Click here to close now.

Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Lori MacVittie, Carmen Gonzalez, Michael Jannery, Mat Mathews

Related Topics: SDN Journal, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, Big Data Journal, DevOps Journal

SDN Journal: Blog Feed Post

When Programmability Extends Beyond the Platform

A programmable platform should be more than just lipstick on a CLI

The term programmability is, like every other term associated with hype-driven trends, used to describe a wide range of capabilities. In general, when applied to "the network", programmability implies one of two things: an API through which a network element can be configured and managed and/or a scripting mechanism that enables direct interaction with the data path.

These two aspects of programmability provide integration between data center elements (control plane) as well as enabling extensibility through the creation of new services on the platform (data plane). But they don't speak to a third capability - the invocation of external services as a reaction to some data center event.

For example, a data center "event" might be the depletion of capacity in the face of high demand. Elasticity (the automatic scaling up and down of a service or application) demands action be taken. That action, ideally, is automated. The overall system should understand when capacity limits are about to be breached (both in the upward and downward direction) and be able to take the appropriate action - provision additional capacity or decommission capacity.

Most "network" elements are not capable of taking this action directly. Load balancing platforms for the most part are the first service to recognize a need to change capacity, but are rarely able to take action other than sharing that information with an external system. For most load balancing platforms that's because they lack the programmability necessary to do so. They may be programmatic at the control plane and even on the data plane, but they are not imbued with the ability to execute logic on an event-driven basis.

Platforms that are so imbued (and they do exist) are able to do so.

Let me illustrate...

The vCloud API Programming Guide has a robust set of interfaces through which a vAPP (which in VMware jargon describes a complete "application") can be managed. You can, through this API, power on (provision, launch, etc...) and shutdown (decommission, power off, etc...) a given vAPP. A programmable platform can leverage those APIs to enable rapid elasticity.

HERE COMES the (COMPUTER) SCIENCE
Interestingly, a scalable application consists of at least two things: a load balancing service and a pool of application resources. How far you can take that to implement actual elasticity depends entirely on the availability of APIs through which you can manage application instances (virtual machines) and the programmability of the platform upon which the load balancing service is deployed.

Assuming you have what you need, your environment looks something like this:

capacity-limits-reached

Health monitoring enables the service platform to know when there's a problem, that's critical for high-availability. The platform also understands the capacity limits of each virtual instance. Now, let's say demand is suddenly spiking (the source is irrelevant). Given the strategic location of the service platform, it is the first system in the data center able to recognize that capacity limits are about to be breached.

The question is, what does the service platform do about that?

Well, in most systems it's just going to share that information with an external orchestration/management platform. In most cases, in fact, it's going to share it passively; that is, the information won't reach the management platform until the management platform asks for it. It's a polling system, not a proactive push from the service platform.

That means that it's possible that capacity will be reached and users will start experiencing delays or even time-outs before the management platform even knows there's a problem.

In order to realize elasticity that actually ensures high-availability and responsiveness of applications, we need something more proactive. The service platform must participate either by pushing a capacity reached notification to the management platform or, if it's able to, simply instructing the management platform to provision the additional resources necessary to ensure capacity is expanded before limits are breached.

capacity-limits-expanded

This requires that the service platform is not only programmable at the control and data path planes, but also at the configuration layer. It must be able to not only recognize a breach of thresholds but then act on that breach. In this case, acting means initiating a process that will result in the provisioning of additional resources required to ensure continued availability and performance. As demand wanes, another threshold can trigger a reverse process in which an instance is decommissioned*.

Now, you can certainly design your data center in myriad ways to deal with elasticity and availability. If you've got the right service platform - one that's programmable in more than just the traditional two-pronged approach - then you've got another option available to you. An option that's more proactive and leverages what is an existing strategic point of control in your network architecture.

* Provisioning is easier and less complex than decommissioning, as the latter requires careful attention to existing connections and essentially means the load balancing service must manage the process of stopping new connections while maintaining existing ones until users complete their session (quiescence).

Read the original blog entry...

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.

