SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Destiny Bertucci, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

SDN and Organizational Grease

Depending on who you ask, the primary objective of SDN is to improve management and operations. By centralizing control, things like provisioning and troubleshooting can be streamlined, reducing the time and effort it takes to perform tasks. From that central point of control, a number of interfaces exist that make automation more effective, or at least more accessible.

But there is more to operational efficiency than the commands and keystrokes required to get something done.

Friction in any ecosystem is greatest at the boundaries between elements. When two things must work together to perform a task, the act of coordinating comes with some overhead. When these things are systems, the overhead typically shows up as integration cost and some performance hit when state is exchanged. When the elements are people or organizations, the cost shows up in the delays incurred by communicating and passing off tasks (as with ticket handling at large companies).

In networking, it is far too often the case that organizational friction exceeds operational effort. Put more directly, the time it takes to volley requests back and forth between collaborating teams exceeds the actual work time required to make a change. Reducing top-line metrics like Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) and Time to Deploy ends up being dependent on making individual commands easier AND on making the cross-organizational effort more seamless.

With this in mind, it could be that the biggest operational gains that companies will see in SDN environments will not be in the automation of individual workflows but rather in the reduction in organizational boundaries.

Consider that one of the central tenets of SDN is the separation of control and forwarding. This is typically (though not always) implemented via some central controller. By moving the point of control to logically central entity, the entirety of the resource pool can be managed from a single place. The result could be an expansion of management domains to include more and different types of devices. As architectures become more inclusive, you can collapse overlapping management domains into single regions of control.

The whole idea of collapsing control is terrifying from a people and process perspective. Most of us have a very healthy sense of ownership over our domain, and the idea of sharing (or worse, ceding entirely) that domain with another person or team is unnerving at best. Things like process, workflow, and even oversight become nontrivial in shared spaces. And the resultant changes in control model are difficult to predict with enough precision to assuage the fears of everything melting down.

But if the primary business objective is to simplify management in support of driving top-line metrics down, then something has to change. If the time to complete a particular task is dominated by organizational overhead, eking out a few minutes in the manual execution of a task is meaningless when compared to reducing the time it takes to coordinate on activities.

Take for example a multi-site datacenter. For business continuity reasons, maybe you have built out multiple datacenters at different sites. Ideally, you’d like to manage the entire pool of resources in an active-active mode. You probably connect these datacenters through either a WAN gateway running MPLS or maybe using optical transport equipment.

However you have connected the sites, you now have three separate networks: the two datacenters and the interconnect network. If you want to provision end-to-end services, what do you do?

The point here is that you have three separate control domains managed by two or three different teams. When you want to do anything across all three domains, you incur an organizational coordination overhead.

If SDN allows these three control domains to be managed under a single management domain, the organizational element can be reduced. In the short term, you still have two or three teams, so this doesn’t alleviate the problem straight away. But over time, as your organizational convergence catches up with your network convergence, you end up with a streamlined workflow to get end-to-end services.

In this case, I use a multi-site datacenter as the example, but that is not the only place where multiple domains exist. Many IT shops build out dedicated storage networks to handle high volumes of traffic (think: Big Data). If SDN allows those networks to be collapsed into a single network with more central control, you get the same benefit.

It is probably a stretch to suggest SDN was created with organizational boundaries in mind, but the benefits of control might be most profound in how they provide a bit of organizational grease to speed up the process of administrating a network.

[Today’s fun fact: The only jointless bone in your body is the throat. Yeah, I didn’t know the throat was a bone either.]

The post SDN and Organizational Grease 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
@DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises - and delivering real results.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Dez Blanchfield joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Dez is a strategic leader in business and digital transformation with 25 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries developing strategies and implementing business initiatives. He has a breadth of expertise spanning technologies such as cloud computing, big data and analytics, cognitive computing, m...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Kevin Jackson joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert and Founder/Author of the award winning "Cloud Musings" blog. Mr. Jackson has also been recognized as a "Top 100 Cybersecurity Influencer and Brand" by Onalytica (2015), a Huffington Post "Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter" (2013) and a "Top 50 C...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Daniel Jones is CTO of EngineerBetter, helping enterprises deliver value faster. Previously he was an IT consultant, indie video games developer, head of web development in the finance sector, and an award-winning martial artist. Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams.
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Evan Kirstel is an internationally recognized thought leader and social media influencer in IoT (#1 in 2017), Cloud, Data Security (2016), Health Tech (#9 in 2017), Digital Health (#6 in 2016), B2B Marketing (#5 in 2015), AI, Smart Home, Digital (2017), IIoT (#1 in 2017) and Telecom/Wireless/5G. His connections are a "Who's Who" in these technologies, He is in the top 10 most mentioned/re-tweeted by CMOs and CIOs (2016) and have been recently named 5th most influential B2B marketeer in the US. H...
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO 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 over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
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...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
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 fu...