Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Vincent Brasseur, Ignacio M. Llorente

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

DevOps Journal: Blog Feed Post

Application-Driven vs Feature-Driven Orchestration

One of the challenges in scaling modern data centers rises directly from an increase in network complexity

One of the challenges in scaling modern data centers rises directly from an increase in network complexity over the past few years. We can argue why complexity has increased, but it's reasonable to say that scaling data centers means more boxes - more servers, more network gear, more middle boxes - and every device (or service) you add increases the complexity of the topology and thus the operational overhead to manage it. Organizations agree - things are somewhat or substantially getting more complex.

changes in ntework complexity

Software-defined architectures attempt to answer this challenge (among several others) by operationalizing the network. By using APIs to orchestrate provisioning processes and enable the integration necessary to make use of actionable monitoring data generated by various systems across the data center, software-defined architectures accelerate application deployments and reduce risk by eliminating a source of error - manual configuration.

Now, you might think that's where it all ends. But it doesn't. Because the way in which an API is presented and used to enable automation and orchestration can actually introduce the very same complexity that it attempts to address in the first place.

There are basically two ways to approach provisioning and orchestration: application-driven or feature-driven.

Feature-Driven Orchestration

Feature-driven orchestration is so named because the granularity of the API is, basically, at a feature (or capability) level. What that means is that the API exposes individual configuration options and automation systems must invoke each one (often in the right order) to achieve the desired result.

Something like a simple load balancing service is simple only from the perspective of execution, not configuration. A load balancing service requires a virtual IP address (the end point to which clients connect), a pool of resources (each with their own IP addresses and potentially VLAN membership), an algorithm and any associated thresholds and metrics that may be required and health monitors to ensure compliance with availability and performance expectations.

You can imagine that, if the number of applications being load balanced by this service is large enough, that the number of repetitive steps required to configure the service will become as unwieldy as a manual configuration.

feature-driven-integrationThe same is true of other application services typically provided by the network, such as those concerned with performance, security and access. Each has a unique set of "steps" that must be performed in the right order to provision a service.

Feature-driven orchestration requires the provisioning engine (or orchestration system) to drive each and every step. That adds complexity to an already complex process, because you really are just tossing a thin veneer of "automation" over an existing method of configuration. Feature-driven orchestration is pretty much manual configuration (line by line) driven by a script. Instead of worrying about fat-fingering a parameter, now you have to worry about catching fifteen or twenty different exceptions and status results and handling them properly from a script.

Application-Driven Orchestration

Application-driven orchestration, on the other hand, takes advantage of constructs like service templates and policies to enable a less complex method of integration with provisioning and orchestration systems.

Rather than focus on encapsulating commands into API calls as is the case with feature-driven orchestration, application-driven orchestration focuses on aggregating only the data necessary to execute a provisioning workflow. This data is encoded in a policy or template and handed over to the service to be acted upon. The service takes the policy or template and manages the provisioning process internally, ensuring that the expected order of operations is followed and eliminating the need for operators to handle exceptions and corner cases and special status codes themselves.

Application-driven orchestration offers a safer and more efficient approach to provisioning.

application-driven-provisioning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An application-driven orchestration approach not only accelerates application deployment and maintains a lower risk profile but it also enables application migration across disparate environments.

Configuring a service in one environment, driven by a specific provisioning or orchestration engine, is a very specific task. Moving the application and the service to, say,a cloud environment would mean duplicating that same effort again with another provisioning or orchestration engine.

An application-driven approach that leverages templates and policies, on the other hand, can make it possible to migrate an application without incurring the cost and time associated with the repetitive integration work required by feature-driven orchestration. The policy or template can migrate with the application and easily be used to provision the same services - with the same characteristics - in the cloud environment, without incurring a whole lot of time or effort.

APis are a good thing. They're a key enabler of software-defined architectures like SDDC, cloud and SDN. But API-enabling infrastructure doesn't necessarily mean only on a checkbox and radio-button basis. That can be valuable but it can also lead to integration efforts that are just as complex (or more so) than their manual counterparts. A template or policy-based (application-driven) approach  coupled with an API through which to deliver and execute such constructs results in a much cleaner, more consistent and stable means of integrating provisioning processes into the greater software-defined architecture.

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
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective ...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water,...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device exp...
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...
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.
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,...