|By Lori MacVittie||
|June 30, 2014 09:00 AM EDT||
Inarguably one of the drivers of software-defined architectures (cloud, SDDC, and SDN) as well as movements like DevOps is the complexity inherent in today's data center networks. For years now we've added applications and services, and responded to new threats and requirements from the business with new boxes and new capabilities. All of them cobbled together using traditional networking principles that adhere to providing reliability and scale through redundancy.
The result is complex, hard to manage, and even more difficult to change at a moments notice.
Emerging architectural models based solely on cloud computing models or as part of larger, software-defined initiatives, attempt to resolve this issue by introducing abstraction and programmability. To get around the reality that deploying new services in a timely manner takes days if not weeks or even months, we figure that by moving to a programmatic, software-based model we can become more efficient.
Except we aren't becoming more efficient, we're just doing what we've always done. We're just doing it faster. We're not eliminating complexity, we're getting around it by adding a layer of scripts and integration designed to make us forget just how incredibly complex our networks really are.
One of the primary reasons our networks are the way they are is that we're reactive.
What we've been doing for years now is just reacting to events. Threats, new applications, new requirements - all these events inevitably wind up with IT deploying yet another "middle box." A self-contained appliance - hardware or software - that does X. Protects against X, improves Y, enhances Z. And then something else happens and we do it again. And again. And ... you get the point. We react and the result is an increasingly complex topological nightmare we call the data center network.
What we need to do is find a better model, a strategic model that enables us to deploy those solutions that protect against X, improve Y and enhance Z without adding complexity and increasing the already confusing topology in the network. We need to break out of our tactical mode and start thinking strategically so we can transform IT to be what it needs to be to align IT results with business expectations.
That means we need to start thinking platform, not product.
Platform is Strategic. Product is Tactical.
We know that the number of services actually in use in the data center has been increasing in response to all the technological shifts caused by trends like security, cloud and mobility. We’ve talked to customers that have more than 20 different services (and vendors) delivering services critical to the security, performance and reliability of applications. Every time a new threat or a new trend impacts the data center, we respond with a new service.
That’s one of the reasons you rarely see a detailed architectural diagram at the application flow level – because every single interaction with a customer, partner or employee can have its own unique flow and that flow traverses a variety of services depending on the user, device, network and application and even business purpose.
That's the product way.
What we need to do is shift our attention to platforms, and leverage them to reduce complexity while at the same time solving problems - and doing so faster and more efficiently. That's one of the primary benefits of Synthesis.
Synthesis' High Performance Services Fabric is built by gluing together a platform - the ADC - using new scalability models (ScaleN). The platform is what enables organizations to deploy a wide variety of services but gain operational efficiencies from the fact that the underlying platform is the same. F5 Software Defined Application Services (SDAS) are all deployable on the same, operationally consistent platform regardless of where it might physically reside. Cloud, virtual machine or hardware makes no difference. It's the platform that brings consistency to the table and enables rapid provisioning of new services that protect X, improve Y and enhance Z.
In the past year we've brought a number of new services to the Synthesis architecture including Cloud Identity Federation, Web Anti-Fraud, Mobile optimizations and a Secure Web Gateway. All these services were immediately deployable on the existing platform that comprises the Synthesis High Performance Services Fabric. As we add new capabilities and services, they, too, are deployable on the same platform, in the same fabric-based approach and immediately gain all the benefits that come from the platform: massive scalability, high performance, reliability and hardened security.
A platform approach means you can realize a level of peace of mind about the future and what might crop up next. Whether it's a new business requirement or a new threat, using a platform approach means no more shoehorning a new box into the topology. It means being able to take advantage of operational consistency across cloud and on-premise deployments. It means being able to expand capabilities without needing to expand budgets to support new training, new services, and new contracts.
A platform approach to service deployment in data center networks is strategic. And with the constant rate of change headed our way thanks to the Internet of Things and mobility, the one thing we can't afford to to go without is a sound strategy for dealing with the technological ramifications on the network.
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...
Nov. 26, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 835
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective ...
Nov. 26, 2014 10:45 PM EST Reads: 976
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...
Nov. 26, 2014 09:00 PM EST Reads: 939
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,...
Nov. 26, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 970
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 26, 2014 05:45 PM EST Reads: 917
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.
Nov. 26, 2014 04:45 PM EST Reads: 625
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...
Nov. 26, 2014 04:45 PM EST Reads: 619
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...
Nov. 26, 2014 04:45 PM EST Reads: 640
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!
Nov. 26, 2014 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,006
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...
Nov. 26, 2014 03:45 PM EST Reads: 975
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect...
Nov. 26, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 1,470
High-performing enterprise Software Quality Assurance (SQA) teams validate systems that are ready for use - getting most actively involved as components integrate and form complete systems. These teams catch and report on defects, making sure the customer gets the best software possible. SQA teams have leveraged automation and virtualization to execute more thorough testing in less time - bringing Dev and Ops together, ensuring production readiness. Does the emergence of DevOps mean the end of E...
Nov. 25, 2014 11:30 PM EST Reads: 1,138
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using ...
Nov. 25, 2014 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,223
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...
Nov. 25, 2014 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,278
"Verizon offers public cloud, virtual private cloud as well as private cloud on-premises - many different alternatives. Verizon's deep knowledge in applications and the fact that we are responsible for applications that make call outs to other systems. Those systems and those resources may not be in Verizon Cloud, we understand at the end of the day it's going to be federated," explained Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at...
Nov. 25, 2014 09:00 PM EST Reads: 1,336
"For the past 4 years we have been working mainly to export. For the last 3 or 4 years the main market was Russia. In the past year we have been working to expand our footprint in Europe and the United States," explained Andris Gailitis, CEO of DEAC, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 25, 2014 08:15 PM EST Reads: 1,119
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. Acco...
Nov. 25, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,316
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
Nov. 25, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,007
"Cloud consumption is something we envision at Solgenia. That is trying to let the cloud spread to the user as a consumption, as utility computing. We want to allow the people to just pay for what they use, not a subscription model," explained Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 25, 2014 06:15 PM EST Reads: 981
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,...
Nov. 25, 2014 04:30 PM EST Reads: 1,318