Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Mark Hoover, Stefan Bernbo

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

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Application-Driven vs Feature-Driven Orchestration

One of the challenges in scaling modern data centers rises directly from an increase in network complexity

One of the challenges in scaling modern data centers rises directly from an increase in network complexity over the past few years. We can argue why complexity has increased, but it's reasonable to say that scaling data centers means more boxes - more servers, more network gear, more middle boxes - and every device (or service) you add increases the complexity of the topology and thus the operational overhead to manage it. Organizations agree - things are somewhat or substantially getting more complex.

changes in ntework complexity

Software-defined architectures attempt to answer this challenge (among several others) by operationalizing the network. By using APIs to orchestrate provisioning processes and enable the integration necessary to make use of actionable monitoring data generated by various systems across the data center, software-defined architectures accelerate application deployments and reduce risk by eliminating a source of error - manual configuration.

Now, you might think that's where it all ends. But it doesn't. Because the way in which an API is presented and used to enable automation and orchestration can actually introduce the very same complexity that it attempts to address in the first place.

There are basically two ways to approach provisioning and orchestration: application-driven or feature-driven.

Feature-Driven Orchestration

Feature-driven orchestration is so named because the granularity of the API is, basically, at a feature (or capability) level. What that means is that the API exposes individual configuration options and automation systems must invoke each one (often in the right order) to achieve the desired result.

Something like a simple load balancing service is simple only from the perspective of execution, not configuration. A load balancing service requires a virtual IP address (the end point to which clients connect), a pool of resources (each with their own IP addresses and potentially VLAN membership), an algorithm and any associated thresholds and metrics that may be required and health monitors to ensure compliance with availability and performance expectations.

You can imagine that, if the number of applications being load balanced by this service is large enough, that the number of repetitive steps required to configure the service will become as unwieldy as a manual configuration.

feature-driven-integrationThe same is true of other application services typically provided by the network, such as those concerned with performance, security and access. Each has a unique set of "steps" that must be performed in the right order to provision a service.

Feature-driven orchestration requires the provisioning engine (or orchestration system) to drive each and every step. That adds complexity to an already complex process, because you really are just tossing a thin veneer of "automation" over an existing method of configuration. Feature-driven orchestration is pretty much manual configuration (line by line) driven by a script. Instead of worrying about fat-fingering a parameter, now you have to worry about catching fifteen or twenty different exceptions and status results and handling them properly from a script.

Application-Driven Orchestration

Application-driven orchestration, on the other hand, takes advantage of constructs like service templates and policies to enable a less complex method of integration with provisioning and orchestration systems.

Rather than focus on encapsulating commands into API calls as is the case with feature-driven orchestration, application-driven orchestration focuses on aggregating only the data necessary to execute a provisioning workflow. This data is encoded in a policy or template and handed over to the service to be acted upon. The service takes the policy or template and manages the provisioning process internally, ensuring that the expected order of operations is followed and eliminating the need for operators to handle exceptions and corner cases and special status codes themselves.

Application-driven orchestration offers a safer and more efficient approach to provisioning.

application-driven-provisioning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An application-driven orchestration approach not only accelerates application deployment and maintains a lower risk profile but it also enables application migration across disparate environments.

Configuring a service in one environment, driven by a specific provisioning or orchestration engine, is a very specific task. Moving the application and the service to, say,a cloud environment would mean duplicating that same effort again with another provisioning or orchestration engine.

An application-driven approach that leverages templates and policies, on the other hand, can make it possible to migrate an application without incurring the cost and time associated with the repetitive integration work required by feature-driven orchestration. The policy or template can migrate with the application and easily be used to provision the same services - with the same characteristics - in the cloud environment, without incurring a whole lot of time or effort.

APis are a good thing. They're a key enabler of software-defined architectures like SDDC, cloud and SDN. But API-enabling infrastructure doesn't necessarily mean only on a checkbox and radio-button basis. That can be valuable but it can also lead to integration efforts that are just as complex (or more so) than their manual counterparts. A template or policy-based (application-driven) approach  coupled with an API through which to deliver and execute such constructs results in a much cleaner, more consistent and stable means of integrating provisioning processes into the greater software-defined architecture.

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 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
In his session at DevOps Summit, Tapabrata Pal, Director of Enterprise Architecture at Capital One, will tell a story about how Capital One has embraced Agile and DevOps Security practices across the Enterprise – driven by Enterprise Architecture; bringing in Development, Operations and Information Security organizations together. Capital Ones DevOpsSec practice is based upon three "pillars" – Shift-Left, Automate Everything, Dashboard Everything. Within about three years, from 100% waterfall, C...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
"We're bringing out a new application monitoring system to the DevOps space. It manages large enterprise applications that are distributed throughout a node in many enterprises and we manage them as one collective," explained Kevin Barnes, President of eCube Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and containers together help companies achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of Dev...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a leading digital experience intelligence company, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint Systems is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into your customer-critical services to help you consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed for digital business, C...
"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.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. 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 developm...
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Updating DevOps to the latest production data slows down your development cycle. Probably it is due to slow, inefficient conventional storage and associated copy data management practices. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, in Product and Solution at Tintri, will talk about DevOps and cloud-focused storage to update hundreds of child VMs (different flavors) with updates from a master VM in minutes, saving hours or even days in each development cycle. He will also...
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, will highlight the current challenges of these transformative technologies and share strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” will outline the latest trends and developm...
“RackN is a software company and we take how a hybrid infrastructure scenario, which consists of clouds, virtualization, traditional data center technologies - how to make them all work together seamlessly from an operational perspective,” stated Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
"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.
"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.