Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, TJ Randall

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
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
Organize your corporate travel faster, at lower cost. Hotailors is a next-gen AI-powered travel platform. What is Hotailors? Hotailors is a platform for organising business travels that grants access to the best real-time offers from 2.000.000+ hotels and 700+ airlines in the whole world. Thanks to our solution you can plan, book & expense business trips in less than 5 minutes. Accordingly to your travel policy, budget limits and cashless for your employees. With our reporting, integrations and real-time analytics, you can easily control your travel policy, reduce spendings and increase the efficiency of your company. Hotailors ia an artificial intelligence powered marketplace for business travels. Friendly to use technology based on artificial intelligence to plan, book and expense business travel in 5 minutes. Within one login on one dashboard, user has access to almos...
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 business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throughout enterprises of all sizes. We are offering early bird savings on all ticket types where you can save significant amount of money by purchasing your conference tickets today.
"Calligo is a cloud service provider with data privacy at the heart of what we do. We are a typical Infrastructure as a Service cloud provider but it's been designed around data privacy," explained Julian Box, CEO and co-founder of Calligo, 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.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | CloudEXPO New York will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018. Polish Digital Transformation companies which will exhibit at CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO include All in Mobile, dhosting, Cryptomage, Perfect Gym, Polcom, Apius Technologies, Aplisens, ELZAB SA, TELDAT, and Rebug.io.