Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Vincent Brasseur, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Virtualization, Cloud Expo

SDN Journal: Blog Post

Different Shades of Invisible

We need to get to a network that is invisible enough to allow you to create coarse provisioning policies

We love analogies. No matter what the topic, analogies are a great way to explain something in a different context to make a specific point with a frame of reference that may be more familiar to those we are making a point to. There is one that seems to come back over and over again in our industry, the one that compares the network to the power grid, network connections to power plugs.  I had not heard it for a while but at Interop last week, I heard it used twice in booth demonstrations as part of plug and play pitches. And I really do not like that analogy.

The comparison to power comes from the angle of it just being there and available. Plug something in and it turns on. Its universal and it’s simple, anyone can use it. It’s highly standardized, you can buy bits and pieces that work together in any hardware store. It’s reliable. You just get a bill each month, pay it, and in many places you can even pick your provider different from the owner of the cable that actually plugs into your house. It’s all good, it’s mostly invisible.

Except that all of these come with their own challenges. The overall power grid reliability is well below 99.99%. Across the US, the average outage minutes per year is hovering in the 2 hour range, in the Northeast almost double that. There are only very people I know that do not have a backup generator, just in case, and get to use it at least once a year, ignoring the smaller outages where we just live in the dark for a few minutes. It is very standardized, with plenty of standard variations from country to country, thank goodness for $30 converters. And the cost, well, it’s rising faster than inflation (almost twice as fast in fact).

Now, this article is not meant to be a complaining session about power. When power works and you forget about the bill, it is very much invisible, which is the only piece of the analogy I do like, maybe.

Networks should be invisible, but not in the same sense power should be invisible. When comparing networks to power it always comes down to “it’s just there, plentiful, accessible, and just works”. And (not surprising), I think the network can do much better than “just be there”. Networks need to migrate away from an entity that is architected, designed, implemented, managed and debugged separately from the applications it serves. Networks have to become an integral part of the application infrastructure.

Now, any two (or more) distinctly different entities need to be glued together. No different for applications, servers and networks. Applications are glued to servers by means of the OS. As a consumer of an application, or even an administrator, the amount of work you have to do to put these two together is (usually) fairy minimal. The creator of the OS has provided tons of hooks and tools to give the application what it needs, the application provides to and asks what it wants from the OS.

The glue between the server and the network is much harsher, much less refined. There is an expectation of matching configuration, very little is actually transacted between the two to get them to work together nicely. Yes there is DHCP and perhaps you can even count LLDP in that, but the amount of alignment of information between the two so they can work together seamlessly without human intervention is minimal. And if something is not quite working the way it should, you need heavily certified network engineers and tons of homegrown tools and scripts to figure out why. That is by no means a knock on network certifications (that is for @cloudtoad to comment on), but it should not be that hard. The exchange is extremely focused on data plane traffic for transportation, very little provisioning, debug and other feedback is exchanged and reacted to.

We need to get to a network that is invisible enough to allow you to create coarse provisioning policies created from application templates. There should be no need for me to configure individual ports and protocols on ports. There should be no need for me to configure how network components are tied together and provide optimized connectivity based on the needs of its customers. The network needs to provide debugging tools that interact with applications in feedback loops. It needs to provide enough details for orchestration systems to adjust their placement of apps. Or in Plexxi’s case, take in information from orchestration systems to change the L1, L2 and L3 behavior of the network to the requested demand. And that orchestration system could be a specialized Hadoop controller or a far more generic cloud orchestrator.

The network needs to cease to exist as a separate entity, it needs to become an integrated part of the application infrastructure that uses its services. That’s the kind of invisible we need to achieve.

[Today's Fun Fact: An Iranian man paid $500 to a wizard to become invisible. The man then walked into a bank and grabbed money from people's hands believing he was invisible. He was promptly arrested and convicted. Conclusion: pay more or pick a better wizard next time.]

The post Different shades of invisible 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
High-performing enterprise Software Quality Assurance (SQA) teams validate systems that are ready for use - getting most actively involved as components integrate and form complete systems. These teams catch and report on defects, making sure the customer gets the best software possible. SQA teams have leveraged automation and virtualization to execute more thorough testing in less time - bringing Dev and Ops together, ensuring production readiness. Does the emergence of DevOps mean the end of E...
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 Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
"Verizon offers public cloud, virtual private cloud as well as private cloud on-premises - many different alternatives. Verizon's deep knowledge in applications and the fact that we are responsible for applications that make call outs to other systems. Those systems and those resources may not be in Verizon Cloud, we understand at the end of the day it's going to be federated," explained Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at...
"For the past 4 years we have been working mainly to export. For the last 3 or 4 years the main market was Russia. In the past year we have been working to expand our footprint in Europe and the United States," explained Andris Gailitis, CEO of DEAC, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. Acco...
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
"Cloud consumption is something we envision at Solgenia. That is trying to let the cloud spread to the user as a consumption, as utility computing. We want to allow the people to just pay for what they use, not a subscription model," explained Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We help companies that are using a lot of Software as a Service. We help companies manage and gain visibility into what people are using inside the company and decide to secure them or use standards to lock down or to embrace the adoption of SaaS inside the company," explained Scott Kriz, Co-founder and CEO of Bitium, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, p...