Kentik - Network Observability
Product Updates
More Product Updates

November 2021

The Kentik product and engineering teams have worked hard the last month, churning out great new capabilities based directly on customer feedback. Here are some of the details for this month:

Kentik Core

Library modules overhaul

As one of our customers’ go-to modules in Kentik Portal, the Library was due for a facelift.

Some of Kentik’s customers have as many as 500 dashboards and saved views. We decided to make improvements to handle large numbers of dashboards and saved views.

See the product update that details the highlights of this new version.

Some of these include:

  • User manageable Categories to classify content
  • Drag and drop Categories
  • Guided Mode dashboard inputs straight from the Library
  • Favorites and Recently Used are back!
  • Multiple contextual actions to do more directly from the Library
  • Ability to create report subscriptions directly from the Library context menu
  • Keyboard shortcuts

Actions menu update

The Actions menu in both Dashboards and Saved View now contains all the actions that Data Explorer would offer in this menu. This has been a long time requirement from our customers and we are happy to get this delivered.

Additional features include:

  • The ability to copy a saved view into a dashboard
  • The ability to generate a report subscription directly from Dashboards and Saved Views
  • Show API call on saved views
  • And many others

Additional Connectivity Costs capabilities: History

The Edge > Connectivity Costs workflow supports history.

While only details for the ongoing month were visible in the Connectivity Cost UI, the new release will allow users to navigate cost details month-by-month.

Guided Workflows / Automation

OTT True Origin engine update

While this is something that we rarely spend time talking about, our OTT detection engine, a broadband provider’s favorite, keeps on learning and evolving as time goes by.

Over the month of October, the True Origin engine has learned to classify an additional ~1,000 new hostname patterns to match flow with DNS queries. This month, its improvements were centered around Vietnam, Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

Kentik Synthetics

RPKI validation in BGP Monitor

We’ve added optional RPKI validation to the BGP Monitor test. When enabled (also the default) we will query the RPKI database and report the RPKI status in the result set.

Kentik Cloud

This month the cloud team delivered a ton of improvements: tightening up our maps, making our backend systems more resilient, and improving Azure onboarding. We released an alpha version of Kentik Kube, a product designed to help networkers awash in a sea of containers find solid ground, a variety of map improvements, support for VPC endpoint interfaces and gateways, and the ability to retain VPC Flow Logs inside of S3 buckets indefinitely. And we delivered the first of two projects designed to make agentless cloud ingest a reality. We are actively seeking design partners for Kentik Kube. Please contact us if you’d like to help guide our vision for this product early on. We welcome your input! Read on for all the details.

Kentik Kube: Network visibility for Kubernetes clusters

One thing we believe at Kentik is that everything that runs over the network should be observable — from containers to clouds, and everything in between. And with that in mind, whenever we become aware of a new visibility gap making operators’ lives more difficult, we aim to bridge it.

Enter Kubernetes. In 2020, we released an agent that could be used to export network flows from Kubernetes. And this month, we’ve released Kentik Kube to visualize this data.

Kentik Kube is a new module of the Kentik Network Observability Cloud that helps cloud and infrastructure engineers gain detailed network traffic and performance visibility both inside and among their Kubernetes clusters to quickly detect and solve network problems.

As the industry has adopted Kubernetes as a de facto standard for workload scheduling, teams that support these environments are discovering that their network and Kubernetes monitoring tools can’t help them answer critical questions because they:

  • Are unaware of traffic patterns within Kubernetes or do not create traffic logs for these environments
  • Do not take into account the network models implemented by Kubernetes
  • Do not fuse Kubernetes metadata into traffic data.

We built Kentik Kube to provide this visibility for these teams. Our solution supports cloud-managed Kubernetes clusters (AKS, EKS, and GKS) and on-prem, self-managed clusters using the most widely used cloud implemented network models.

