Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: John Walsh, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Sven Olav Lund, Simon Hill

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo

SDN Journal: Blog Feed Post

Integration Across Shared Control Planes

The SDN winds seem to be blowing more towards loosely coupled systems

If the future of federated controllers is based on service layering, then how do multiple controllers manage the same device? Is there a requirement for state synchronization? Do they share information about device operation or configuration? Is there a need for controllers that are managing different aspects of the same device to be coordinated in what they do?

As with anything worth asking, the answer is: it depends. It is certainly the case that in a tiered controller architecture where one controller is managing things like basic configuration and another controller is working higher up the stack (managing a service, for instance), there is not a need to keep high fidelity replications of state across both controllers. Specific configuration information that might be important to the lower-level controller can likely be spared from the services controllers. In the cases that the services controller needs to know things like configuration state (it might be required to know VLAN provisioning, for instance), the services controller can likely query the device to get the state.

In this model, the device itself becomes the synchronization point. It serves, to some extent, as a state storage mechanism. And when the higher-level controller needs state, it can query the actual device to get it.

But does this mean that controllers do not need to interoperate at all?

Here, the answer is less clear. It seems that if multiple controllers are managing a device in support of the same set of applications, they ought to at least have the same view of the application requirements. This begs less for explicit state synchronization and more for a common understanding of the applications and services that run atop the network. For this to be possible, there has to be a common application abstraction that, even if not shared, is known by both controllers.

Controllers with different (or worse, competing) views of application requirements might not be able to work together. There could be situations where contention arises. In those cases, which controller gets precedence? If we follow networking best practice in other areas, the local (or lowest level) controller would drive behavior in these situations. But that could compromise higher-level applications and services.

Instead, we ought to consider a model where there is a common application or service abstraction that is learned by the controllers. It is less important whether these are independently learned or if they are shared from one controller to another. But having a common view of application SLAs makes it at least possible to take action against one without contradicting another.

But once the application requirements are known, how is activity between the controllers orchestrated?

To see Plexxi’s integration with OpenDaylight, tune into the March 14 live demonstration on SDNCentral. For full details, check out the event registration page.

There need not necessarily be a tight integration between the controllers. It is likely sufficient that data be shared. This begs for a data sharing scheme. That data sharing can be tightly integrated (as with a tightly integrated vertical stack), or it can be loosely integrated to allow different components to work together. Either one is a valid approach.

The SDN winds seem to be blowing more towards loosely coupled systems. The fear in tightly coupled solutions is that individual components are not as easily replaced should a customer want to swap one thing out for another. If this trend holds, it means that controller work that is ongoing will need to add some basic data sharing capabilities. When I say data sharing here, I don’t necessarily mean to limit it to a common data model that is driving the entire system. That is absolutely needed, but there will be additional data that needs to be shared that might not make sense in a central data model.

Imagine that something changes in the physical or even virtual topology – a link goes down, a new device is added, a MAC or VM moves. We might not want to store full topological information centrally. And even if we want to store all of that centrally, the problem becomes state synchronization (a difficult problem to solve in distributed systems). It should be possible to send information from whichever node has data to other nodes that want that data.

There is no assumption here that all data is relevant to all nodes. In a network setting, this might be less important, but if orchestration is expected to be across the whole of IT infrastructure (compute, storage, applications, and networking), then the types of information that are relevant will vary wildly from device type to device type. We need a lightweight means of sharing the relevant bits of information in real time so the systems can adjust.

Again, this all has to be in support of some overarching imperative – the application or service. It seems likely that higher level abstractions end up providing guide rails between which the rest of the infrastructure must operate. And then individual, semiautonomous (or even completely autonomous) systems can operate within those guide rails.

From a Plexxi perspective, this is why we are so keen to contribute an abstraction model to OpenDaylight. We believe that the abstractions must exist, and that they must be sharable across infrastructure but also across controllers. They provide a single source of intent. But beyond that, we fundamentally believe that there must be a means of sharing finer-grain data between elements operating in cahoots in service of that larger objective.

Whatever the eventual outcome, any communications methods need to be sharable and transferable across devices and vendors. The role of open source in networking (and IT in general) is critical to making sure everything can work together. Isolated islands in an SDN world largely defeats the purpose of a distributed, coordinated, and orchestrated environment.

[Today’s fun fact:  A quarter has 119 grooves on its edge, a dime has one less groove. Somehow I don’t think this is what they were talking about when Stella got her mysterious groove back.]

The post Integration across shared control planes appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

@CloudExpo Stories
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Vulnerability management is vital for large companies that need to secure containers across thousands of hosts, but many struggle to understand how exposed they are when they discover a new high security vulnerability. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, John Morello, CTO of Twistlock, addressed this pressing concern by introducing the concept of the “Vulnerability Risk Tree API,” which brings all the data together in a simple REST endpoint, allowing companies to easily grasp the severity of the ...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.