Karl Newell Presents on Network Automation and Orchestration at Upcoming NSO Developer Days U.S.

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By Sara Aly, Internet2 Communications Manager

Karl Newell, network software architect, is giving a keynote address on Internet2’s automation journey at the upcoming NSO Developer Days U.S., being held virtually December 16th from 9 to 11 a.m. PT. In this Q&A, Karl discusses how automation, orchestration, and telemetry are shaping the research and education networks of tomorrow.

Internet2's Karl Newell speaks at the 2019 Technology Exchange
Internet2’s Karl Newell speaks at the 2019 Technology Exchange in New Orleans

Tell us more about yourself and your role at Internet2. 

I have worked in the research and higher education community for more than 20 years. Before joining Internet2 five years ago as a cyberinfrastructure security engineer, I worked at The University of Arizona across the fields of system administration and network engineering. 

Currently I am a network software architect and part of the Infrastructure Systems & Software team in the Network Services division of Internet2. My main focus is developing network service models for Cisco’s Network Services Orchestrator (NSO), and planning the software and automation tooling needs for the upcoming Next Generation Infrastructure program’s network migration to the Cisco 8200 platform.

In your opinion, why has the interest in network orchestration grown from the research and higher education community? 

There are two primary drivers for the increased interest in network orchestration and they are automation and cloud access. As engineering teams implement more automation across state, regional, and national research and education networks, we are realizing the increased capabilities that come with automation, and the possibilities to do more than simply automate configuration. 

We can, for example, expand those efforts to orchestrate services that span our networks and devices, and even orchestrate services across organizations. At the 2019 Internet2 Technology Exchange, Cisco’s Mike Kowal and I presented a demo on the latter capability, where we developed a proof of concept that leveraged a hierarchy of NSO instances to orchestrate a Layer 3 VPN that crossed three organizations.

We’re also seeing campuses continue to rapidly adopt cloud strategies that support their faculty and researchers’ work. This requires campus network engineers to find efficient ways to provision resources across the network infrastructure and get access for their stakeholders quickly and securely from the campus to the cloud. That is why more campuses are needing rapid provisioning of network services to the cloud, and this is possible with network orchestration and implementing solutions like Cisco NSO. 

Automation, orchestration, and telemetry are big drivers for the Internet2 Next Generation Infrastructure (NGI) program. What are some examples of the new functionalities that Internet2 members can expect when the NGI program is completed?

Internet2 currently provides circuit provisioning via OESS (Open Exchange Software Suite) with access to the cloud being a core functionality. We will continue to support those capabilities and start to add additional functionality to allow members to provision, modify, and monitor more of their services. 

Our long-term goal is to push service provisioning and administration as close to the edge as possible. This approach aims to eliminate the implementation of service barriers, telemetry barriers, and operational barriers that often make it difficult to stitch together a complicated federation of networks across the R&E community. We will be working with the NAOPpag Software & Automation subcommittee as we transition to more member-facing work in 2021.  

Additionally, we are upgrading the Performance Assurance Service by either installing or upgrading perfSONAR nodes at every point of presence. The goal is to ensure that these nodes have the ability to support community testing and measurement.

What are you looking forward to the most during the NSO Developer Days U.S.? 

I am looking forward to a great community event and the opportunity to engage with colleagues. The Internet2 community is made up of higher education institutions, government agencies, and regional and state education networks, all working together to solve technology challenges and develop innovative solutions. Cisco has an equally vibrant and collaborative developer community. I’m excited to see the new features coming to NSO and how others are leveraging these capabilities. I’m also looking forward to hearing from the audience throughout the conference and, specifically, during the Q&A session following my presentation.

Learn about Internet2’s automation journey and the selection of Cisco’s NSO for the NGI program during #NSODevDays on Wednesday, December 16. Register now for the free event.

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