|By Lori MacVittie||
|September 20, 2013 09:15 AM EDT||
One of the most commonly cited use cases for SDN (the classical, architectural definition) centers on ensuring quality of service for applications, usually by adjusting bandwidth constraints and prioritization, sometimes dynamically based on the operating conditions present on the network.
In such a scenario the application magically informs the SDN controller of its bandwidth and service-level requirements and the controller adjusts the network and distributes the appropriate flow tables to the network fabric to support the application.
This is a great vision, but it is not without challenges.
The most significant obstacle is actually not getting the application to talk to the SDN controller. Northbound APIs could be used for this purpose, or some other API-based mechanism that is used to instruct the controller on application specific requirements. Let's not rat hole on that and assume that this is easily enough accomplished.
At this point the SDN controller has some requirements dictated by an application. Given the way in which an SDN controller distributes forwarding information to the network fabric, one has to ask how the SDN controller will represent the requirements of the application and, more importantly, how it will distribute those requirements.
Assuming a classical SDN architecture and the use of OpenFlow or a protocol similar in capability, the flow table in the network fabric will only be able to distinguish packets on a per-IP / port combination. Let's assume that's an accurate representation of the overall topology; that is, every application has a distinct IP / port combination. That means the SDN controller can, in fact, push flow table rules that are able to provision the appropriate bandwidth for those application flows as well enforce prioritization (if that's needed, too).
So far so good. You're thinking I'm barking up a pedantic tree or something, aren't here? Nope, here comes a significant problem starting with the question: How does the application define its need for bandwidth?
"Applications" today are comprised of a variety of functions and capabilities ranging from the delivery of simple text to dozens of images to embedded multi-media to video (and probably a few others I'm missing). The bandwidth needs of video is different from text is different from images is different for real-time messaging applications. Sensitivity to latency, throughput, bandwidth - these characteristics are peculiar to content-types, not the application itself (capabilities of the client-side network and device not withstanding, either). Given an application will varying - sometimes wildly - content types and requirements, should it simply request from the network the highest throughput and lowest latency required of all content being delivered? That's terribly inefficient.
HTTP is the new TCP
At the root of the problem is the reality that HTTP is the new TCP, with a significant percentage (62% in our research) of applications all using HTTP. A smaller percentage of those applications use port 8080 and port 443, but are still HTTP. In an increasingly API-enabled application world, the best chance we have to profile bandwidth needs for an "application" is at the URI level.
All the interesting application-layer stuff is going on above layer 7 (HTTP) or more precisely within layer 7, in the payload (and across multiple packets and flows, but that's a different discussion). To really define the specific bandwidth needs of an application you have to look at the content being delivered. In many cases that content-type can be deduced from clues in the URI (file extensions like JPG, PNG, CSS, etc...) or extracted from the HTTP header Content-Type, which spells it out. In either case, you must be able to inspect and evaluate data in the HTTP payload, not merely IP and TCP parameters.
The biggest problem is that the current SDN architectural model, which focuses heavily on packet and flow-based processing, does not have the depth of visibility necessary to properly distinguish content type within an application and thus apply routing and forwarding policies based on each content type's unique requirements. An application delivering both video (a plurality of video is delivered via HTTP today, and it's increasing rapidly) and text will either need to be optimized for one or the other, but not both. The same is true for images, and even for different delivery models (push, pull, real-time, static) of text-based information.
To do that you need visibility into the application, down to the payload in some cases. That's just not a capability that the classical SDN architecture today is able to provide, for a variety of reasons. Current SDN architectures assume visibility and action on L2-4 only. Unfortunately the data necessary is at and above L7.
Ultimately the answer to this conundrum is to include L7 capable data path elements in the SDN architecture. The standard L2-3 SDN fabric can then optimally route packets through the network based on general, application-oriented network requirements while allowing the L7 aware data path elements the ability to do what they do best: inspect, analyze, evaluate and even modify (optimize) application messages in order to optimally deliver data to the end-user.
Application awareness, as it's often referred to, is not enough. To really ensure the network - and thus SDN - is able to offer application-specific services in the network requires application fluency. And application fluency isn't something you find by peeking at packets from layer 2-4. You've got to go deeper - to layer 7 and beyond.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Nov. 25, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 376
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Nov. 25, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 327
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 25, 2015 09:00 PM EST Reads: 359
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Nov. 25, 2015 08:30 PM EST Reads: 361
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company Logz.io. In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
Nov. 25, 2015 06:45 PM EST Reads: 138
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Nov. 25, 2015 04:15 PM EST Reads: 475
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
Nov. 25, 2015 03:45 PM EST
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:45 PM EST Reads: 493
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Nov. 25, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 505
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 352
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 511
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
Nov. 25, 2015 01:45 PM EST
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 25, 2015 01:30 PM EST Reads: 465
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving t...
Nov. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 364
There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content. Join @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indespensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.
Nov. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 517
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Nov. 25, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 429
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 25, 2015 09:45 AM EST Reads: 115
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Nov. 25, 2015 09:30 AM EST Reads: 266
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 268
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Nov. 25, 2015 08:15 AM EST Reads: 350