Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Gil Allouche, Lori MacVittie, Dana Gardner

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java, Cloud Expo, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal, OpenStack Journal

@ThingsExpo: Blog Feed Post

PubSub and Other Disruptive Emerging Network Models

What's new with software-defined architectures is not just the logical separation but the physical decoupling

When people write about software-defined architectures being "disruptive" to the network they're doing a bit of a disservice to just how much change is occurring under the hood in the engine that drives today's businesses. The notion of separating control and data planes is superficial in that it describes a general concept and it isn't really all that radical a change, if you think about it.

The control and data planes have always been separate. We have, since the need for web-scale networks came about, implemented separate topological (and usually physical) networks specifically for the purpose of segregating control traffic from the data path. The reasons for this are many: to keep management (control) traffic from interfering with the delivery of applications (and vice versa), to enable a model in which control over the critical path for applications could be secured and to ensure access to necessary control functions in the face of failure or attack.

What's new with software-defined architectures is not just the logical separation but the physical decoupling and change in component responsibility. In traditional networks there is a logically separate control plane, but it is distributed; it resides on each physical component. In software-defined networks it is physically separate but it is centralized; control responsibility resides in a single component, the "controller".

Now, OpenStack and emerging models for scaling systems that will be responsible for managing communication with and for the Internet of Things (like MQTT) use a similar control model, but it's not as active as a software-defined architectural model, it's more a passive model. That's the nature of PubSub imposing itself on the network.

PubSub Control Modelpubsub-model

PubSub (publish / subscribe) is a familiar model to application developers. It's a middleware staple that's been used for a very long time to distribute messages to a variable set of systems. In a nutshell, PubSub is based on the notion of there existing a "queue" to which authorized components can publish events or messages of interest and to which interested components an subscribe. Events or messages have a life (like a TTL) and eventually expire. In the interim, it's expected that subscribed components check the queue for messages periodically. They poll for events or messages.

The queue itself is much like a switch or router's queue, except messages in the queue are duplicated until the TTL runs out and the message expires.

PubSub is passive; that is, it does not actively distribute messages. It merely serves as a kind of centralized repository, making available to those components that need it access to relevant information about the state of applications and/or the network.

Centralized Control Model

push-modelOpenFlow-based SDN, by contrast, is active. That is, it not only serves as a centralized repository for the state of applications and/or the network, but it actively distributes messages to components based on events. For example, a controller might receive a message from another system indicating the launch of a new application instance. That event triggers a series of actions on the controller that includes informing the affected network components of configuration changes. In a passive, PubSub model, the network components themselves might be polling for such an event and, upon receiving one, would initiate the appropriate configuration changes themselves.

We can simplify the description of the differences even more: a controller-based architecture uses a push model, while a pubsub-based architecture uses a pull model. What this doesn't illustrate well is that in a push model, the centralized controller must know how to communicate the desired changes to each and every component it is controlling. That's one of the reasons original models standardized on OpenFlow and were tightly focused on L2-4 stateless networking. It could be easily standardized down to a common forwarding table.While different components might internalize that differently, the basic information was always the same: IP addresses, ports and actions.

As we move up the stack into L4-7 stateful networking, however, this model becomes more burdensome because of the complexity of rule sets and differences in policy models across such a broad set of networking domains. Hence the plug-in support in controllers like OpenDaylight for "other" control protocols. But the basic premise of the model remains the same, regardless of the control protocol: the centralized controller dictates the changes to all components. It pushes those changes to the network. Both control and execution are centralized. The controller tells components to change their configuration.

PubSub centralizes control but decentralizes execution. The control plane is still centralized; there is one authoritative system responsible for disseminating change across the network, but each individual component (or domain controller but we'll get to that in a minute) is responsible for executing the appropriate changes based on their configured policies and services. A pubsub controller never tells a component "change this now"; that's up to the individual components (or domain controller).

The Integrated Control Model

To make things even more confusing (and disruptive), these models may be used simultaneously. A software-defined architecture might be based on a centralized control model with domain controllers for specific networking functions (like security and application delivery) integrated via a pubsub-based model.

integrated-model

This is where we start seeing models that combine emerging technologies like OpenStack and SDN architectures together. OpenStack manages at the data center level, and at its heart is pubsub model that can be used by domain controllers (stateless L2-4 SDN, stateful L4-7 SDN, etc...) to receive notification of changes in the network and subsequently push those changes using the appropriate control protocols to the components it is managing.

Needless to say, the term "disruptive" is really inadequate in describing the level of change in the network required to support either models (or both). Both require significant changes not just to the network itself but the way in which the network is fundamentally provisioned and managed. It's not just a new CLI or management console, these models dramatically change the design and management of networks.

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
"We help companies that are using a lot of Software as a Service. We help companies manage and gain visibility into what people are using inside the company and decide to secure them or use standards to lock down or to embrace the adoption of SaaS inside the company," explained Scott Kriz, Co-founder and CEO of Bitium, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionalit...
Some developers believe that monitoring is a function of the operations team. Some operations teams firmly believe that monitoring the systems they maintain is sufficient to run the business successfully. Most of them are wrong. The complexity of today's applications have gone far and beyond the capabilities of "traditional" system-level monitoring tools and approaches and requires much broader knowledge of business and applications as a whole. The goal of DevOps is to connect all aspects of app...
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...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water,...
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...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
The 3rd International Internet of @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 its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device exp...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...