Tech Field Day 26: ZPE Systems

I recently attended Tech Field Day 26, in Santa Clara, while we spent most of time with the Open Compute summit, and discussing CXL, we got to meet with hardware and software networking vendor, ZPE Systems. ZPE has a number of solutions in the edge and data center spaces that allow you to do secure network management and just as importantly automate large scale data center deployments.

In my opinion there are two main concerns with building out network automation—security and device accessibility. ZPE aims to mitigate both of these risks–with security, by building a secure ring around your infrastructure to limit direct exposure. This ring security model can apply to the OS, but in highly secured networks, access to a secured network boundary layer, can provide similar functionality, ZPE recommends a three ring model, with their hardware solution being the outer boundary. They provide support for multiple network providers as well as support for the latest continuous deployment and integration deployment patterns.

The real secret sauce to ZPE’s solution is that it integrates this automation with a central repository in their cloud service to support:

  1. Device (servers, network gear, storage) upgrades, setup, and patching
  2. Out-of-band access
  3. Access control
  4. Logging
  5. Monitoring

These configurations are all pushed from the centralized cloud data store. Conceptually, this is like a jump host, but way smarter, with a lot of connectors and support for automation process. ZPE showcased their Network Automation Blueprint seen on the slide above, which launches from their out of band devices.

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