Three times a year, members of the North American Network Operators’ Group (NANOG) gather in North America. This February in Atlanta, NetActuate’s Director of Global Networking Kate Gerry (and the inimitable #datacenterdog) joined fellow network and infrastructure technologists to discuss the latest innovations and most urgent challenges.

Kicking Off with a Database-Focused Hackathon

NANOG started off with its traditional Sunday Hackathon. Teams and individuals worked on a wide range of one-day code projects, focused on the theme of “Interacting With Sources of Truth.” Participants were invited to develop a feature, fix a bug for an open source solution, or get creative, so long as the project interacted with a source of truth, whether it is a single database or a collection of correlated data from multiple sources. The Hackathon isn’t competitive, the winner is determined by raffle, and this year’s winner was Nick Bogle.

Discussions Abound on Network Innovation and Resiliency

The rest of the three-day event was filled with keynotes, discussions, games and more. The first keynote was by Comcast’s Chief Networking Officer, Elad Nafshi. He spoke about the evolution of 10G network technologies and the impact it will have on next-generation connected experiences.

In another talk, Agustín Speziale discussed the impact of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the internet. A massive surge in internet usage happened as people around the world streamed one of the world’s most popular sporting events. This ultimately led to service issues and “hiccups” for some areas. Agustín talked about the ways North American providers could (and should) proactively prepare for the next World Cup, which will be held in North America.

Automation, Jeopardy, and BGP Zombies Round Out the Event

The rest of the conference was filled with great panel discussions on a range of topics from automation to BGP zombies. One panel, moderated by Cat Gurinski, was a “showdown” of network automation tools such as Ansible, Puppet, Salt, Kubernetes, Nornir, Netlike, and Netpalm. 

Another discussion focused on personal rather than physical networks. It was a look at the changing job market, and how to leverage your interpersonal contacts to land a new role, especially if you’ve been impacted by layoffs. This highly relevant, informative discussion was presented by Stanford University Professor Mark Granovetter and Caron Hummer, Chief People Officer at the Internet Tool & Die Company.

Panels on the governance of both the internet and NANOG were also held during this NANOG. Lefteris Manassakis of Code BGP spoke about BGP Zombies, raising awareness of this phenomenon. He discussed how monitoring platforms can develop mechanisms for identifying and labeling those particular routes as zombies. 

However, the absolute highlight of the event was the Network Engineering Jeopardy panel moderated by Charles Rumford, that featured three industry leaders answering questions put to them. The game included a fun, yet challenging category called “Name that ASN,” where every answer was in the form of an ASN. You can see how many questions you’ll get right at the link below.

Kate Joins a Committee (or Two!)

We are also thrilled to announce that Kate was nominated for and joined NANOG’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, as well as the Program Committee. She will be helping to oversee programming for upcoming NANOG gatherings, as well as actively supporting efforts to further diversity and acceptance within the greater NANOG community.

Kate and Data Center Dog at NANOG 87

For a fun look back, you can check out NANOG’s recap video (and take a sneak peek at Kate and Data Center Dog at 3:12)

Overall, NANOG 87 was a great conference, and it was a wonderful opportunity to meet other professionals in the industry and learn about the latest advancements in networking. You can engage in and learn from fascinating discussions about network automation, internet governance, and BGP routing. NANOG is an excellent platform for keeping up with the latest trends in networking, and we would highly recommend it to anyone in the industry.