The Elevate the EXA8 Challenge has concluded and after much careful consideration we have arrived at an interesting and unexpected conclusion. We, in fact, have two winners in the contest and those honors go to Srivats P and Michele Campus!
We want to take a moment to highlight these two as well as their work:
Srivats is the solo founder, developer, and maintainer of the open-source Ostinato packet generator. Ostinato is an open-source, cross-platform traffic generator based on libpcap. He started work on Ostinato in 2007 when he was unable to afford expensive commercial traffic generator solutions and found that no affordable alternatives existed. Therefore, he decided to create one and release it as open-source software. The first public release was in 2010 and the project reached its official 1.0 release in 2019. The most recent release, as of this writing, is version 1.1 and was released in June 2020. Srivats saw the EXA8 as an opportunity to create a feature-rich, traffic-generating hardware appliance. His contest entry transformed the EXA8 into a centralized packet generation device for a network. Users can craft individual packets and traffic streams through the locally hosted Web UI to test how network devices will handle a multitude of protocols and traffic speeds. A Python API offers automation capabilities, while an experimental web client has been developed specifically for the EXA8 project to offer remote control of the device. Furthermore, the port density of the EXA8 allows a user to test multiple devices concurrently or enables multiple users shared access to the same traffic generator.
In his day job, at various leading networking vendors, he has developed L2/L3 data plane software for a wide range of devices from small home routers to access DSLAMs to edge and core Internet routers over a career spanning more than 20 years. He is a regular long-distance runner and tickles the piano keys or the guitar strings when inspiration strikes.
You can follow Srivats at his blog: https://srivatsp.com
As well as on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pstavirs
For more information on Ostinato visit: https://ostinato.org/
For a link to Srivats’ project visit GitHub: https://github.com/pstavirs/elevate-the-exa8
Michele Campus received his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at the University of Pisa in Italy and currently resides in Amsterdam. He is focused in Networking and Developing in the C programming language with a passion for dissecting network protocols. He has also started investigating GO, Lua, as well as becoming more immersed in Cyber-Security. Michele spent two years working with the Ntop team, developing his skills to further develop dissectors for nDPI, Ntop’s deep packet inspection library. This is a focus he would maintain into the present, contributing to Peafowl development (a High-performance DPI library), working on a personal DPI open source project, and into his present position at QXIP where he develops dissectors for VoIP/RTP protocols, as well as SSL/TLS protocols, in addition, VXLAN and Web Socket parsing and packet statistics.
Motivated by a desire to bring Deep Packet Inspection and protocol analysis to the EXA8, he set his sights on bringing the TICK stack, along with the latest releases of NTOPng and nDPI, to the ARM64 platform. The TICK Stack (comprised of Telegraf, InfluxDB, Chronograf, and Kapacitor) is a collection of open-source components that, together, make it possible to store and visualize time-series data. nDPI is the Deep Packet Inspection library used by NTOPng to inspect L7 traffic and determine the protocol in use (instead of relying on L4 header information). Prior to Michele’s efforts, there were no native ARM64 packages for the TICK stack, or for the latest release of NTOPng. Now, not only is there a native upgrade to NTOPng 4 and its powerful new feature set, but the addition of the TICK stack to the ARM64 architecture provides a powerful resource for a multitude of applications that leverage time-series databases.
You can follow Michele on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/kyrol
Check out Michele’s work on GitHub: https://github.com/QXIP/EXA8/wiki/EXA8-NTOPNG-TICK-Stack
To learn more about NTOPng 4 visit: https://www.ntop.org/products/traffic-analysis/ntop/
For more information on the TICK stack see: https://www.influxdata.com/time-series-platform/