Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Nicole Bryan, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Greg Schulz

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
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
Edge Hosting has announced a partnership with and the availability of CloudFlare, a web application firewall, CDN and DDoS mitigation service. “This partnership enhances Edge Hosting’s world class, perimeter layer, application (layer 7) defensive mechanism,” said Mark Houpt, Edge Hosting CISO. “The goal was to enable a new layer of customer controlled defense and compliance through the application of DDoS filters and mitigations, the web application firewall (WAF) feature and the added benefit ...
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
As organizations shift towards 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, access and 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 general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
Dialogic has announced that ZVRS chose Dialogic® PowerMedia™ XMS software media server as part of its latest video relay and translation service offering. ZVRS uses Dialogic’s PowerMedia XMS technology to provide a robust solution that supports a broad range of legacy devices and any-to-any video capabilities with its flagship Z70 videophone. ZVRS selected Dialogic’s solution to facilitate a release of Z70 that met its stringent requirements for legacy device support (H.263 and H.264) with high...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
SaaS companies can greatly expand revenue potential by pushing beyond their own borders. The challenge is how to do this without degrading service quality. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Adam Rogers, Managing Director at Anexia, discussed how IaaS providers with a global presence and both virtual and dedicated infrastructure can help companies expand their service footprint with low “go-to-market” costs.
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to 'DevOps at Cloud Expo 2016' as Conference Chair The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited t...