve gained new importance with the rise of video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. As traffic from those sites soars, CDNs introduce new challenges for network operations teams at both service providers and enterprises. Kentik Detect’s new CDN Attribution makes identifying and tracking CDN traffic a whole lot easier. In this blog, we provide examples of how companies can implement this functionality.

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Fascinating Facts from Kentik

December 18, 2017

What brands of network devices are Kentik customers using? Where does their international traffic come from and go to? What’s the current norm for packet sizes and internet traffic protocols? Drawing on Kentik Detect’s ability to see and analyze network traffic, this post shares some intriguing factoids, and it sheds light on some of the insights about your own network traffic that await you as a Kentik customer.

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Level 3 Route Leak: What Kentik Saw

November 15, 2017

As last week’s misconfigured BGP routes from backbone provider Level 3 caused Internet outages across the nation, the monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities of Kentik Detect enabled us to identify the most-affected providers and assess the performance impact on our own customers. In this post we show how we did it and how our new ability to alert on performance metrics will make it even easier for Kentik customers to respond rapidly to similar incidents in the future.

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Configuring Kentik for SSO

October 23, 2017

As security threats grow more ominous, security procedures grow more onerous, which can be a drag on productivity. In this post we look at how Kentik’s single sign-on (SSO) implementation enables users to maintain security without constantly entering authentication credentials. Check out this walk-through of the SSO setup and login process to enable your users to access Kentik Detect with the same SSO services they use for other applications.

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Kentik APIs Enable Multi-Solution Integration

October 2, 2017

In today’s world of heterogeneous environments and distributed systems, APIs drive synergistic innovation, creating a whole that’s more powerful than the parts. Even in networking, where the CLI rules, APIs are now indispensable. At Kentik, APIs have been integral to our platform from the outset. In this post we look at how partners and customers are expanding the capabilities of their systems by combining Kentik with external tools.

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Visualizing the Digital Eclipse

August 22, 2017

With much of the country looking skyward during the solar eclipse, you might wonder how much of an effect there was on network traffic. Was there a drastic drop as millions of watchers were briefly uncoupled from their screens? Or was that offset by a massive jump in live streaming and photo uploads? In this post we report on what we found using forensic analytics in Kentik Detect to slice traffic based on how and where usage patterns changed during the event.

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Monitoring DNS with Kentik

August 21, 2017

Domain Name Server (DNS) is often overlooked, but it’s one of the most critical pieces of Internet infrastructure. As driven home by last October’s crippling DDoS attack against Dyn, the web can’t function unless DNS resolves hostnames to their underlying IP addresses. In this post we look at how combining Kentik’s software host agent with Dashboards in Kentik gives you the tools you need to ensure DNS availability and performance.

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HBO Attack: Can Alerting Help Protect Data?

August 9, 2017

Major cyber-security incidents keep on coming, the latest being the theft from HBO of 1.5 terabytes of private data. We often frame Kentik Detect’s advanced anomaly detection and alerting system in terms of defense against DDoS attacks, but large-scale transfer of data from private servers to unfamiliar destinations also creates anomalous traffic. In this post we look at several ways to configure our alerting system to see breaches like the attack on HBO.

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How Many Routes Do You Really Need?

August 7, 2017

With BGP and NetFlow correlated into a unified datastore, Kentik Detect’s advanced analytics provide valuable insights for both engineering and sales. In this post we look into a fairly recent addition to Kentik Detect, Route Traffic Analytics. Especially useful for capacity planners and peering coordinators, RTA makes it easy to see how many unique routes are represented in a given percent of your traffic, which indicates the route capacity needed in your edge routers.

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Learning From Your BGP Tables

July 31, 2017

Can BGP routing tables provide actionable insights for both engineering and sales? Kentik Detect correlates BGP with flow records like NetFlow to deliver advanced analytics that unlock valuable knowledge hiding in your routes. In this post, we look at our Peering Analytics feature, which lets you see whether your traffic is taking the most cost-effective and performant routes to get where it’s going, including who you should be peering with to reduce transit costs.

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Why Your NetFlow is Safe in the Cloud

July 24, 2017

Among Kentik Detect’s unique features is the fact that it’s a high-performance network visibility solution that’s available as a SaaS. Naturally, data security in the cloud can be an initial concern for many customers, but most end up opting for SaaS deployment. In this post we look at some of the top factors to consider in making that decision, and why most customers conclude that there’s no risk to taking advantage of Kentik Detect as a SaaS.

