|By Michael Bushong||
|April 2, 2014 06:00 AM EDT||
What role does the concept of a “network fabric” play in the march towards commoditization of networking? Well, let’s discuss!
The Whole Shebang
There can be no doubt that an organization’s relationship to networking is to the aggregate thing they call “the network.” When there are issues, non-network folks say wonderfully vague things like “The network is dropping packets!” or “I can’t login… must be the network.” This intuition, to think about the network as a whole, rather than as a collection of systems, is right: Collectively, the network is supposed to produce desirable aggregate behavior.
This is an important clue as to how networking will evolve in the future. SDN is a step in this direction. Intelligent software will undoubtedly coordinate the actions of the underlying constituent systems, on behalf of an operator or an application, to achieve some policy goals. This software need not exist solely in the form of a network controller. Indeed, here at Plexxi, our switches can coordinate on their own to achieve aggregate behavior. This is why you can stand up a Plexxi network, and pass traffic, without the need for a centralized controller.
A network fabric should have the goal of managing network workloads according to a higher-level policy. However, many fabrics do not do this. They may have some desirable fabric features, but for edge policies operators must still log into individual devices to achieve their goals. This, of course, is the fundamental problem of networking that SDN hopes to solve: Let intelligent software perform these menial tasks, and let the organization, or the operator, express network-wide policy to the software.
The Value of the Network
What is the value of the network? Fundamentally, the network has one feature that matters: paths. The job the network, first and foremost, is to facilitate the movement of data between it’s edges. The more paths a network has, the better. We even see this in leaf-and-
Administrative, control, voice, video, bulk, and garbage are just some of the workload types requiring different treatment in the network. When you have fewer paths in the network, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage workload conflict that arises when multiple types of traffic converge on an egress interface. Quality-of-Service has always represented a sort of white flag of surrender before conflict even occurs, and let’s be honest, it’s been an absolute nightmare to manage on the ground. Aggregate flow characteristics change throughout the day (burstiness, packet size distribution, differing workload types), making static policies difficult to implement. The best you can hope for is a policy that represents the lowest-common denominator compromise.
Even when you have multiple paths in the network, it’s virtually impossible to manage and move differing workload types. How frustrating it has been that spanning-tree cut the usable bandwidth down drastically in the data center. Even if we could use it, how to move only some workloads? Imagine doing this when you have multiple types of workloads just within HTTP! Transferring files, web traffic, API calls for automation systems… all in the same encapsulation.
QoS is obviously the product of legacy network thinking: Fewer paths and indiscriminate workload placement, resulting from the erroneous belief that universal reachability for packets is the primary goal of the network. Build just enough paths to be redundant, put the routes in… and hope for the best. Are we done being amazed that we can make packets go yet? Can’t we do better than making a sequel to “The Hangover” because we can ping? Aren’t we tired of failing to deal with the complexity of networking as a whole? Then let’s stop using legacy stuff to accomplish our goals.
The value of the network goes up as more paths are added. However, the old way of workload placement in the network, as well as the old way of handling workload conflict, just isn’t going to be manageable by hand. Adding value to the network should be as simple as adding paths, and adding paths should actually be simple both physically and logically. A commodity network means lots of paths, which are the primary value of the network to begin with. It also means intelligent software that manages the many types of workloads on the network by distributing them across those paths. That same software will present an intuitive policy interface to humans who just want “the network” to work.
Where does that leave the current trend of some companies seeking to commoditize on legacy networking? Well, like cloud, it would seem that many folks are banking on the idea that IT is done evolving. Including networking! Obviously, this is not the case. What we are experiencing right now is the “big crunch” of IT. If the mainframe represented some primordial IT state that exploded into the constituent pieces of the IT universe, like the big bang of tech, then the data center of the future represents the big crunch of these pieces. Lots of intermediate layers will disappear, from the guest OS of a VM, to maybe even the IP protocol! Will linux-based switches and routers with a subset of legacy network features really have a role here? Perhaps in the short-term, but not for long.
Intuitive network fabrics are the true start down the path of commoditization, making the real value of the network directly and easily manageable.
[Fun fact: One time, I drove a bulldozer into a pond. People get really mad when you do that. Also, it makes the bulldozer inoperable. Hmmm... if only there had been a "path" around the pond.]
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
May. 4, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,161
See storage differently! Storage performance problems have only gotten worse and harder to solve as applications have become largely virtualized and moved to a cloud-based infrastructure. Storage performance in a virtualized environment is not just about IOPS, it is about how well that potential performance is guaranteed to individual VMs for these apps as the number of VMs keep going up real time. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, in product and marketing at Tintri, will discu...
May. 4, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,042
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer...
May. 4, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,272
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
May. 4, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,212
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
May. 4, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,327
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
May. 4, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,423
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
May. 4, 2016 12:47 PM EDT Reads: 319
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
May. 4, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 904
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningfu...
May. 4, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,077
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
May. 4, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,337
trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vice president of product management, IoT solutions at GlobalSign, will teach IoT developers how t...
May. 4, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 530
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
May. 4, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,179
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists will dis...
May. 4, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,042
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
May. 4, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,237
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
May. 4, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,383
Peak 10, Inc., has announced the implementation of IT service management, a business process alignment initiative based on the widely adopted Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. The implementation of IT service management enhances Peak 10’s current service-minded approach to IT delivery by propelling the company to deliver higher levels of personalized and prompt service. The majority of Peak 10’s operations employees have been trained and certified in the ITIL frame...
May. 4, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,137
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
May. 4, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,517
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Sagi Brody, Chief Technology Officer at Webair Internet Development Inc., will focus on real world deployments of DDoS mitigation strategies in every layer of the network. He will give an overview of methods to prevent these attacks and best practices on how to provide protection in complex cloud platforms. He will also outline what we have found in our experience managing and running thousands of Linux and Unix managed service platforms and what specifically c...
May. 4, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,297
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
May. 4, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,191
Redis is not only the fastest database, but it has become the most popular among the new wave of applications running in containers. Redis speeds up just about every data interaction between your users or operational systems. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dave Nielsen, Developer Relations at Redis Labs, will shares the functions and data structures used to solve everyday use cases that are driving Redis' popularity.
May. 4, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,208