@CloudExpo Stories
The speed of product development has increased massively in the past 10 years. At the same time our formal secure development and SDL methodologies have fallen behind. This forces product developers to choose between rapid release times and security. In his session at DevOps Summit, Michael Murray, Director of Cyber Security Consulting and Assessment at GE Healthcare, examined the problems and presented some solutions for moving security into the DevOps lifecycle to ensure that we get fast AND ...
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing ...
Docker is becoming very popular--we are seeing every major private and public cloud vendor racing to adopt it. It promises portability and interoperability, and is quickly becoming the currency of the Cloud. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bart Copeland, CEO of ActiveState, discussed why Docker is so important to the future of the cloud, but will also take a step back and show that Docker is actually only one piece of the puzzle. Copeland will outline the bigger picture of where Docker fits a...
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. ...
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS soluti...
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and ex...
In his session at DevOps Summit, Tapabrata Pal, Director of Enterprise Architecture at Capital One, will tell a story about how Capital One has embraced Agile and DevOps Security practices across the Enterprise – driven by Enterprise Architecture; bringing in Development, Operations and Information Security organizations together. Capital Ones DevOpsSec practice is based upon three "pillars" – Shift-Left, Automate Everything, Dashboard Everything. Within about three years, from 100% waterfall, C...
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize sup...
Even as cloud and managed services grow increasingly central to business strategy and performance, challenges remain. The biggest sticking point for companies seeking to capitalize on the cloud is data security. Keeping data safe is an issue in any computing environment, and it has been a focus since the earliest days of the cloud revolution. Understandably so: a lot can go wrong when you allow valuable information to live outside the firewall. Recent revelations about government snooping, along...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures...
Business and IT leaders today need better application delivery capabilities to support critical new innovation. But how often do you hear objections to improving application delivery like, “I can harden it against attack, but not on this timeline”; “I can make it better, but it will cost more”; “I can deliver faster, but not with these specs”; or “I can stay strong on cost control, but quality will suffer”? In the new application economy, these tradeoffs are no longer acceptable. Customers will ...
Red Hat has launched the Red Hat Cloud Innovation Practice, a new global team of experts that will assist companies with more quickly on-ramping to the cloud. They will do this by providing solutions and services such as validated designs with reference architectures and agile methodology consulting, training, and support. The Red Hat Cloud Innovation Practice is born out of the integration of technology and engineering expertise gained through the company’s 2014 acquisitions of leading Ceph s...
The free version of KEMP Technologies' LoadMaster™ application load balancer is now available for unlimited use, making it easy for IT developers and open source technology users to benefit from all the features of a full commercial-grade product at no cost. It can be downloaded at FreeLoadBalancer.com. Load balancing, security and traffic optimization are all key enablers for application performance and functionality. Without these, application services will not perform as expected or have the...
As organizations shift toward IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection &E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Partnerships, will disc...
VictorOps is making on-call suck less with the only collaborative alert management platform on the market. With easy on-call scheduling management, a real-time incident timeline that gives you contextual relevance around your alerts and powerful reporting features that make post-mortems more effective, VictorOps helps your IT/DevOps team solve problems faster.
Skytap Inc., has appointed David Frost as vice president of professional services. David joins Skytap from Deloitte Consulting where he served as Managing Director leading SAP, Cloud, and Advanced Technology Services. At Skytap, David will head the company's professional services organization, and spearhead a new consulting practice that will guide IT organizations through the adoption of DevOps best practices. David's appointment comes on the heels of Skytap's recent $35 million Series D fundin...
Cloud data governance was previously an avoided function when cloud deployments were relatively small. With the rapid adoption in public cloud – both rogue and sanctioned, it’s not uncommon to find regulated data dumped into public cloud and unprotected. This is why enterprises and cloud providers alike need to embrace a cloud data governance function and map policies, processes and technology controls accordingly. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance...
There are many considerations when moving applications from on-premise to cloud. It is critical to understand the benefits and also challenges of this migration. A successful migration will result in lower Total Cost of Ownership, yet offer the same or higher level of robustness. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Meiner, an Engineering Director at Oracle, Corporation, will analyze a range of cloud offerings (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) and discuss the benefits/challenges of migrating to each of...
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is a technology designed to make DevOps easier and allow developers to focus on application development. The PaaS takes care of provisioning, scaling, HA, and other cloud management aspects. Apache Stratos is a PaaS codebase developed in Apache and designed to create a highly productive developer environment while also supporting powerful deployment options. Integration with the Docker platform, CoreOS Linux distribution, and Kubernetes container management system ...
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, will discuss why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices ra...