|By Michael Bushong||
|March 26, 2014 12:30 PM EDT||
The overall networking landscape has been going through a fairly deliberate shift over the past couple of years. Where we used to talk CapEx, we are now talking OpEx. Where we used to talk features, we are now talking about workflows. This change in industry dialogue mirrors the rise of trends like SDN and DevOps. I have been a huge fan of automation in general and DevOps in particular for many years now. But, as an industry, are we leaving people behind unintentionally?
When you think about the largest and most dynamic networks in the world (typically characterized as either service providers or web-scale companies), topics like automation are a no-brainer. The sheer number of devices in the networks that these companies manage demands something more than keying in changes manually. And for these types of companies, the network is not just an enabler – it is a central part of their business. Without the network, there is no business. It’s not terribly surprising that these companies hire small armies of capable engineers and developers to make everything function smoothly.
In these environments, automation is not a nice-to-have. It’s closer to food and water than it is to sports and entertainment. Accordingly, their interest in technologies that support automation is high. Their capability in putting automation tools to use is high. And if their abilities do not match their requirements, they open up their wallets to make sure they get there (think: OSS/BSS).
In networking, there is a prevailing belief that what is good for these complex environments will eventually make its way into smaller, less complex networks. It might take time, but the technologies and best practices that the most advanced companies employ, will eventually trickle down to everyone else. It’s sort of the networking equivalent of Reaganomics.
But is this necessarily true?
First, let me reiterate that I am a huge advocate for automation and DevOps. But these capabilities might not be universally required. Automation is most important in environments where either the volume or rate of change is high enough to justify the effort. If the network is relatively static, changing primarily to swap out old gear for new functionally equivalent gear, it might not be necessary to automate much at all. Or if network changes are tied to incremental growth, it might not make sense to automate the very much.
Automation enthusiasts (myself included) will likely react somewhat viscerally to the idea that automation isn’t necessary. “But even in these cases, automation is useful!” Certainly, it is useful. But what if your IT team lacks the expertise to automate all the things. What then? Sure, you can change the team up, but is it worth the effort?
And even if it is worth the effort, how far along the automation path will most companies need to go? It could be that simple shell scripts are more than enough to manage the rate of change for some companies. Full-blown DevOps would be like bringing a cruise missile to a water gun fight.
In saying this, I am not trying to suggest that automation or DevOps are not important. Rather, the tools we associate with these are just that: tools. They need to be applied thoughtfully and where it makes sense. Vendors that build these tools and then to try to push them too far down into the market will find that the demand for cruise missiles drops off pretty precipitously after the top-tier companies.
Even smaller-scale infrastructure does require workflow though. The trick is in packaging the tools so that they are right-sized for the problems they are addressing.
This obviously starts with discarding the notion that workflows are common across all sizes of networks. That is simply not true. The reason that there is pushback when people say that the future of network engineering is programming is that for many people, it is not yet a foregone conclusion that full-blown automation is worth the effort.
For these people, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
The conclusion to draw here is not that automation is not a good thing. It’s that automation packaged as a complex DIY project isn’t always the right fit. Not everyone wants to do it themselves. At home, it turns out I am capable of repainting a room, but it just isn’t worth my time, so I hire a professional. In a network, people might be fully capable of automating policy provisioning and still find that it isn’t worth doing because policy for them just isn’t that complex.
What vendors ought to be doing is packaging their workflow optimizations in a way that is far easier to consume. Rather than building scaffolding around the network to handle management, it might make sense to make the management itself much more intuitive and more a core part of the way devices are architected.
This might sound like a brain dead statement, but consider that most networking devices are designed by people who do not run networks. And even worse, the workflows that dictate how things are used are frequently the last thing designed. If the mid-market and below are to get the advantages of the automation capabilities that the big guys are driving, vendors will need to design workflows explicitly for broad adoption.
If we really want to make the juice worth the squeeze, we need to make the squeeze a lot less painful. We need to move beyond automated networking closer to intuitive networking.
[Today’s fun fact: Lake Nicaragua boasts the only fresh water sharks in the entire world. I would be very motivated not to fall down while water skiing.]
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
Jul. 26, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,044
[session] Throwing Away the Codebase By @ReadyTalk | @CloudExpo #Cloud #DevOps #DigitalTransformation
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
Jul. 26, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,002
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Jul. 26, 2016 09:02 AM EDT Reads: 116
Ovum, a leading technology analyst firm, has published an in-depth report, Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting a DevOps Release Management Solution, 2016–17. The report focuses on the automation aspects of DevOps, Release Management and compares solutions from the leading vendors.
Jul. 26, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,685
Continuous testing helps bridge the gap between developing quickly and maintaining high quality products. But to implement continuous testing, CTOs must take a strategic approach to building a testing infrastructure and toolset that empowers their team to move fast. Download our guide to laying the groundwork for a scalable continuous testing strategy.
Jul. 26, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,952
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
Jul. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,512
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Jul. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 584
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Jul. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,306
Security, data privacy, reliability and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house client hosted environments to a cloud platform. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Vandana Viswanathan, Associate Director at Cognizant, In this session, will provide an orientation to the five stages required to implement a cloud hosted solution validation strategy.
Jul. 26, 2016 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 950
"Avere Systems is a hybrid cloud solution provider. We have customers that want to use cloud storage and we have customers that want to take advantage of cloud compute," explained Rebecca Thompson, VP of Marketing at Avere Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 26, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,030
"We formed Formation several years ago to really address the need for bring complete modernization and software-defined storage to the more classic private cloud marketplace," stated Mark Lewis, Chairman and CEO of Formation Data Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 26, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,572
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
Jul. 26, 2016 06:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,794
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
Jul. 26, 2016 06:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,420
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...
Jul. 26, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,893
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Jul. 26, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,100
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
Jul. 26, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,532
Most organizations prioritize data security only after their data has already been compromised. Proactive prevention is important, but how can you accomplish that on a small budget? Learn how the cloud, combined with a defense and in-depth approach, creates efficiencies by transferring and assigning risk. Security requires a multi-defense approach, and an in-house team may only be able to cherry pick from the essential components. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Vlad Friedman, CEO/Founder o...
Jul. 26, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,912
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 26, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,243
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...
Jul. 26, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,837
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Jul. 26, 2016 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,080