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DIGESTING SEMANTIC INFORMATION ABOUT NETWORK FLOWS FOR VERIFICATION AND DEBUGGING THROUGH ANIMATED VISUALIZATION

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000249701D
Publication Date: 2017-Mar-22
Document File: 5 page(s) / 551K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Uffaz Nathaniel: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

A smart visualization provides the ability to visualize a flow via a "marching ants" scheme to indicate the path a packet traversed to reach its final destination. This animation is done by setting a timer and moving a dashed path along its axis by an offset to indicate movement. The visualization may help a user to debug a network.

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Copyright 2017 Cisco Systems, Inc. 1

DIGESTING SEMANTIC INFORMATION ABOUT NETWORK FLOWS FOR VERIFICATION AND DEBUGGING THROUGH ANIMATED VISUALIZATION

AUTHORS: Uffaz Nathaniel

Sujatha Balaraman

CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.

ABSTRACT

A smart visualization provides the ability to visualize a flow via a “marching ants”

scheme to indicate the path a packet traversed to reach its final destination. This animation

is done by setting a timer and moving a dashed path along its axis by an offset to indicate

movement. The visualization may help a user to debug a network.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Conventionally, when flows are created in the network, the flow path is either

determined by a hashing function on the switch or programmed by an external controller.

A user may wish to determine the path taken by a packet. Technologies are available that

list the path a packet is taking. However, because this information is represented in

unstructured data (mostly text-based CLI output), it is difficult for end users to

visualize/interpret/understand the path. Additionally, for flows created by an external

controller (e.g., in a professional media network (PMN) space) an end user may be

interested in determining which path is taken by a flow. There are a variety of reasons a

user may wish to determine the path taken by a packet, including ensuring that network

policies are observed or determining the top of rack switch to which a media device (e.g.,

microphone, camera, audiomixer, etc.) is connected. Furthermore, since controllers now

program the flows, a developer may verify exactly which path a flow takes. As a result,

this tool is absolutely paramount in a controller’s verification of its programming of the

flow.

This solution uses an animated “marching ant” scheme to show the direction taken

by the flow. This flow is either programmed by the controller or relies on the hashing

function of the switch. Information about the flow may be learned by running operations,

administration, and maintenance, or by asking the controller about the flow it programmed

Copyright 2017 Cisco Systems, Inc. 2

(i.e., the programmed flow (PF)). Output obtained from the switch is often unstructured.

Thus, PF data may be normalized before proceeding to the next step.

The drawing library may obtain the PF data and perform the following actions:

1. Set the link / inter-switch links rendering as a dashed line.

2. Using a set timer to trigger at certain internals, move/change the dashed line over time

to produce the illusion of movement.

Figures 1-4 below illustrate example smart visualizations. Figure 1 below illustrates

an example network.

Figure 1

Figures 2-4 below illustrate visualizations of first, second, and third flow paths,

respectively. Figures 2-4 are freeze frames, but in reality the dashed lines connecting the

network elements change over time so as to represent the movement of the first, second,

and third flow paths. For instance, the dashed lines...