Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie, Trevor Parsons, Rex Morrow, Datical, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: DevOps Journal, Java, Linux, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, SDN Journal

DevOps Journal: Blog Feed Post

Minimal (Network) Exposure

A lesson from object-oriented principles that should be applied to the network

One of the primary principles of object-oriented programming (OOP) is encapsulation. Encapsulation is the way in which the state of an object is protected from manipulation in a way that is not consistent with the way the variable is intended to be manipulated. The variable (state) is made private, that is to say only the object itself can change it directly. Think of it as the difference between an automatic transmission and a standard (stick). With the latter, I can change gears whenever I see fit. The problem is that when I see fit may not be appropriate to the way in which the gears should be shifted. Which is how engines end up being redlined.

An automatic transmission, on the other hand, encapsulates the process of shifting gears (changing the state of the engine) and only major transitions - reverse, park, drive, neutral - are accessible by the driver.

In an object-oriented paradigm, this is how the state of an object is isolated and protected from manipulation in a way that may introduce instability or cause other logical errors in processing. If we modeled a car using an OOP object it might look like this:

car-modeledThe actual code within each of the OPERATIONS can manipulate the STATE of the car, but it does so using well-defined rules. You can't just reach in and change the state without going through the OPERATORS. Period.

What this provides is the means to do logic and error checking, ensures consistency, and means that every other part of the system that might touch that object can be assured of the integrity of its state.

So, what does all that have to do with networking and infrastructure and DevOps and SDN and... ?

Quite a bit, actually.

One of the reasons SDN and DevOps, for that matter, is so critical to the next generation of data center architectures is its ability to centralize the state of the network. Right now it's all over the place. Literally. The state of any given network is not well known because it's distributed across every router, switch and layer 4-7 service that comprises "the network." It makes troubleshooting difficult, to say the least, and there's no good way to predict how a change in the state of the network will impact, well, the network.

An object oriented approach to the network, in general, says "let's centralize state, and provide a single interface through which it can be modified." In other words, there is a single authoritative source for the state of a network.

This is the approach that Cisco has taken with its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). It's the approach that OpenFlow-based SDN takes, and it's generally the approach that devops is taking to treating infrastructure as code. That's the theory. To realize this in practice requires that "the network" be API-enabled, to allow the dissemination of state and telemetry necessary for the authoritative source to maintain an accurate view of the state of the network.

The danger, however, is that we end up with a bunch of infrastructure and network devices that expose state via APIs through which operators and engineers end up directly manipulating configurations. Unfortunately, it is often the case that changing one single variable on a network device can be as devastating as opening Pandora's Box. Because of the way in which different devices relate policies and ACLs and routing tables to different objects - IP addresses, VLANs, etc... - a single change can have significant repercussions.

Similarly, the order in which various objects are configured can impact the overall stability and success of a configuration. By offering up a highly granular API and leaving consumers to their own devices (ha! pun not intended, but not regretted, either) they can easily shoot themselves (or their network) in the foot.

Providing a more policy, application-focused approach to provisioning and configuration reduces the possibility of these incidents and improves the stability and therefore reliability of the network services upon which applications rely. Encouraging engineers and operators to leverage application-driven provisioning and management rather than a line by line, API call by API call functional approach reduces the API surface area required and returns to exploiting encapsulation to preserve and protect network state by ensuring consistency in how that state is changed.

This software-defined, API-driven approach is a whole new world for networking and operations because it deviates from the direct touch world in more ways than just moving from CLIs to APIs.  It's also about encapsulation; about moving from standard transmissions to automatics and trusting that the manufacturer of the car does indeed know best how and when to shift from one gear to another.

hat_tip

H/T: This article on encapsulation in code is a good read that doesn't require a lot of understanding of development that may be of interest (and helpful) to operators and network engineers http://java.dzone.com/articles/evil-getters-and-setters-where

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
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In their General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate at SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, to discuss how to take advantage of a multitude of compute option...
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every appli...
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Exp...
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your de...
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e....
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? I...
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...
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the...
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speak...
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual C...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to bui...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic instit...
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.
The consumption economy is here and so are cloud applications and solutions that offer more than subscription and flat fee models and at the same time are available on a pure consumption model, which not only reduces IT spend but also lowers infrastructure costs, and offers ease of use and availability. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, will discuss this shifting dynamic with ...
The emergence of cloud computing and Big Data warrants a greater role for the PMO to successfully manage enterprise transformation driven by these powerful trends. As the adoption of cloud-based services continues to grow, a governance model is needed to orchestrate enterprise cloud implementations and harness the power of Big Data analytics. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mahesh Singh, President of BigData, Inc., to discuss how the Enterprise PMO takes center stage not only in developing th...
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research dat...