Click here to close now.

Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Lori MacVittie, Carmen Gonzalez, Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan, Aria Blog

Blog Feed Post

On Uber and IT Infrastructure

Uber is doing their part to disrupt an industry that hasn’t seen much innovation in decades. And for cities whose public transportation is only moderately effective, the change cannot come fast enough. But what is Uber actually providing? And based on that, what are they competing for?

With any ride service, the temptation is to think of the business primarily as shuttling people to and fro. Accordingly, people building out this type of business have focused on adding ride capacity. For cab companies, this meant adding additional vehicles. Cab drivers are basically renting the cabs from the owners. For cab companies, the business more closely approximates property rental than anything else. And given the wages for drivers and the general way they are treated, it is probably not a surprise that cab owners have a reputation not unlike slumlords.

So you take an industry that is generally reviled in many major cities (New York stands out as an exception here) and you fail to really evolve the business model for decades, and you end up with something that is ripe for disruption.

Enter Uber. But what is Uber really doing?

They aren’t going out and buying a fleet of cars like the cab companies and black car services that have cropped up. Uber is really not about transportation. What they have done is create a clever way to identify available capacity in the system, and then deploy that capacity as needed.

If you look at where Uber is most successful, it is in cities where cab service is dreadful. By dreadful, I mean that it is difficult to get a cab in a timely fashion. Take San Francisco, for instance. Getting a cab in SF can be nigh impossible. Even when you call central dispatchers, wait times can be atrocious. And if you are trying to use a cab on a high-volume night, you are better off packing some comfortable shoes and hoofing it around the city. For San Francisco, Uber represents a painless way to get just-in-time delivery of a ride service.

Because Uber’s business is around discovery and redeployment of capacity, the real competition for Uber is not for fares. To scale their business, they need access to more fluid ride capacity. The more capacity they have in the system, the better their deployment service. They can extend their reach and shorten the time-to-wait for a ride service. This means that the real fight Uber needs to win is the one for drivers. It’s not the cab companies so much as the other ride sharing services (like Lyft) that threaten to cap Uber’s ability to add additional capacity.

So what does this have to do with IT infrastructure?

IT infrastructure generally (and data centers in particular) are about providing resources to satisfy application or tenant workload requirements. The capacity required takes three general forms: compute, storage, and networking. The objective is not merely providing some aggregate capacity but rather pairing that capacity with a specific demand. And as cloud continues to grow, it is increasingly about providing just-in-time delivery of that capacity.

On the compute and storage side, we have solved a big part of this challenge. Virtualization essentially frees up compute resources, which means that application workloads can be satisfied as-needed through application portability. If you need additional horsepower, you launch a new application instance on a VM that resides on some server with capacity to give. In this context, the dispatching of available capacity is moving the application workload to a server. And tools like DRS allow for the definition of resource pools that can then be allocated as needed.

But what about the networking side?

To date, the networking world has evolved in much the same way as the cab companies. The game has always been about adding addition cabs to the fleet (more capacity to the network). And while we can use monitoring tools to determine where capacity is not being fully utilized, there is no simple means of dispatching that capacity to where it is needed. Additionally, even the tools we have to shape paths are not particularly well-suited for providing just-in-time capacity.

There is an opportunity in the networking space to move in this direction. SDN as a movement provides a couple of tools that are architecturally necessary if this is to become a reality. A central controller is a logical way to locate available capacity. With a global view of the network as a resource, the controller is in a unique position to see how the physical transport is actually being used.

But imagine using Uber if it only told you where the available cars were but could not dispatch them to you. Without performing both actions – locating and dispatching – the service is incomplete. So it is in networking. Knowing where capacity resides is interesting but not terribly useful. The network needs the ability to dispatch that capacity to suit the applications. And one final point, whether dispatching occurs in the moment or at a scheduled time is dependent on the needs of the customers (applications or tenants, in this case).

Ultimately, what Uber is doing is actually quite impressive. But there is subtlety in the strategy and the innovation. The whole of IT might be able to learn a bit from Uber’s creativity.

[Today’s fun fact: A hippo can open its mouth wide enough to fit a 4 foot tall child inside. Some facts are just cool on their own.]

The post On Uber and IT Infrastructure 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
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...
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...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add sc...
Data-intensive companies that strive to gain insights from data using Big Data analytics tools can gain tremendous competitive advantage by deploying data-centric storage. Organizations generate large volumes of data, the vast majority of which is unstructured. As the volume and velocity of this unstructured data increases, the costs, risks and usability challenges associated with managing the unstructured data (regardless of file type, size or device) increases simultaneously, including end-to-...
The excitement around the possibilities enabled by Big Data is being tempered by the daunting task of feeding the analytics engines with high quality data on a continuous basis. As the once distinct fields of data integration and data management increasingly converge, cloud-based data solutions providers have emerged that can buffer your organization from the complexities of this continuous data cleansing and management so that you’re free to focus on the end goal: actionable insight.
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by your analysts and designers, and the resulting application built by your developers, there is a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral out of control, and applications fall short of requirements. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a new approach where business and development users collaborate – each using tools appropriate to their goals and expertise – to build mo...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to mak...
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics arc...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applicatio...
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.
Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, had reached 30,000 page views on his home page - http://RobertoMedrano.SYS-CON.com/ - on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, Internet of Things Journal, Big Data Journal, and SOA World Magazine. He is a recognized executive in the information technology fields of SOA, internet security, governance, and compliance. He has extensive experience with both start-ups and large companies, having been ...
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...
Companies today struggle to manage the types and volume of data their customers and employees generate and use every day. With billions of requests daily, operational consistency can be elusive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Dave McCrory, CTO at Basho Technologies, will explore how a distributed systems solution, such as NoSQL, can give organizations the consistency and availability necessary to succeed with on-demand data, offering high availability at massive scale.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, de...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focu...
Security can create serious friction for DevOps processes. We've come up with an approach to alleviate the friction and provide security value to DevOps teams. In her session at DevOps Summit, Shannon Lietz, Senior Manager of DevSecOps at Intuit, will discuss how DevSecOps got started and how it has evolved. Shannon Lietz has over two decades of experience pursuing next generation security solutions. She is currently the DevSecOps Leader for Intuit where she is responsible for setting and driv...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes ...
Thanks to Docker, it becomes very easy to leverage containers to build, ship, and run any Linux application on any kind of infrastructure. Docker is particularly helpful for microservice architectures because their successful implementation relies on a fast, efficient deployment mechanism – which is precisely one of the features of Docker. Microservice architectures are therefore becoming more popular, and are increasingly seen as an interesting option even for smaller projects, instead of bein...