Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Stefan Bernbo, TJ Randall

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

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Service Chaining Is Business Process Orchestration in the Network

Service chaining allows the network to grow up and really participate in business processes

The term "service chaining" hasn't quite yet made it into the mainstream IT vernacular.  It's currently viewed as a technical mechanism for directing packets, flows or messages (depending on where you sit in the network stack) around the network. Service chaining is the answer to "how do orchestrate the flow of data across the great divide that exists between L2-3 and L4-7"? There are already multiple implementations, some that take advantage of virtual overlay protocols like VXLAN and NVGRE, others that use proprietary tags, and some that even operate at layer 7 and take advantage of HTTP's natural redirection capabilities to move data from one service to another.

vertical service chain What's important is not only the mechanism (a variety of IETF proposals already exist discussing this) but recognizing that what we're really trying to do is orchestrate a business process across application and network services.

The one thing SDN and NFV have been unable to do is break the belief that the network is just a pipe and the services hosted in the network are just packet pushing variations on a theme. To many, "network services" still means "a VLAN" or "QoS policies" or "bandwidth limitations". Even higher order stack services like load balancing and application acceleration are viewed not as services but as discrete network functions. This fails to recognize what a "service" is in the context of infrastructure and emerging technologies like SDN, cloud and NFV, which in turn keeps their relationship to business processes from becoming readily apparent.

Service providers are likely closer to recognizing that technologies like service chaining are as much about orchestrating a business process as they are how to direct traffic around a network. Consider a few of the more common "value added services (VAS)" offered by service providers to both application providers and subscribers (consumers) alike.

value-added-services

Consider, now, that these services are applied only in the case when they are appropriate to the subscriber  (and one hopes that traffic). If I have not subscribed to the "parental controls" service, my data should not be wasting cycles by being processed by said service. This is true for all VAS in a service provider's network - cycles wasted on processing is wasted money.

So there must be a way for operators to designate the appropriate "chain of services" through which a given subscriber's traffic should flow based on whether or not they are customers of that service (i.e. they've paid for it). That's a business problem and a business process being orchestrated, not a technical exercise in determining out which port a packet should be tossed.

In the enterprise, there are similar services that must be orchestrated as part of a larger process. As applications decompose into APIs and micro-services, the need to orchestrate application flows across services becomes imperative. But this is not just about the applications, but also the application and network services that are part of those flows; those processes.

app-services

There are a variety of application services that live in the network and application infrastructure that are part of larger, orchestrated processes. Not every response to a consumer request needs authentication, nor does every response or request need to be examined by the fraud system.

What determines the need to evaluate, analyze or further process inbound or outbound traffic in both data centers and service provider networks is a business process. The ability to orchestrate the network and application services based on that business process is in part what emerging technologies like SDN and NFV are offering.

We can call it flexibility or agility or some other "ity" if you like or even start saying "policy-driven" again, but the reality is that technologies that enable orchestration of services do so in order to implement a business process - whether that's across applications or networks or both.

Thus, service chaining is likely to be a critical and foundational technology, as it answers the question of "how are we going to orchestrate in the network" to enable and support the orchestration of the business processes that run the business and impact the bottom line.

Service chaining is business process orchestration in the network. The organizations that figure this out and use it to their advantage will have, well, a significant advantage.

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
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.
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...
"Qosmos has launched L7Viewer, a network traffic analysis tool, so it analyzes all the traffic between the virtual machine and the data center and the virtual machine and the external world," stated Sebastien Synold, Product Line Manager at Qosmos, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
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...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes how...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "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 Internet to enable us all to im...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
"We are the public cloud providers. We are currently providing 50% of the resources they need for doing e-commerce business in China and we are hosting about 60% of mobile gaming in China," explained Yi Zheng, CPO and VP of Engineering at CDS Global Cloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
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...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service. In his session at 19th Cloud Exp...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...