|By Barbara Porter||
|August 20, 2014 11:45 PM EDT||
Is it just me, or has there been an explosion of buzz words lately? Don't get me wrong, the IT industry innovates at a crazy pace normally, but it seems that things have been evolving faster than ever and that a fundamental change in the way things are done is underway. We can attribute this change to one thing: the cloud. Cloud computing is by no means new, but in 2014 it has come into its own.
Cloud computing is accelerating disruption by changing how data centers deploy, develop and consume everything from software and hardware, to how they offer products and services to their customers.
Let's take a look at a few of these hot technologies and why you'll be adopting some of them, whether you realize it now or not.
Software-Defined Networking (SDN) - What Is It Anyway?
There are many different descriptions of SDN floating around, partly because this is relatively new technology, and it means different things to different vendors. Until the market matures, this confusion will probably persist, at least for a while. The following explanation provides a good foundation for understanding SDN.
SDN decouples the system that makes decisions about where traffic is sent (the control plane) from the underlying systems that forward traffic to the selected destination (the data plane). The inventors and vendors of these systems claim that this simplifies networking. Through the controller, network administrators can quickly and easily make and push out decisions on how the underlying systems (switches, routers) of the forwarding plane will handle the traffic.
SDN requires some method for the control plane to communicate with the data plane. One such mechanism, OpenFlow, is often misunderstood to be equivalent to SDN, but other mechanisms could also fit into the concept.
By separating the control plane from the forwarding planes, data centers can reduce costs and provide better agility, and who wouldn't want or need that? It does this by:
- Reducing reliance on expensive purpose-built, ASIC-based networking hardware and associated pay-as-you-grow models that often result in costly overprovisioning. In other words, you can unlock more value from your network.
- SDNs provide increased programmability that enables easier network scalability and system design and management
- Agility and flexibility. Everybody needs it, everybody wants it, SDN can deliver it. SDN enables organizations to quickly deploy new infrastructure, applications, and services faster than a traditional network would allow.
Often people use OpenFlow and SDN interchangeably, but they are not the same. OpenFlow is only a one element in the overall SDN architecture. OpenFlow is an open standard for a communications protocol that enables the control plane to interact with the forwarding plane. As an open standard it's steered by the OpenFlow Consortium. OpenFlow is not the only protocol available or in development for SDN. The open source network OS, ONOS, led by The Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab) is another option.
Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)
This is another term that can mean different things to different people, depending on the industry. For our purposes, we'll focus on what it means to the telecom industry. To understand what has propelled the development of NVF, let's take a look at how the telecom industry has traditionally deployed their networks. For more than 30 years, telecoms have been relying on specially built systems, some of which saw them developing their own ASICs (via Cisco, F5 or Juniper) and proprietary operating systems (Cisco IOS, for example), and then having that technology built into base stations, routers and Ethernet switches, all optimized for their use. The proprietary nature of all of this translates into very expensive systems and slower development cycles.
Fast forward to today's NFV initiative, which is spearheaded by several of the major telecommunications service providers. The value of NFV is in creating a standards-based approach to virtualizing key telecom applications, radically changing the way telecom networks are built and managed. By doing this, NFV enables those apps to run on industry standard servers. And that of course translates into big cost savings and more flexibility than was previously possible.
What has made NVF suitable for use with commercial off-the shelf (COTS) equipment are the advances made in underlying technology including SDN, faster fabrics (40Gb Ethernet), and more powerful processors.
NFV can be implemented without SDN, although the two solutions can work together. NFV is able to support SDN by providing the infrastructure upon which the SDN software can be run. Both technologies share a common objective, and that is to run on lower cost COTS servers and switches.
Source: etsi.org, whitepaper, Network Functions Virtualization: An Introduction, Benefits, Enablers, Challenges & Call for Action, Oct. 2012
The OpenCompute Project (OCP)
The OCP is a Facebook-led initiative to build computing infrastructures that are energy efficient, easily scalable and low cost. The initiative was born out of the design and build of the massive Facebook data center based in Prineville, Oregon. Following in the footsteps of open source software, the OpenCompute designs are open, shared and available for all to use. The OCP includes software, servers, storage, networking, and data center designs. By utilizing OCP open hardware designs, the OCP claims the Facebook Prineville data center delivered 38 percent better efficiency and was 24 percent less expensive to build and run than other state-of-the-art data centers that use proprietary components. Pretty compelling stuff.
As you can see, there are recurring themes spanning all the aforementioned technologies. In case you missed them: low-cost, energy efficient, non-proprietary, open, scalable, flexible, and agile. Even if you are not looking at redesigning your data center now, you may need to in order to stay competitive.
No matter what technology you choose to deploy, one thing is for sure, the cloud is stressing I/O and I/O bottlenecks will be shifted from where they are today. The further away you get from processing, latency becomes more of a challenge. To plan for the barrage of new technology that's coming your way, look for technologies that reduce latency such as RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE). Also seek out solutions that enable flexible usage of resources and that don't lock you into long-term commitments such as specialized appliances, infrastructure and proprietary software so that you are in a better position to take advantage of new innovations as they become available. Now strap yourself in and get ready for the ride.
1. Open Networking Foundation: "Software-Defined Networking: The New Norm for Networksm" April 13, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, discussed how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He also discussed how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors ...
Jun. 26, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 762
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Jun. 26, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 998
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
Jun. 26, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 597
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Jun. 26, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 530
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, a Developer Advocate with IBM Cloud Data Services, discussed...
Jun. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 750
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Jun. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 688
Digital Initiatives create new ways of conducting business, which drive the need for increasingly advanced security and regulatory compliance challenges with exponentially more damaging consequences. In the BMC and Forbes Insights Survey in 2016, 97% of executives said they expect a rise in data breach attempts in the next 12 months. Sixty percent said operations and security teams have only a general understanding of each other’s requirements, resulting in a “SecOps gap” leaving organizations u...
Jun. 26, 2016 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 982
SaaS companies can greatly expand revenue potential by pushing beyond their own borders. The challenge is how to do this without degrading service quality. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Adam Rogers, Managing Director at Anexia, discussed how IaaS providers with a global presence and both virtual and dedicated infrastructure can help companies expand their service footprint with low “go-to-market” costs.
Jun. 26, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 785
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Jun. 25, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,552
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Jun. 25, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,027
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jun. 25, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 990
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Jun. 25, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 888
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Jun. 25, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,233
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
Jun. 25, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 582
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Jun. 25, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,178
"SpeedyCloud's specialty lies in providing cloud services - we provide IaaS for Internet and enterprises companies," explained Hao Yu, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jun. 25, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 734
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,196
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,296
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices 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 opportuni...
Jun. 25, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,247
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
Jun. 25, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 835