Kentik - Network Observability
Product Updates
More Product Updates

July/August 2019

As usual, our product team has been working extremely hard to bring new capabilities and features into the Kentik platform this summer.

In this product update, we’ll introduce support for Streaming Telemetry, SNMP Metrics, and MPLS flow templates.

We’ll also talk about the beta version of Kentik’s new UI, which our product and engineering teams have been working on for the past several months. We will share the motivation behind this new design and show some highlights in this exclusive introduction to the new look and feel of the next generation of Kentik.

Let’s dig in.

Streaming Telemetry Support (Phase 1)

Streaming Telemetry is not a new term anymore, yet adoption is still in very early stages. In short, it is a technology that provides a new approach for collecting network device metrics in which data is streamed from the devices continuously, as opposed to periodic polling like SNMP. Streaming telemetry is a more scalable and flexible way of exposing metrics from your infrastructure.

Our recent blog post on the subject explains what Streaming Telemetry is, discusses how to maximize the value of it, and shares Kentik’s vision of leveraging this new technology.

We believe that Streaming Telemetry can improve efficiency for network operators in use cases like detecting problems, troubleshooting issues, planning for networking capacity and much more.

Kentik ingests streaming telemetry data at scale, the same way we handle other types of data we ingest like NetFlow. Then with enrichment and machine learning, we surface potential problems, using both built-in and custom user-defined detection methods. We help network teams swiftly and accurately respond to incidents, proactively recognize and prevent issues from impacting service and business, and allow them to focus on optimization rather than firefighting.

Kentik support for streaming telemetry

The first phase of Kentik’s support for streaming telemetry, offers:

  • Direct collection of telemetry data
  • Interface classification support
  • Juniper “gNMI” JTI with UI support
  • Interface metrics with including metrics: Input/Output Unicast/Multicast/Broadcast BitRate/Packets/Errors/Discards (see screenshot below)
Streaming Telemetry interface 1

As an example, we can now use streaming telemetry data to view statistics and visualizations of network ingress and egress traffic, via which interfaces, with connectivity types and so on.

Streaming Telemetry interface 2 Streaming Telemetry interface 3

In subsequent phases, we will support more vendors (e.g., Cisco Dial-Out for ASR), add full interface metrics, provide more sample interval options, provide full alerting on metrics and state changes, and much more.

Please contact our Customer Success team if you want to get a preview of this early version of Streaming Telemetry support.

SNMP Support (Phase 1)

While we are embracing cutting-edge technologies such as Streaming Telemetry, our core focus has always stayed on solving our customers’ problems.

SNMP is still a widely-used protocol in network operations for managing and monitoring network devices and their functions. Now, with Kentik’s first phase of SNMP support, our customers can observe many more aspects of network devices than before: discovering devices on the network based on IP ranges or subnet, collecting information such as network devices’ OS, version, name, management IP, interface metadata, VRF settings, processors and much more.

With this additional visibility, Kentik makes it easier for operations teams to get a comprehensive picture of the devices in their infrastructure. These features support many use cases including capacity & utilization planning, and more efficient network troubleshooting.

As a network engineer, there are many problems that can be solved with detailed SNMP visibility, including:

  • You can see SNMP base interface stats per interface and other Interface Classification dimensions
  • You can visualize the capacity of an interface over time
  • You can aggregate capacities from all backbone logical interfaces.
  • You can a__ggregate the inbound and outbound utilization__ of an interface or group of interfaces

Phase 1 primarily supports a basic set of SNMP metrics such as Interface metrics, which are very similar to the list mentioned above in Streaming Telemetry. Available interface metrics include: Input Bit Rate, Input Packets, Out Bit Rate, Input Errors, Output Errors, Input Discards, Output Discards, Input Multicast Packets, Output Multicast Packets, Input Broadcast Packets, and Output Broadcast Packets. See screenshot below:

SNMP Interface

We offer a 5-minute resolution on standard polling in this initial release. In the future, we’ll support more polling rates based on the use cases and requests we see from customers.

Collecting SNMP data from the Kentik platform is flexible. Kentik can directly poll your devices from our SaaS platform, or you can use the latest kproxy agent running on any local host to act as an SNMP polling proxy.

SNMP Polling

In subsequent phases, we will support an ever-increasing part of the SNMP OID tree including full interface metrics and interface metadata. We’ll also provide full alerting capability over SNMP data.

For more information, please see the SNMP OID Polling topic in our Knowledge Base, or contact our Customer Success team.

MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) Template Support

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), sometimes classified as a Layer 2.5 networking protocol, reduces router load by using packet labeling to avoid IP routing lookups. MPLS is known for providing benefits such as scalability, performance, better bandwidth utilization, reduced network congestion, and a better end-user experience. It’s been heavily used for implementing traffic engineering, segmenting multi-service networks as well as improving network resiliency via MPLS Fast Reroute.

With support for MPLS flow templates, Kentik can now collect and visualize label values applied to traffic coming in/out of interfaces. This gives operators greatly needed visibility to monitor or troubleshoot MPLS traffic by filtering or segmenting traffic based on labels.

