Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Sharon Barkai, Adrian Bridgwater, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, Linux, Virtualization, Web 2.0, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Why the Cloud Is Disrupting Everything

Cloud is accelerating disruption by changing how data centers deploy, develop & consume everything from software & hardware

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.[1] 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:

  1. 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.
  2. SDNs provide increased programmability that enables easier network scalability and system design and management
  3. 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.

OpenFlow
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.

Reference:

1.       Open Networking Foundation: "Software-Defined Networking: The New Norm for Networksm" April 13, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2013.

More Stories By Barbara Porter

Barbara Porter is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Emulex. She has been with Emulex since 2009, bringing more than 15 years of experience to the company. Prior to Emulex, she was product line manager at Quantum, and software marketing manager at MSC Software. Barbara holds of Bachelor of Commerce degree from Griffith University in Australia.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Cloud Expo Latest Stories
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 Expo, Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder at Aria Systems and the inventor of cloud billing panelists, will lead a panel discussion on what it takes to launch and manage a successful recurring revenue business. The panelists will offer their insights about what each department will need to consider, from financial management to line of business and IT. The panelists will also offer examples from their success in recurring revenue with companies such as Audi, Constant Contact, Experian, Pitney-Bowes, Teleko...
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 development arsenal and pick up a few strategies to apply to your own projects.
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.
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., the largest single medical system in the United States.
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? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
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 the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
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 right cloud model can help your business economically overcome the data struggle.
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 speaking proposal today!
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 device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
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 application transaction.
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 Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
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 build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
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 institutions across the United States and Canada. TechXtend is the Exclusive Reseller in the United States for r-evolution