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Kentik Detect Alerting: Configuring Alert Policies

July 11, 2017

Operating a network means staying on top of constant changes in traffic patterns. With legacy network monitoring tools, you often can’t see these changes as they happen. Instead you need a comprehensive visibility solution that includes real-time anomaly detection. Kentik Detect fits the bill with a policy-based alerting system that continuously evaluates incoming flow data. This post provides an overview of system features and configuration.

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Security in an SD-WAN World

July 6, 2017

As one of 2017’s hottest networking technologies, SD-WAN is generating a lot of buzz, including at last week’s Cisco Live. But as enterprises rely on SD-WAN to enable Internet-connected services — thereby bypassing Carrier MPLS charges — they face unfamiliar challenges related to the security and availability of remote sites. In this post we take a look at these new threats and how Kentik Detect helps protect against and respond to attacks.

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Consolidated Tools Improve Network Management

May 31, 2017

Stuck with piles of siloed tools, today’s network teams struggle to piece together both the big picture and the actionable insights buried in inconsistent UIs and fragmented datasets. The result is subpar performance for both networks and network teams. In this post we look at the true cost of legacy tools, and how Kentik Detect frees you from this obsolete paradigm with a unified, scalable, real-time solution built on the power of big data.

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Network Traffic Intelligence for ISPs

May 23, 2017

Large or small, all ISPs share the imperative to stay competitive and profitable. To do that in today’s environment, they need traffic visibility they can’t get from legacy network tools. Taking their lead from the world’s most-successful web-scale enterprises, ISPs have much to gain from big data network and business intelligence, so in this post we look at ISP use cases and how Kentik Detect’s SaaS model puts key capabilities within easy reach.

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SDN and Self-Driving Networks

May 15, 2017

SDN holds lots of promise, but it’s practical applications have so far been limited to discrete use cases like customer provisioning or service scaling. The long-term goal is true dynamic control, but that requires comprehensive traffic intelligence in real time at full scale. As our customers are discovering, Kentik Detect’s traffic visibility, anomaly detection, and extensive APIs make it an ideal source for actionable traffic data that can drive network automation.

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Package Tracking for the Internet

May 9, 2017

Without package tracking, FedEx wouldn’t know how directly a package got to its destination or how to improve service and efficiency. 25 years into the commercial Internet, most service providers find themselves in just that situation, with no easy way to tell where an individual customer’s traffic exited the network. With Kentik Detect’s new Ultimate Exit feature, those days are over. Learn how Kentik’s per-customer traffic breakdown gives providers a competitive edge.

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From Network Flow Monitoring to CapEx Savings

April 10, 2017

It’s very costly to operate a large-scale Internet edge, making lower-end edge routers a subject of keen interest for service providers and Web enterprises alike. Such routers are comparatively short on FIB capacity, but depending on the routes needed to serve your customers that might not be an issue. How can you find out for sure? In this post, Alex Henthorn-Iwane, VP Product Marketing, explains how a new feature in Kentik Detect can show you the answer.

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Why Large Enterprises Need Modern DDoS Defense

March 27, 2017

Today’s increased reliance on cloud and distributed application architectures means that denial of just a single critical dependency can shut down Web availability and revenue. In this post we look at what that means for large, complex enterprises. Do legacy tools protect sufficiently against new and different vulnerabilities? If not, what constitutes a modern approach to DDoS protection, and why is it so crucial to business resilience?

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How Important is the Internet to Enterprises Today?

March 20, 2017

After presenting at the recent CIOArena conference in Atlanta, Kentik VP of Strategic Alliances Jim Frey came away with a number of insights about the adoption of digital business operations in the enterprise. In his first in a series of related posts, Jim looks at audience survey responses indicating how reliant enterprises — even those that aren’t digital natives or located in tech industry hotspots — have become on the Internet for core elements of their business.

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Kentik Joins Internet2

March 13, 2017

Kentik is pleased to announce our membership in the Internet2® consortium, which operates a nationwide research and education (R&E) network and establishes best practices for R&E networking. Because Internet2 is a major source of innovation, our participation will enable us to grow our connection to the higher education networking community, to learn from member perspectives, and to support the advancement of applications and services for R&E networks.

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The State of DDoS Attacks and Defense

March 6, 2017

DDoS attacks constitute a very significant and growing portion of the overall cybersecurity threat. In this post we recap highlights of a recent Webinar jointly presented by Kentik’s VP of Product Marketing, Alex Henthorn-Iwane, and Forrester Senior Analyst Joseph Blankenship. The Webinar focused on three areas: attack trends, the state of defense techniques, and key recommendations that organizations can implement to improve their protective posture.

