The Thrill of Business Travel

I, like many of you have friends that express awe at the fact that you are always on a plane and traveling to near and far away geographies, how exciting! However, as we can all attest, business travel is anything but. Yes, I believe I do remember the cab ride in London’s hackney carriages from the train station to a meeting, however I certainly didn’t ride on a double decker bus, see the palace, or the Queen. < or maybe Stonehedge instead>

I’ll have to hand it to the airline industry, though – in general things go very smoothly. However, there are those instances where they don’t. I had one of those experiences while recently flying into O’Hare for a ‘lock down meeting’ at the airport Hilton (I’m sure Chicago was someplace close by).

Leaving my home location in sunny weather, the air traffic controllers checked the localized view of other aircraft in the area, wind direction and speed, and then selected the best of a number of runways for our take off. Great! We had an unobstructed entrance into the friendly skies. Where as long as the pilot stays on the route, there is virtually no chance of needing to slow down or adjust course due to other traffic, i.e. comparative to the runway there is infinite space to fly in.

About half way to Chicago, things started not looking so good; the classic mid-western thunderstorms were moving across the plains. It wasn’t long before the pilot came on the speaker advising we would be circling, waiting for a ‘landing slot’ on one of the available runways. We circled and circled.. and finally at 11pm a decision to land at a regional airport to refuel! Wouldn’t it of  been sweet if before the air traffic controllers sent us on our merry way that they had taken into account the environmental factors at the destination and reserved a definite landing slot?

Well, obviously there are differences between flight plans and networks. However there are some notable similarities. When deploying Talari SD-WAN technology, not only is the best outbound link selected based on the policies defined for that application, (outbound runway) but additionally intelligence about the far end is transmitted to the sources about availability and characteristics of the target resources. Talari uses advanced analytics to ensure that packets take the best route, will actually reach their destination (have a landing slot) and will not be queued at the egress of the network (circling) – something that is a challenge for most solutions in the SD-WAN space. Without reservation, un-managed queues can build at the egress of the WAN (high speed->low speed, aka the friendly skies accessing O’hare) resulting in loss of QOS, allowing bulk traffic to precede real-time apps, and potential loss.

Now if only some of those ‘smarts’ could be applied to the airline industry! Check out the video by John Dickey, Talari’s CTO, on applying “groundstop” to networking.

Safe travels.

Categories: Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN)