Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: John Walsh, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Sven Olav Lund, Simon Hill

Related Topics: @DXWorldExpo, Containers Expo Blog, SDN Journal

@DXWorldExpo: Blog Post

Pay Attention to Big Data By @MartenT1999 | @BigDataExpo [#BigData]

Big Data Application folks have a pretty good understanding of the role of the network

Network Engineers, Pay Attention to Big Data

You have probably realized we are having a Big Data kind of week here at the Plexxi blog. And for good reason. The amount of development and change in this big bucket of applications we conveniently label “Big Data”, is astonishing.

Walking around at Hadoopworld in New York last week, I initially felt somewhat lost as a “networking guy”. But that feeling of “not belonging” is only superficial, the network has a tremendously important role in these applications. The challenge is that many “networking” folks don’t quite understand or realize that yet, but contrary to what I believed not too long ago, Big Data Application folks have a pretty good understanding of the role of the network in their overall application and its performance.

As an industry we have been talking about the increase in east-west traffic for quite a few years now. For your typical datacenter infrastructure today this is based on loosely coupled applications and semi-distributed storage. A web based application has many components that together make up the application we see as users. There are application load balancers, web server front ends, application back ends that in turn have databases for their data storage. And those databases may have local or more likely centralized or semi-distributed physical storage. Then these storage systems have replication and backup components. All of these interactions we have traditionally labeled east-west, this is all traffic inside the datacenter required to pass the appropriate data back to the application user. Whether that is a person or another application.

The communication patterns in more traditional distributed applications like these are fairly straightforward to understand. Some basic measurements and profiling should give you a pretty decent view of how each of the components of the application behaves, how they interact and what the network requirements are between them. The application developers may not necessarily be able to provide you with exact needs and guidance before a deployment, but the applications, once they have gone through at least one scaling and performance adjustment cycle, will typically fall into a specific pattern that will be fairly consistent for the life of the application. And the job of the network engineer is to ensure that the network provides appropriate connectivity for these communication patterns.

Big Data applications bring these east-west concepts to new levels. They are designed to run in a parallel or distributed system. They depend on moving extremely large amounts of data through the compute infrastructure. They are built with the assumption that data and computation is continually distributed and replicated across members of a big data cluster. Many of these applications are built to tackle a multitude of different data analysis jobs. Each of them different in its data set, its data reduction behaviors and therefore different in what it wants or needs from the network. For that, you need a much more dynamic network than the ones your have built in the past.

Many Big Data deployments today are built on top of 1GbE networks. It is easy to draw the conclusion that therefore the network is not an issue. And it’s probably the biggest mistake to make. It is easy to think of Big Data projects as compute intensive analysis and reductions of extremely large amounts of data. In reality, many big data applications are semi-real time streaming data based. Each piece of data may require only a fairly small amount of computation, but the sheer amount of data requires new levels of connectivity we may not be used to.

Last week at Hadoopworld I had an interesting chat with someone that worked for an Ad Tech company. Ad Tech is a fast growing sub industry in marketing and advertising, focused on digital advertising and marketing. This gentleman asked us about some of the performance characteristics of a Plexxi network. When we asked him for some more details of his deployment, he explained that he manages a big data cluster of about 200 servers and that with the switches he uses today (from one of our competitors and certainly at the top end of expected performance), he can only populate about half of the switch’s available port before congestion becomes an issue. His cluster fairly consistently pushes 700 Gbit to 1 Tbit per second across the racks. There are very very few network infrastructures out there that are specifically designed and built to support those types of applications.

(I can already hear someone say: “why wouldn’t he use a big chassis based switch in the middle of the network for 200 devices”. If as a network industry we believe our answer is to create ever larger centralized switches then we have not learned from all the industries around us in that same datacenter).

The answer is also not the often heard “just throw more bandwidth at the problem”. This Ad Tech company is a prime example of how we need to evolve our thinking in how we support these new applications. We have to stop pretending to be able to support new application infrastructures with new demands, needs and requirements with the same network we have been building for years. The applications are evolving. Servers, storage and how they are being used is evolving. Network engineers need to dive into this whole new world of Big Data Applications. It’s scary, there are many new acronyms and names you will not recognize. If you thought the network world was creative in naming of things, the application folks have us beat, hands down.

Don’t be afraid of these new applications. They are coming whether you like it or not. Embrace them, understand them as best you can. Then sit back and think about what the network can do for them. You have an ability to significantly impact their ability to perform. But you may have to put traditional thinking aside and step out of the box that has provided so much comfort for so many years. It will be worth it.

 

[Today's fun fact: The first penny had the motto "Mind your business." Can we bring those pennies back please?]

The post Network Engineers, Pay Attention to Big Data appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Marten Terpstra

Marten Terpstra is a Product Management Director at Plexxi Inc. Marten has extensive knowledge of the architecture, design, deployment and management of enterprise and carrier networks.

@CloudExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo 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 ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...