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Distrix gateway

Assisting networking on the battle ground.

Client

Distrix

Year

2016

Distrix makes connecting devices and networks easy. Based in Canada they supply Software Defined Networking (SDN) nodes to clients around the globe including the US Department of Defence to secure everything from military bases to Predator drones.

The Challenge

Being a strongly engineering led company they had a rudimentary UI interface built on top of their command line interface (CLI). Unfortunately it was difficult to navigate, hard to understand and did not visualise the network in an easy to see manner.

With such a complex solution that involved dozens of configuration options we knew that we would have to dive into their deep tech to extract what was important to configure and what could be safely tucked away under “advanced” options.

Additionally, the product was to be OEM’ed (badged and sold by others) so we needed a certain amount of flexibility in the UI branding and colour styles to allow for simple theme changes depending on their clients.

Solution

We setup our own private network of nodes on Raspberry Pi’s as well as virtual Linux machines running on our Mac’s to create a highly complex SDN to play with. This allowed us to experience all the complexity of the system as well as understand a myriad of customer use cases.

From there we crafted out all the user journeys and the complex configurations that they needed to setup and organised these into a number of smart wizards that would take us through what was critical to setup and what was optional.

We built the new frontend using React with amazing charting, drag and drop topology layout and dashboards and also re-defined their API architecture to suit a modern REST style. By using API mockups (Swagger) we could continue development of the frontend while they re-implemented the API in the C language for their embedded software.

Results

Overall the client ended up with a stunning new Web portal to configure and control their distributed routing network. It provided simple click and configure for a variety of devices and make the installation and maintenance of their network more robust, secure and faster.