Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Kevin Sparenberg

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

How Standardization Enables Specialization

Standardization at the application platform layer enables specialization of infrastructure resulting in greater economy of scale

In all versions of Dungeons and Dragons there is a nifty arcane spell for wizards called “Mirror Image.” What this nifty spell does is duplicates an image of the imagewizard. This is useful because it’s really hard for all those nasty orcs, goblins, and bugbears to tell which image is the real one. Every image does exactly what the “real” wizard does. The wizard is not impacted by the dismissal of one of the images; neither are the other images impacted by the dismissal of  other images. Each one is exactly the same and yet each one is viewed by its opponents as individuals entities. An illusion, of course, but an effective one.

In the past an “application” has been a lot like that wizard. It’s a single entity, albeit one that might be comprised of several tiers of functionality. cloud computing – specifically its ability to enable scale in an elastic manner - changes that dramatically, making an “application” more like a wizard plus all his mirror images than a single entity. This is the epitome of standardization at the platform layers and what ultimately allows infrastructure to specialize and achieve greater economies of scale.


ECONOMY of SCALE

Some of the benefits of cloud computing will only be achieved through standardization. Not the kind of standardization that comes from RFCs and vendor-driven specifications but the standardization that happens within the organization, across IT. It’s the standardization of the application deployment environment, for example, that drives economy of scale into the realm of manageable. If every JavaEE application is deployed on the same, standardized “image”, then automation becomes a simple, repeatable process of rolling out new images (provisioning) and hooking up the server in the right places to its supporting infrastructure. It makes deployment and ultimately scalability an efficient process that can be easily automated and thus reduce the operational costs associated with such IT tasks. This also results in a better economy of scale, i.e. the process doesn’t exponentially increase costs and time as applications scale.

But just because the application infrastructure may be standardized does not mean the applications deployed on those platforms are standardized. They’re still unique and may require different configuration tweaking to achieve optimal performance…which defeats the purpose of standardization and reverses the operational gains achieved. You’re right back where you started.

Unless you apply a bit of “application delivery magic.”


STANDARDIZATION ENABLES SPECIALIZATION

Many of the “tweaks” applied to specific application servers can be achieved through an application delivery platform. That’s your modern Load balancer, by the way, and it’s capable of a whole lot more than just load balancing. It’s the gatekeeper through which application messages must flow to communicate imagewith the application instances and when it’s placed in front of those images it becomes, for communications purposes, the application. That means it is the endpoint to which clients connect, and it, in turn, communicates with the application instances.

This gives the application delivery platform the strategic position necessary to provide application and network optimizations (tweaks) for all applications. Furthermore, it can apply application specific – not application platform specific, but application specific – optimizations and tweaks. That means you can standardize your application deployment platform across all applications because you can leverage a centralized, dynamic application delivery platform to customize and further optimize the application’s performance in a non-disruptive, transparent way.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but standardization at the application platform layer allows for specialization at the application delivery layer.

(Parenthetical aside: This is part of the nature of a dynamic infrastructure – the ability to determine on-demand what policies are applicable based on network, application, and client status and conditions)

The reason this is true is that some applications will need more security (and different kinds of security). Others need compression regardless of client-access conditions while others only need it under certain network conditions. Other applications can be much improved by the application of caching at the perimeter of the network, while others will only see small gains in performance that aren’t really worth the cost to provide the caching service. Some applications need to be integrated with corporate identity resources and others are stand-alone. Different applications need different application delivery services. Pushing application-specific delivery policy enablement and enforcement into the application delivery tier allows the applications to remain on standardized platforms while allowing only the application delivery services needed by the application – and the client – to be invoked.

That’s dynamic infrastructure; it’s pay for what you need (not pay for what you use or use what you need but a more efficient, flexible combination of the two models) and thus operationally and financially more efficient, resulting in benefits to all applications and clients.

What we want as a result of casting our “mirror image” spell on the data center, a.k.a. platform standardization, is to enable the rapid provisioning of application platforms and ultimately applications such that network automation can occur. But we don’t want to adversely impact performance, security, or delivery of those applications. By standardizing in the application platform layer we can then apply the principles of a dynamic infrastructure to ensure we can scale, secure, and keep available all instances of an application while maintaining the illusion that each one is a customized, specialized individual entity through specialization with dynamic application delivery policies.

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
"We were founded in 2003 and the way we were founded was about good backup and good disaster recovery for our clients, and for the last 20 years we've been pretty consistent with that," noted Marc Malafronte, Territory Manager at StorageCraft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
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.
"We focus on SAP workloads because they are among the most powerful but somewhat challenging workloads out there to take into public cloud," explained Swen Conrad, CEO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"As we've gone out into the public cloud we've seen that over time we may have lost a few things - we've lost control, we've given up cost to a certain extent, and then security, flexibility," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics,in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"DX encompasses the continuing technology revolution, and is addressing society's most important issues throughout the entire $78 trillion 21st-century global economy," said Roger Strukhoff, Conference Chair. "DX World Expo has organized these issues along 10 tracks with more than 150 of the world's top speakers coming to Istanbul to help change the world."
"Peak 10 is a hybrid infrastructure provider across the nation. We are in the thick of things when it comes to hybrid IT," explained , Chief Technology Officer at Peak 10, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are still a relatively small software house and we are focusing on certain industries like FinTech, med tech, energy and utilities. We help our customers with their digital transformation," noted Piotr Stawinski, Founder and CEO of EARP Integration, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SkyScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SkyScale is a world-class provider of cloud-based, ultra-fast multi-GPU hardware platforms for lease to customers desiring the fastest performance available as a service anywhere in the world. SkyScale builds, configures, and manages dedicated systems strategically located in maximum-securit...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
"We are an IT services solution provider and we sell software to support those solutions. Our focus and key areas are around security, enterprise monitoring, and continuous delivery optimization," noted John Balsavage, President of A&I Solutions, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...