|By Derick Winkworth||
|August 6, 2014 06:00 AM EDT||
In networking, workflows are awfully complicated. There are many workflows, and the exact nature of each depends on a number of variables. What task comes next is often dependent on the outcome of the previous task, and there is a large amount of data to navigate sometimes to complete a workflow. Nevertheless, there plenty of opportunity to identify and automate common tasks and segments of workflows. Once we’ve identified these, we need to ask ourselves, how exactly should we automate them?
“Encapsulation” means a vendor (possibly a third party vendor) has written software that accomplishes the same thing the workflow does, but usually not the in the same linear way a customer would do it. Sub-components within an encapsulation have well-designed interfaces for the purpose of accomplishing the goal. The encapsulation would likely be written in Java or C. In networking, encapsulated workflows are usually specific to a vendor’s product and often lack flexibility and features. Encapsulated workflows will manifest as products or product features.
Consider the following workflow:
Figure 1 shows a simplified packet walkthrough for a device. Here, in the course of evaluating what is happening to a packet passing through this device, we have discovered a filter policy applied to the ingress interface. This policy has two terms, and each of these terms references an access-list. A network engineer would need to evaluate this filter policy to determine if it is doing something to the packets of interest. The thing is, policy languages have a great deal of expressiveness and grammar. They are also proprietary. After the filter policy is evaluated, this workflow follows the forwarding pipeline to the egress interface. If you are an expereinced network engineer, you will know that there are other elements in the pipeline that should be checked for any given network device. However, there is enormous variation in the structure of the pipeline from one platform to the next. Therefore, this is a great candidate for discrete encapsulation.* There are more effective ways of achieving the goal of a packet walkthrough than the way a network engineer must do it now (particularly for SDN products), and vendors know their platforms and policy idioms best.
*Discrete means it’s a workflow with a beginning and an end. It can be manually invoked by a user, and runs for a finite amount of time, reaching some conclusion.
A workflow automation, on the other hand, consists of sub-components that are “glued together.” These components were not built especially for automation, and the interfaces between these components were not designed for any particular workflow. Automations can be developed by the customer, and very frequently discrete automations are employed by network engineers. A great example here would be a script to configure the login banner on some number of devices. These automations are written in “softer” languages like Python or Perl.
There is a clear need for Continuous Automation in networking. Plexxi’s own DSE, now an integral part of the OpenStack Congress project, attempts to address this need. As the name implies, Continuous means it’s an on-going process. In the case of the Congress, it is a modular, event/data driven system. In an environment where there are a plethora of protocols and APIs, each with their own idiosyncracies, this kind of automation makes sense. Particularly in the context of an open-source community.
Curiously, some workflows may best be addressed by a combination of automation types. For instance, if a customer wanted to know what was going on in the network relative to a particular application, that workflow automation could use the packet walkthrough encapsulation of a vendor combined with an automation tool like the DSE to harvest network meta-data from external systems about application endpoints. This could yield a network map of the application’s endpoints along with visual indicators of issues in the network that could be impacting to the application. In this way, the network engineer could quickly and accurately gauge the health of the network in the context of an application versus engaging in a tedious and error-prone search “by hand.”
Customers, vendors, and open source communities should work togethor to make networking better. Identifying common workflows and determing the best way to automate them is a good first step. This will require vendors to think differently about how they develop their products, with their user’s needs in mind first. Traditionally, just getting a network feature to work and interoperate was the goal, but now we must consider how this feature fits into common workflows performed by network engineers.
[Fun fact: Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family. In spite of this, Broccoli tastes good. When someone offers you cabbage, they are insulting you.]
Log data provides the most granular view into what is happening across your systems, applications, and end users. Logs can show you where the issues are in real-time, and provide a historical trending view over time. Logs give you the whole picture. Logentries, a log management and analytics service built for the cloud, has announced a new integration with Slack, the team communication platform, to enable real-time system and application monitoring. Users of both services can now receive real-...
Jan. 29, 2015 10:45 PM EST Reads: 629
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Jan. 29, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 3,648
At 15th Cloud Expo, Shrikant Pattathil, Executive Vice President at Harbinger Systems, demos a video delivery platform that helps you do interactive videos. He discusses how Harbinger is accomplishing it in the cloud world, the problems they faced and the choices they made to get around these problems.
Jan. 29, 2015 09:15 PM EST Reads: 1,545
“Will Jaya is a direct source for server integration and storage solutions. If you are looking for any specific configurations for a project we can help you configure based on your needs and requirements," explained Netty Goya, CEO of Will Jaya, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 29, 2015 08:30 PM EST Reads: 1,608
“The year of the cloud – we have no idea when it's really happening but we think it's happening now. For those technology providers like Zentera that are helping enterprises move to the cloud - it's been fun to watch," noted Mike Loftus, VP Product Management and Marketing at Zentera Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 29, 2015 07:00 PM EST Reads: 2,235
“DevOps is really about the business. The business is under pressure today, competitively in the marketplace to respond to the expectations of the customer. The business is driving IT and the problem is that IT isn't responding fast enough," explained Mark Levy, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Serena Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 29, 2015 07:00 PM EST Reads: 2,484
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what th...
Jan. 29, 2015 06:15 PM EST Reads: 4,090
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science f...
Jan. 29, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 3,273
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness,...
Jan. 29, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 3,022
Entuity®, a provider of enterprise-class network management solutions, today announced that it solidifies its position as a market leader through global enterprise customer acquisitions and a refined channel strategy. In 2014, Entuity increased new license revenues in EMEA by over 75 percent, and LATAM by over 125 percent as customers embraced Entuity for its highly automated solution and unified architecture. Entuity’s refined channel strategy focuses on even deeper strategic alignment with ke...
Jan. 29, 2015 05:00 PM EST Reads: 495
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Jan. 29, 2015 03:30 PM EST Reads: 3,056
Cloud Technology Partners on Wednesday announced it has been recognized by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards as one of the Best Amazon Web Services (AWS) Consulting Partners. Selected by the editors of TechTarget's SearchDataCenter.com, and by votes from customers and strategic channel partners, the companies acknowledged by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards represent the top providers of cloud consulting services for AWS including application migration, application development, inf...
Jan. 29, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 1,474
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 29, 2015 02:45 PM EST Reads: 2,476
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 29, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 2,616
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 29, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 2,657
In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, John Meza, Product Engineer at Esri, showed how Esri products hook into Hadoop cluster to allow you to do spatial analysis on the spatial data within your cluster, and he demonstrated rendering from a data center with ArcGIS Pro, a new product that has a brand new rendering engine.
Jan. 29, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 1,697
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 his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your onlin...
Jan. 29, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 3,184
Software Defined Storage provides many benefits for customers including agility, flexibility, faster adoption of new technology and cost effectiveness. However, for IT organizations it can be challenging and complex to build your Enterprise Grade Storage from software. In his session at Cloud Expo, Paul Turner, CMO at Cloudian, looked at the new Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) market and how it is changing the storage world. Now Software Defined Storage companies can build Enterprise grade ...
Jan. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,328
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore's Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at Big Data Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, disc...
Jan. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 3,194
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by minin...
Jan. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 3,797