Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Trevor Parsons, Michael Jannery, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: SDN Journal

SDN Journal: Blog Feed Post

Event-Driven Platforms Critical for Next-Gen Network

Node.js is an excellent choice for DevOps tools

I recently stumbled across an article discussing node.js and devops in the same breath. Yes, I was in heaven, why do you ask?

In any case, the article notes two primary reasons why node.js is an excellent choice for devops tools:

Node.js has a couple distinct advantages for infrastructure maintenance:

1. It has a small footprint
2. The event-based nature of Node.js helps keep servers from getting bogged down handling time consuming tasks.

-- Why So Many DevOps Tools are Written in Node.js

While I'm not discounting the value of the first point, I think the second is much more important not just to devops but to the data center (and in particular management of) in general, especially given the trend toward centralized management planes across the entire network stack (think SDN).

The funny thing is that if you take a step back and look at DevOps and SDN you'll see that we've had this discussion under the Infrastructure 2.0 umbrella in the past. One of the core components of the idea of Infrastructure 2.0 (which is really the pre-cursor to SDN, if not its parent) was that some centralized controller (sound familiar?), mediator, whatever you want to call it, would be responsible for accepting and distributing events across the network infrastructure stack. It grew out of concerns around IPAM (IP Address Management) and the increasingly volatile rate of change occurring there thanks to virtualization and cloud computing.

But these controllers would be software, necessarily, and thus concerns regarding scalability and performance quickly become a sticking point. It should be no surprise that one of the primary arguments against OpenFlow-enabled architectures is that the controller does not scale or ultimately perform well. Clustering is an attempt to address both issues in large-scale networks, but this is just rehashing the same "how do we scale web applications" that's been going on since the dot com era began.

BLOCKING versus NON-BLOCKING. SYNC versus ASYNC.

That's because traditional models of development were thread-based, synchronous and ultimately blocking. Modern scalable frameworks are non-blocking and support asynchronous modes. The modern non-blocking, asynchronous model is geared toward long sessions with intermittent communication between client and server. Which is exactly the kind of model laid out to support a more dynamic, event-driven network architecture. Network components need to know right now when an event happens, but they can't waste cycles opening and closing connections to "check" every x-seconds. That mode of operation doesn't scale and the overhead from TCP session management on both the component and the server would be devastating.

So asynchronous, high-capacity is what's necessary and node.js fulfills those requirements.

Can you write async, non-blocking servers in other languages and on other platforms? Yes. Java and Erlang and a variety of other languages have frameworks that support such a model. But they are ultimately still encumbered by the underlying platform (application server). The impact on performance and scale still exists, albeit it occurs at a much higher threshold than traditional applications.

Node.js eliminates the platform impact, thus providing DevOps (and developers, for that matter) with a high-capacity, high-performing, highly programmable platform upon which to deploy... well, whatever they want. And because so many devops-related tasks that need to be automated are driven by events (provision, launch, shut-down, add, remove, stop, start) it starts to make a lot of sense to look at node as a platform for DevOps upon which they can build tools. (Etsy has a great blog on the use of node.js for devops tools, if you're interested)

The gravitational pull toward node.js is, likely, because it is inherently event-driven. It isn't that you can do event-driven, it is. That's it. With Java you can write event-driven daemons, yes, but it's not the primary model for Java (or its underlying platforms) and it takes more work than writing a traditional application.

The network (and by "network" I mean the whole stack from L2 to L7) is driven by events - packet in, packet out, connection made, response received, IP address assigned, IP address released - and thus a lightweight, highly scalable event-driven framework fits naturally as a platform upon which to build tools that help manage the network.

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial C...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
"SOASTA built the concept of cloud testing in 2008. It's grown from rather meager beginnings to where now we are provisioning hundreds of thousands of servers on a daily basis on behalf of customers around the world to test their applications," explained Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. ...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what th...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness,...
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science f...
“The year of the cloud – we have no idea when it's really happening but we think it's happening now. For those technology providers like Zentera that are helping enterprises move to the cloud - it's been fun to watch," noted Mike Loftus, VP Product Management and Marketing at Zentera Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, ...
OneCloud Software has launched the OneCloud Partner Program. Responding to demand from prospective partners, the Program offers managed service providers (MSPs) and resellers the resources they need to grow their business with the OneCloud Recovery solution. OneCloud Recovery is an automated solution for disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC), which leverages Amazon Web Services as the disaster recovery site. “This is a tremendous opportunity with an innovative hybrid cloud-based DR pro...
Cloud Technology Partners on Wednesday announced it has been recognized by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards as one of the Best Amazon Web Services (AWS) Consulting Partners. Selected by the editors of TechTarget's SearchDataCenter.com, and by votes from customers and strategic channel partners, the companies acknowledged by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards represent the top providers of cloud consulting services for AWS including application migration, application development, inf...
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, John Meza, Product Engineer at Esri, showed how Esri products hook into Hadoop cluster to allow you to do spatial analysis on the spatial data within your cluster, and he demonstrated rendering from a data center with ArcGIS Pro, a new product that has a brand new rendering engine.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your onlin...
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore's Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at Big Data Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, disc...
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by minin...