Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Talend Inc., SmartBear Blog, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Anders Wallgren

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

SDN Journal: Blog Feed Post

Bandwidth, Bandwidth, Bandwidth!

To really provision bandwidth efficiently you have to get inside the application

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.

http-the-new-tcp-f5All 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.

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
Father business cycles and digital consumers are forcing enterprises to respond faster to customer needs and competitive demands. Successful integration of DevOps and Agile development will be key for business success in today’s digital economy. In his session at DevOps Summit, Pradeep Prabhu, Co-Founder & CEO of Cloudmunch, covered the critical practices that enterprises should consider to seamlessly integrate Agile and DevOps processes, barriers to implementing this in the enterprise, and pr...
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.
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
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 & ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, 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. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
In most cases, it is convenient to have some human interaction with a web (micro-)service, no matter how small it is. A traditional approach would be to create an HTTP interface, where user requests will be dispatched and HTML/CSS pages must be served. This approach is indeed very traditional for a web site, but not really convenient for a web service, which is not intended to be good looking, 24x7 up and running and UX-optimized. Instead, talking to a web service in a chat-bot mode would be muc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, 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. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, 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. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
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...
Advances in technology and ubiquitous connectivity have made the utilization of a dispersed workforce more common. Whether that remote team is located across the street or country, management styles/ approaches will have to be adjusted to accommodate this new dynamic. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sagi Brody, Chief Technology Officer at Webair Internet Development Inc., focused on the challenges of managing remote teams, providing real-world examples that demonstrate what works and what do...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
As someone who has been dedicated to automation and Application Release Automation (ARA) technology for almost six years now, one of the most common questions I get asked regards Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Specifically, people want to know whether release automation is still needed when a PaaS is in place, and why. Isn't that what a PaaS provides? A solution to the deployment and runtime challenges of an application? Why would anyone using a PaaS then need an automation engine with workflow ...
Predictive analytics tools monitor, report, and troubleshoot in order to make proactive decisions about the health, performance, and utilization of storage. Most enterprises combine cloud and on-premise storage, resulting in blended environments of physical, virtual, cloud, and other platforms, which justifies more sophisticated storage analytics. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Peter McCallum, Vice President of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor, will discuss using predictive analytics to ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of 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, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...