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Modern NPM: Critical for Effective APM

February 27, 2017

As the architecture of digital business applications transitions toward the cloud, network teams are increasingly involved in assuring application performance across distributed infrastructure. Filling this new role effectively requires a deeper toolset than provided by APM alone, with both internal and external network-level visibility. In this post from EMA’s Shamus McGillicudy, we look at how modern NPM solutions empower network managers to tackle these new challenges.

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Cloud-Native Network Management

February 21, 2017

As IT technologies evolve toward greater reliance on the cloud, longstanding networking practitioners are adapting to a new environment. The changes are easier to implement in greenfield companies than in more established brownfield enterprises. In this third post of a three-part series, analyst Jim Metzler talks with Kentik’s Alex Henthorn-Iwane about how network management is impacted by the differences between the two situations.

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Cisco’s Acquisition of AppDynamics

February 6, 2017

Cisco’s late-January acquisition of AppDynamics confirms what was already evident from Kentik’s experience in 2016, which is that effective visibility is now recognized industry-wide as a critical requirement for success. AppDynamics provides APM, the full value of which can’t be realized without the modern NPM offered by Kentik Detect. In this post we look at how Kentik uniquely complements APM to provide a comprehensive visibility solution.

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Culture War: How Network vs. Cloud Impacts Tools

January 23, 2017

As cloud computing continues to gain ground, there’s a natural tension in IT between cloud advocates and those who prefer the status quo of in-house networking. In part two of his three-part series on this “culture war,” analyst Jim Metzler clarifies what is — and is not — involved in the transition to the cloud, and how the adoption of cloud computing impacts the way that network organizations should think about the management tools they use.

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Using NetFlow Analysis to Optimize IP Transit

January 9, 2017

Unless you’re a Tier 1 provider, IP transit is a significant cost of providing Internet service or operating a digital business. To minimize the pain, your network monitoring tools would ideally show you historical route utilization and notify you before the traffic volume on any path triggers added fees. In this post we look at how Kentik Detect is able to do just that, and we show how our Data Explorer is used to drill down on the details of route utilization.

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Kentik CEO Avi Freedman with PacketPushers on NPM & DDoS

December 19, 2016

Avi Freedman recently spoke with Ethan Banks and Greg Ferro of PacketPushers about Kentik’s latest updates, which focus primarily on features that enhance network performance monitoring and DDoS protection. This post includes excerpts from that conversation as well as a link to the full podcast. Avi discusses his vision of appliance-free network monitoring, explains how host monitoring expands Kentik’s functionality, and gives an overview of how we detect and respond to anomalies and attacks.

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Kentik Cited as IDC Innovator

December 15, 2016

Kentik’s recent recognition as an IDC Innovator for Cloud-Based Network Monitoring was based not only on our orientation as a cloud-based SaaS but also on the deep capabilities of Kentik Detect. In this post we look at how our purpose-built distributed architecture enables us to keep up with raw network traffic data while providing a unified network intelligence solution, including traffic analysis, performance monitoring, Internet peering, and DDoS protection.

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Culture War: Network vs. Cloud

December 12, 2016

Every so often a fundamental shift in technology sets off a culture war in the world of IT. Two decades ago, with the advent of a commercial Internet, it was a struggle between the Bellheads and the Netheads. Today, Netheads have become the establishment and cloud computing advocates are pushing to upend the status quo. In this first post of a 3-part series, analyst Jim Metzler looks at how this dynamic is playing out in IT organizations.

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Kentik Troubleshoots Network Performance

December 5, 2016

How does Kentik NPM help you track down network performance issues? In this post by Jim Meehan, Director of Solutions Engineering, we look at how we recently used our own NPM solution to determine if a spike in retransmits was due to network issues or a software update we’d made on our application servers. You’ll see how we ruled out the software update, and were then able to narrow the source of the issue to a specific route using BGP AS Path.

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How ISPs & Managed Service Providers Can Offer DDoS Protection

November 28, 2016

As organizations increasingly rely on digital operations there’s no end in sight to the DDoS epidemic. That aggravates the headaches for service providers, who stand between attackers and their targets, but it also creates the opportunity to offer effective protection services. Done right, these services can deepen customer relationships while expanding revenue and profits. But to succeed, providers will need to embrace big data as a key element of DDoS protection.

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Big Data DDoS Protection vs the DDoS Marketplaces Threat

November 21, 2016

The source of DDoS attacks is typically depicted as a hoodie-wearing amateur. But the more serious threat is actually a well-developed marketplace for exploits, with vendors whose state-of-the-art technology can easily overwhelm legacy detection systems. In this post we look why you need the firepower of big data to fend off this new breed of commercial attackers.

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