Two of my daughters are twins, and they are energetic on the web, so they are arguably digital twins. Even so, this blog site will not be about them.

TLDR: Like other phrases that men and women can right away relate to, the term “digital twins” is acquiring a reasonable amount of press these days. As transpires in this sort of scenarios, advertising and marketing latches onto the hottest incredibly hot phrases, so there is some drift in accurately what indicates.

This web site will investigate some of the unique variants of (networking) electronic twins. The typical networking respond to applies: “it depends.”

What is effective for you as a network (or other) digital twin is dependent on your requirements and what you are hoping to do. So this is a circumstance the place the distinctive meanings are not just the end result of marketing and advertising striving to tie products and solutions into the very hot term, but in which there are different degrees of digital twinnage.

Why Electronic Twin?

Routing/switching technologies has gotten complicated, with “interesting” interactions in some cases producing difficulties. ACLs and safety just add to that.

The fundamental thought is to be in a position to product your genuine network in some vogue to validate proposed models or alterations to configurations. Preferably at a lot decreased value than with real lab components.

NetCraftsmen has identified modeling/lab do the job useful not too long ago with some consumers, deciding just why what the purchaser carried out has some challenges, and/or for testing improvements just before deploying them.

Foundation Scenario

The apparent variant of “digital twin” is exactly where you establish a test lab making use of actual tools that resembles some key element(s) of your network. That’s the high priced but substantial-fidelity technique.

If your community is significant sufficient, e.g. lifetime/wellness critical, having a serious lab could possibly be a excellent strategy. Backing it up with bigger modeling capability may also be valuable.

Prior Site: Digital Labs

The applications talked over in my LinkedIn site about Virtual Labs could be regarded electronic twins. The distinction manufactured there was involving fidelity in conditions of command plane vs . truly forwarding packets between digital units.

In specific, EVE-NG and CML-P use precise gadget photos so should really supply rather superior fidelity. Old code variations could possibly be an situation. Scaling could be an situation but adding compute (cloud? finances?) and employing the corporate variation of CML may possibly handle that. In conjunction with EVE/containers, I’ll also be aware Ivan Pepelnjak and others’ do the job with netsim-resources.

An additional instrument that relatively suits in in this article is batfish. Whilst it isn’t a digital lab for each se (it is a “configuration analysis tool”), I’m explained to its modeling can do a whole lot of valuable items with high accuracy – a weaker variety of electronic twinnage?

What is Distinctive with a Electronic Twin?

So, what are some of the differentiating aspects for network digital twins?

  • Scale, constraints
  • Protocol fidelity (seller variations on requirements, protocol stack behaviors).
  • Passing packets vs. protocol layer only
  • Load simulation, url failure or website link problems simulation
  • Precision down to the degree of seller, hardware system, line playing cards, and OS code variation. (Possibly WAY far too a great deal to hope for).
  • (Other areas I’m not imagining of appropriate now)


What else may possibly you want from a digital twin?

  • Correct scaling: capable to guidance adequately large versions and solution outcomes fairly quickly. And cost-effective cost.
  • Automated lab stand-up: probably start off with a single resource of truth of the matter like NetBox, and have scripts create the model. Or start out with discovery of section of the generation network and routinely make the design, perhaps picking which devices to include or omit.
  • Automated copy of configurations to product.
  • Seize of lab eventualities with automatic restoration of connectivity and configuration snapshots.
  • Synthetic automated connectivity and targeted visitors screening in between many points, with reporting of any connectivity challenges.
  • Diagram of topology, graphical entry to design factors.
  • Capability to examination automation scripts external to the model prior to use on generation gadgets.


Regarding scaling, I’ll notice that overly large designs can be counter-successful, and just increase price and eat your time.

As a aspect be aware, some of the CCIE coaching lessons strike me as heading way more than the prime in that regard (“my lab is even bigger than yours” syndrome?).

For example, it could make perception to product a main additionally 2-3 internet sites, probably omitting most or all site interior particulars if your concentrate is routing. If you’re modeling VXLAN, you likely would want a mini-material, say 2 backbone, 2 leaf, but far more spines and leaves is probably not going to increase price. And so on.

The one location whole scale could possibly be beneficial is if you want to model specific configuration variations, alternatively than trusting capability to correctly modify unit certain facts as needed to scale up a structure/change.

“Your mileage (of program) could fluctuate.”

Ivan Pepelnjak not long ago posted a terrific web site that amongst other items, touches on the several approaches in which a digital device’s behavior will most likely vary somewhat from what an genuine actual physical product does.

Some Other Digital Twin Products and solutions

I’ll record and briefly discuss some goods that possibly marketplace themselves as digital twins or could possibly be deemed electronic twins.

  • Forward Networks: https://www.forwardnetworks.com. Ahead Networks versions network forwarding and access list enforcement. It enables you to validate obtain list and firewall principles, and assists address “where did my flow get blocked.”
    • My open up concern about Ahead Networks is fidelity. What just do they design? They seemingly accumulate system configuration and probably other details (routing tables?) They evidently do bulk move tests versus actual network units, alternatively than modeling e.g. EIGRP or BGP routing per se. How accurate is that?
    • My guess is it is almost certainly good for tracking flows. Can it predict the consequences of routing protocol configuration alterations? Or is the routing and many others. forwarding far more static?
  • VeriFlow: VeriFlow was comparable to Forward Networks but with a various strategy to modeling product forwarding actions. It was acquired by VMware and grew to become a ingredient of VRNI. It is seemingly now being made use of for Network Assurance and Verification. I just cannot rapidly come across more specifics, it has been totally subsumed into VRNI. It is not distinct that modeling / electronic twin features is existing in VRNI, which appears to have a lot more of a troubleshooting emphasis. https://www.vmware.com/solutions/vrealize-network-perception.html
  • Nupsys: Nupsys seems to be to start with a network monitoring and visualization tool. Nonetheless, it evidently partners with and drives Cisco’s CML for modeling. https://www.nupsys.com


If you google look for “digital twin,” it turns into apparent that digital twin is probably substantial for modeling manufacturing, IOT, and processes. That is out of the scope of this site. I’ll involve just one entry to give you the flavor of the non-community digital twinning:

  • “Azure Digital Twins is an Online of Factors (IoT) platform that allows you to create a electronic illustration of actual-planet issues, destinations, organization processes, and persons. Get insights that aid you drive much better products and solutions, optimize operations and costs, and build breakthrough client experiences.” https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/products and services/digital-twins/


If your employer is average to substantial in sizing, you require a digital twin solution (and time to use it). The cost-justification circumstance to administration is currently being pro-active and validating adjustments prior to producing them.

A electronic twin lab answer could be helpful for several people to model alterations or new buildouts. A bodily lab may well then be made use of to validate modifications do not encounter hardware quirks or bugs, prior to actual deployment. There’s a charge vs . need trade-off lurking there.

If your employer is a consulting/products and services corporation, owning the means to product in a electronic twin may well be incredibly helpful. Consumers would have to authorize the price of consultants doing modeling, etc. Recovering the lab/electronic twin internet hosting fees could also be a consideration.


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