Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: David Cauthron, Aruna Ravichandran, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, MC Brown

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Virtualization, Cloud Expo

SDN Journal: Article

DIY vs DIFY Networking

If you were to base your guess on industry chatter, you would have to conclude that DIY has the upper hand

There is probably never going to be a perfect balance in the industry between Do-it-yourself (DIY) and Do-it-for-you (DIFY) networking. It seems exceedingly unlikely that there is a one-size-fits-all type of solution out there. And so we will invariably end up with a bifurcated market that requires multiple solutions for its constituents. But if there is not a perfect balance, which one of these is likely to see the most action?

If you were to base your guess on industry chatter, you would have to conclude that DIY has the upper hand.

There is a ton of momentum right now with both SDN and bare metal switching. On the SDN front, it is all about orchestration and automation. The ability to streamline customized workflows is attractive, especially for the large IT shops that sink tens of millions of dollars into managing their monstrosities. Once you get into anything that is customized, there is a degree of DIY-ness that is required. No product is designed expressly for your particular environment, so you need to the ability to customize what you buy to do what you want. Beyond that, there is an awful lot of talk about APIs and programmability.

Bare metal switching is a different initiative with different objectives that end up in a similar DIY framework. The move towards a more server-like environment allows users to customize their switching solution. There is great power in having absolute control over how a device behaves. It allows users to pick and choose tools they are already familiar with, extending their functionality into the networking realm.

However, the challenge in using industry dialogue to conclude where things will end up is that the chatter does not always match exactly the buying patterns. Indeed, public discourse most typically leads broad deployment – sometimes by several years or more (think IPv6, Internet of Things, or even electric vehicles).

The DIY movement in networking is real, but what is it about? The ability to tailor specific networking applications to the infrastructure is about eking out performance or customizing experience. It is about modifying a base set of functionality to fit better into your specific context.

For this to matter, you have to be pushing the envelope in terms of performance or capability. But the truth is that the bulk of the networking space is simply not there. Their issues are not in customization. They want to be spending less time with the network, not more. The problem they need solved is more about operating their infrastructure and less about creating substrates to connect it all together in some unique configuration.

But you don’t hear from these people in industry forums and on social media. They lack the interest, time, and sometimes confidence to express a point of view that is less visionary and more functional. As a result, we only hear one side of the story. It plays out in blogs, on Twitter, in press articles, and on conferences stages. And with every word and unapproachable idea, we collectively push the majority of users further into the background.

The solution here isn’t to retreat from change. But we need to make sure that new technology is usable for the legions of people for whom the network is primarily a means of enabling their business. We need to advance with equal enthusiasm DIFY networking.

So why don’t we do this naturally as an industry?

There are two major dynamics at play. First, incumbents tend to be capability-driven. Customer X needs something, so they build whatever widget is required. The focus is on the capability, not necessarily on how that capability is inserted into a widely consumable workflow. If there is any doubt here, ask yourself if networking workflows today are more arcane or intuitive. And then ask yourself why certifications are so important. The only way to validate that you have mastered the arcane is to produce your certificate as proof.

The second dynamic is that new initiatives (be they new companies or just new projects) tend to target the hot spots. Those hot spots are identified by the vocal minority. And networking’s vocal bunch consists of strong proponents for customization, primarily through tooling and development frameworks.

But even here, customization is rarely the outright goal. Unless your business requires differentiated network services (a la service or cloud providers), you likely don’t want to be customized for the sake of being customized. Rather, the customization trends are a response to a broad deficiency in the networking industry. More directly, if my vendor cannot give me what I need, at least give me the tools so I can do it myself.

Both SDN and white box switching are great movements, but they are responses to a long-time issue with legacy networks: the equipment is needlessly expensive, and networks are ridiculously hard to manage. When these issues go unaddressed for decades, what are customers to do? They stand up and collectively say “Screw it. I’ll do it myself.”

When the DIY trends exist long enough, we end up fooling ourselves into thinking customization is the goal when all along it was merely a workaround. We replace intuitive networking with There’s an API for that networking. Essentially, we have shifted the cost from procurement (you can buy cheaper equipment) to development (but you have to customize everything around it).

This doesn’t seem right. I suspect the right outcome for the industry is to take the technological advances, develop them to completeness, and deliver an infrastructure that delivers. Such an infrastructure could still have the hooks for the DIYers, but it would be functional for the DIFYers as well.

[Today’s fun fact: If all of the oceans in the world evaporated, Hawaii would be the tallest mountain in the world. Take that, Everest!]

The post DIY vs DIFY networking appeared first on Plexxi.

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
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their small...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
Software-driven innovation is becoming a primary approach to how businesses create and deliver new value to customers. A survey of 400 business and IT executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value showed businesses that are more effective at software delivery are also more profitable than their peers nearly 70 percent of the time (1). DevOps provides a way for businesses to remain competitive, applying lean and agile principles to software development to speed the delivery of software that ...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's

"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
What do a firewall and a fortress have in common? They are no longer strong enough to protect the valuables housed inside. Like the walls of an old fortress, the cracks in the firewall are allowing the bad guys to slip in - unannounced and unnoticed. By the time these thieves get in, the damage is already done and the network is already compromised. Intellectual property is easily slipped out the back door leaving no trace of forced entry. If we want to reign in on these cybercriminals, it's hig...
Infor has announced a new feature Infor CloudSuite™ Aerospace & Defense (A&D) to aid compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The ITAR function will serve as a complementary function for new or existing Infor CloudSuite A&D customers, to facilitate compliance for Infor customers that are creating a US defense article or performing a US defense service and wish to benefit from cloud-services. The ITAR regulation serves to manage handling and access requirements for dat...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to th...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
Cochlear Limited, the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, has selected AppZero for easy migration of its Microsoft Windows Server 2003 applications, a major priority for IT organizations before Microsoft ends support on July 14, 2015. AppZero software enables server application migration from old operating systems to new platforms or clouds and has been proven to be ten times faster, more reliable and efficient than alternative approaches.