Kentik Kube helps by supporting the following use cases:

Network performance: Discover which services and pods are experiencing network delays so you can troubleshoot and fix problems faster. Identify service misconfigurations without capturing packets. Configure alert policies to proactively find high latency impacting nodes, pods, workloads or services.

Top talkers: Identify clients/requesters consuming your Kubernetes services so you can track down problematic connections. Discover oversubscribed microservices so you can adjust scaling, configure node affinity, etc. Know exactly who was talking to which pod, and when.

Policy validation: Ensure that your network reality matches your design. See which pods, namespaces and services are speaking with each other to ensure that your configured policy is working as expected.

Total infrastructure visualization: Know which pods are deployed on which nodes — even historically. See which pods and services are communicating with non-Kubernetes infrastructure or the internet. View your network from container to cloud.

AWS Flow Logs in-bucket file retention

Kentik has always allowed our AWS customers to retain their flow logs in their buckets. However, we ran into problems with customers who wanted to keep their flow logs around for long periods of time. We’ve made some significant changes and are happy to report that customers can now keep their flows around as long as they like — without any adverse effects on their Kentik subscriptions.

VPC endpoint support and ENI gateways

This month we’ve begun our journey towards full support of VPC endpoints in Kentik Cloud. Our first volley of product improvements includes giving customers the ability to group and filter flows based on these gateway IDs in the Data Explorer.

We support both Gateway-style VPC Endpoints as well as Interface VPC endpoints (AWS PrivateLink). However, despite their similar names, these are very different things under the hood. VPC Endpoint Gateways act as gateways to Amazon services, keeping this traffic inside your VPC and off the public internet. Using these endpoints can save money by keeping VPC network egress costs down — making identifying when traffic isn’t using these gateways a key use case. These gateways aren’t exposed as elastic network interfaces and thus can be difficult to track traffic using other network solutions. Kentik is the only solution on the market that gives you this capability.

AWS PrivateLink allows AWS and their customers to configure their services for consumption without forcing traffic to flow over the public internet. Over 128 different AWS services are available behind these so-called “interface endpoints” while just a small few are available behind VPC endpoint gateways. Interface Endpoints serve to reduce cost and can serve a security function in that sensitive information can be shared between AWS customers privately. These endpoints are exposed in a more standard fashion inside of VPCs using Elastic Network Interfaces as the gateways. The major difference in how this impacts Kentik users is that these interfaces are grouped in the Interface Type dimensions and specific interfaces are identified in the ENI ID dimension while the Gateway-style endpoints are grouped into the Gateway Type dimensions and the specifics are found under Gateway ID dimension.

S3 bucket ingest

We took a major step forward this month in our promise to offer agentless ingest to AWS customers. Instead of having Kentik reach into customer buckets to retrieve flow logs, we can now support customers who wish to write their flow logs directly into an S3 bucket that Kentik manages and maintains. This allows customers to write flow logs more flexibly (via direct VPC write, lambda copies, S3 actions, etc.) and also allows customers to avoid giving Kentik permissions into their S3 buckets. Next up on our agentless agenda is to provide a method for companies to post their metadata to a similar endpoint for enrichment and mapping visualizations. Stay tuned!

Map improvements

Following our September release of the Weather Map, we’ve continued to iterate on our Kentik Maps product. This month we’ve added a bunch of important fixes and improvements.

We’ve improved handling overlapping lines in AWS. Previous versions of Kentik Map would allow lines connecting close together objects to overlap. We’ve added some logic to detect this condition and give these objects a bit of breathing room, making it easier to visually determine the path connecting the objects and select them with your mouse.

We’ve improved visualizing site-to-site VPN connections. Prior versions of Kentik Map for AWS kept the customer gateways in the middle of the screen. We moved customer gateways into the “On Prem” box where they rightfully belonged. This helps clean up the interconnection section of the map considerably. We have more work coming here this quarter to make the map experience even easier to use for companies with lots of interconnections.

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