|By Marten Terpstra||
|April 10, 2014 01:00 PM EDT||
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.]
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
Nov. 30, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 287
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. 30, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 562
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. 30, 2015 07:00 AM EST Reads: 466
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 30, 2015 07:00 AM EST Reads: 381
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
Nov. 30, 2015 05:30 AM EST Reads: 493
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. 30, 2015 05:15 AM EST Reads: 250
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. 30, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 607
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. 30, 2015 03:45 AM EST Reads: 438
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
Nov. 30, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 513
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. 30, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 448
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. 30, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 450
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. 30, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 451
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. 30, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 419
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. 29, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 257
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. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 488
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. 29, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 359
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
Nov. 29, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 424
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. 29, 2015 12:30 PM EST Reads: 429
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. 29, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 532
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 29, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 337