Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Destiny Bertucci, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Amitabh Sinha

Blog Feed Post

Networking lessons from high-performance car racing

If you take a high-performance racing class, one of the first things you will experience is a ride around the track in a vehicle that seems ill-equipped for racing. Some classes might take you around the course in an average car like a Kia, while others might be a bit more dramatic and get all the students into the back of an old van. The point of this first exercise is to show you that vehicles are far more capable than the average driver expects.

The punch line of this first lesson in racing is that if you think you are pushing your car to the limits when you approach 100mph or take a turn a little hard, you don’t really understand what your car can do. And if you want to be a performance racer, you need to get a lot more comfortable as you get out closer to the extremes.

The point here is less about the car and more about human psychology. Without knowing what the limits are, most of us behave conservatively. The fear of calamity is real, and it is enough to keep us operating well within the perceived constraints of the system. Whenever we experience something a little outside the edges of what we are used to, we recoil a bit.

Comfort levels and networking

Now imagine this in the context of SDN. One of the core aspects of SDN is the presence of some sort of central control. Whether that is a completely-centralized controller or a distributed application providing some form of system control, the fact that it is at least logically central means that it has a global view of the network as a resource.

This is useful because a global view of the resource allows the controller to do intelligent things with network workloads. For example, workloads can be balanced to optimize overall network performance. Or maybe the controller fans traffic out over more available paths, which could drive up fabric utilization.

The challenge

This actually creates a challenge.

Architects and operators are used to running their networks within some constraints. Things like capacity planning take into account total resources. Processes are built around these limits. Even things like purchasing decisions consider the operating assumptions.

Within these constraints, networks are built. And then they are monitored. We look at things like queuing and buffering to get a feel for how traffic is moving across the network. We get accustomed to how counters ought to look. In essence, we familiarize ourselves with the operating parameters of our network.

But what if those limitations were not really the limitations?

If, for example, intelligent load balancing and more sophisticated workload management allowed you to get more out of your network than you were used to, would you feel comfortable extending the operating limits that confine you today?

Intellectually, the answer is likely yes, but there is an education process that has to happen here. Most people are consumers—not producers—of information. The reason best practices are so powerful is that they allow the majority of people to leverage the learnings of the nominally smaller set of people willing to experiment and figure things out.

And because networking is notoriously complex, the dependence on this information is even higher than in other disciplines. It actually keeps most of us from really knowing what our networks are capable of. Not unlike would-be performance drivers, we don’t fully understand what we can do with our network. We operate either well below the limits, or occasionally we do something reckless that results in something disastrous.

Creating familiarity

Either case is really derived from the same issue: an unfamiliarity of where we ought to be.

Getting to familiarity requires a re-examination of how we think about monitoring. When you are driving a car, how do you know where the limit is? It’s not just feeling uncomfortable as the wheel shakes; you need to know the point at which the back side actually slides out from under you on a curve.

In networking parlance, this means we need to be looking at more than just counters and bits per second. We need to know the point at which the network slides out from under us. And in the case where we are making better use of more paths through SDN, we need to be looking at more than just hot links. We will eventually want to know how traffic gets balanced across all available links, and how that impacts application workloads.

Essentially, we are fast approaching an era where monitoring, planning, and troubleshooting are going to rely on more than simple counters. SDN represents more than just a new architecture. It brings with it the ability to do some pretty clever things. But those clever things will push us beyond our comfort zone. For people for whom performance is not important, maybe it’s ok to stay trapped behind a veil of lowered expectations.

But if SDN is really going to breed a new kind of performance networker, it means that we will collectively have to become a lot more familiar with our cars. The results might be life-changing… or at least network-changing

[Today’s fun fact: Running links between sites at 99% utilization is possible. Imagine if you didn’t have to be Google to do it.]

The post Networking lessons from high-performance car racing appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

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
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Daniel Jones, CTO of EngineerBetter, will answer: How can we improve willpower and decrease technical debt? Is the present bias real? How can we turn it to our advantage? Can you increase a team’s effective IQ? How do DevOps & Product Teams increase empathy, and what impact does empath...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
You know you need the cloud, but you're hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You're looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you're concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies. What do you do?
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.