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Discussing The Evolution Of Network Monitoring With OpenNMS Group CEO David Hustace

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OpenNMS Group is a 22-year-old organization that has been solving the network monitoring challenges for IT teams even before ‘cloud-native’ was a thing. Fast forward to 2022, the group remains ‘technology fresh’ and continues to leverage modern technologies like Kubernetes.

In this episode of TFiR Let’s Talk, Swapnil Bhartiya sits down with David Hustace, CEO and Founder of the OpenNMS Group, to discuss how network monitoring is evolving and how it is shaping their network monitoring solutions. He explains the key challenges they are facing in the network monitoring space and the importance of the open source community.

Key highlights from this video interview are:

  • Hustace explains that the three original founders including himself had come from a network monitoring background over 20 years ago originally delivering solutions to some of the biggest ISPs globally. He discusses how he got involved in OpenNMS and how this led to building a business around open source software. He shares insights into their first customer, a GE corporation rolling out their first MPLS global internet backbone.
  • The definition of network is broad and varies depending on who you talk to, from physical with hubs and routers to P2P connections, MPLS and SD-WAN. Hustace explains how networking is still just making connections for applications to communicate with each other across the network. He discusses how OpenNMS has had to be adaptable as networks have evolved.
  • Hustace believes that even though the landscape of networking has changed, they are still trying to solve the same problems. He explains why this has driven OpenNMS to stay still at the forefront of technology both within OpenNMS and with the technologies they are monitoring. He explains that they are currently building their technology around Kubernetes-based microservice architecture and what this is enabling them to do.
  • OpenNMS brings solutions to customers using network management software. They have worked with some of the biggest companies in the world who did not want a low-cost solution but rather to be able to take a solution and craft it to the company’s unique needs. Hustace discusses the benefits their customers get from OpenNMS taking care of the complex infrastructure.
  • Hustace shares insights into the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and how it was created with hundreds of RFCs specifying how monitoring would be done in the network and how today we have REST API. He discusses the key challenge of more advanced technologies is that it is difficult to scale them since they require dedicated connectivity connections and how UDP allows for scaling.
  • Hustace believes that the core of the network is shrinking and most of the network is being pushed out to the edge, including all the connectivity. Hustace explains how edge technology is a stateless piece of technology and the statelessness makes it easy to manage and friendly to Kubernetes environments. He goes into detail about the security aspects they are building into it to provide a highly secure environment.
  • Open source provides a testing ground for OpenNMS solutions which would otherwise be difficult to build in a lab and test at scale since it is not just one type of technology or solution. Hustace discusses the benefits of open source such as its collaborative nature, and the abundance of feedback that comes from the community, and the benefits it brings.

Connect with David Hustace (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Learn more about OpenNMS Group (Twitter)

The summary of the show is written by Emily Nicholls.

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