The secret sauce enabling this capability is Kentik’s Universal Data Records, which allow us to rapidly add new data sources and data dimensions to the Kentik platform and address our customers’ ever-evolving network visibility challenges. Read our recent blog post for more background on Universal Data Records.

For Phase 1 of MPLS, we support MPLS flow templates in different flavors including Cisco and Juniper, with full support for policies and alerting.

Kentik MPSL Support

See the table below for details of the newly-added MPLS dimensions:

MPLS dimensionDescription
MPLS Forwarding TypeThe control protocol that allocated the top-of-stack label (reference here)
MPLS Forwarding AddressThe IP address to which the MPLS top label will cause the flow to be forwarded
MPLS Forwarding Address Prefix LengthThe prefix length of the subnet to which the MPLS top label will cause the flow to be forwarded
MPLS Label 1Label part of MPLS header at the top of the stack
MPLS Label 1 EXPExperimental bits of MPLS header at the top of the stac
MPLS Label 2Label part of MPLS header pushed prior to the top of the stack
MPLS Label 2 EXPExperimental bits of MPLS header pushed prior to the top of the stack
Forwarding StatusThe forwarding status of the flow with one of the following: Unknown, Forwarded, Dropped, or Consumed

The following Sankey diagram depicts an overview of the MPLS traffic flowing end-to-end within an example network, including values for MPLS attributes of the traffic.

Sankey Diagram: MPLS Traffic Flows

For more information on MPLS Template Support, please contact our Customer Success team.

New Kentik (V4) Interface

At Kentik, we believe that the future is insights and automation to empower humans—not replace them.

Kentik V4 focuses on proactive insights—both system-driven and custom user-defined, as well as interactive insights driven by humans. The new Quick Views offer convenient, built-in interactive visualizations for fast access to the most-used views. Custom Views & Data Explorer allow users to answer more sophisticated, interactive questions about the network—instantly—and at the full resolution as the data is collected.

V4 also makes managing networks significantly easier by adding use-case-specific workflows. This dramatically improves the learning curve for onboarding new networks, devices, and capabilities. We’ve reduced the time from signup to get real, useful insights from Kentik.

This new interface is much more than a new look with an overhauled UI, but also a transformation in how Kentik provides proactive advice and advanced troubleshooting capabilities. This change represents the beginning of Kentik’s transformation from a network monitoring product to an AIOps platform, turning your data into actionable insights.

Kentik V4 Highlights

Kentik V4 is built around a brand new AIOps Engine, that was designed to surface relevant, actionable and interesting events around your network traffic, health, security, and applications. This system empowers operators to efficiently identify, troubleshoot and resolve real issues on their networks- fast.

With V4, we took note of our customers’ feedback to design and build workflows that make time-consuming and repetitive tasks easy. We are kicking this effort off with the launch of two new modules:

  • The Connectivity Costs module helps network operators keep track of their current and historical bandwidth costs- helping network operators gain visibility into their costliest applications, sites, and customers.
  • We’ve also released our new Traffic Engineering module, which makes easy work of finding complex traffic groups when performing traffic engineering tasks.

We’ve also developed an innovative way for users to interact with their network data. V4’s new Quick Views module was designed from the ground up to present users with their infrastructure data elegantly and intuitively. While the beloved Data Explorer lives on for those that wish to limitlessly spelunk into flows, our new Quick Views module promises to deliver the same precision and flexibility you’ve come to expect from us, but without requiring expert-level knowledge of the Data Explorer.

Kentik V4 UI Design Overview

Your new Kentik landing page is shown in the screenshot below. There are 3 panels (left, middle, right) that serve different purposes:

Kentik V4 Home Screen
  • The Sidebar Navigation on the left is a menu to navigate around the portal.
  • The Main Panel is a content display, with content related to the which menu item you click on.
  • The Insights Sidebar on the right is one of the highlights of Kentik V4. It automatically notifies users of interesting or anomalous network conditions or traffic behaviors based on the patterns surfaced by our new Insights Engine.

Here are a few quick peeks to the New Kentik UI. Note that all aspects of the UI shown here are subject to change as the product evolves.

V4 Menu Walkthrough: Kentik V4 Menu Walkthrough

V4 Connectivity Costs Module: Kentik V4 Connectivity Costs Module

V4 Network Map Module: Kentik V4 Network Map Module

Conclusion and What’s Next

Kentik V4 is designed to guide users to discover hidden conditions in the network that would be very difficult for operators to find within with a huge volume of diverse network data streams—across both traditional and cloud infrastructure . With the Kentik V4 AIOps platform, customers can accelerate the network team’s efficiency, automate issue resolution, and create new business capabilities using these instant insights.

Kentik’s AIOps platform is available for early access to existing customers and will be GA in later 2019 with more comprehensive support for more use cases and functions, such as Capacity Planning, Container Networking Visibility, Subscriber intelligence, MyKentik Portal and much more.

For more information, please see the Knowledge Base V4 or contact our Customer Success team to get access to the preview.

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