|By Michael Bushong||
|April 2, 2014 06:00 AM EDT||
What role does the concept of a “network fabric” play in the march towards commoditization of networking? Well, let’s discuss!
The Whole Shebang
There can be no doubt that an organization’s relationship to networking is to the aggregate thing they call “the network.” When there are issues, non-network folks say wonderfully vague things like “The network is dropping packets!” or “I can’t login… must be the network.” This intuition, to think about the network as a whole, rather than as a collection of systems, is right: Collectively, the network is supposed to produce desirable aggregate behavior.
This is an important clue as to how networking will evolve in the future. SDN is a step in this direction. Intelligent software will undoubtedly coordinate the actions of the underlying constituent systems, on behalf of an operator or an application, to achieve some policy goals. This software need not exist solely in the form of a network controller. Indeed, here at Plexxi, our switches can coordinate on their own to achieve aggregate behavior. This is why you can stand up a Plexxi network, and pass traffic, without the need for a centralized controller.
A network fabric should have the goal of managing network workloads according to a higher-level policy. However, many fabrics do not do this. They may have some desirable fabric features, but for edge policies operators must still log into individual devices to achieve their goals. This, of course, is the fundamental problem of networking that SDN hopes to solve: Let intelligent software perform these menial tasks, and let the organization, or the operator, express network-wide policy to the software.
The Value of the Network
What is the value of the network? Fundamentally, the network has one feature that matters: paths. The job the network, first and foremost, is to facilitate the movement of data between it’s edges. The more paths a network has, the better. We even see this in leaf-and-
Administrative, control, voice, video, bulk, and garbage are just some of the workload types requiring different treatment in the network. When you have fewer paths in the network, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage workload conflict that arises when multiple types of traffic converge on an egress interface. Quality-of-Service has always represented a sort of white flag of surrender before conflict even occurs, and let’s be honest, it’s been an absolute nightmare to manage on the ground. Aggregate flow characteristics change throughout the day (burstiness, packet size distribution, differing workload types), making static policies difficult to implement. The best you can hope for is a policy that represents the lowest-common denominator compromise.
Even when you have multiple paths in the network, it’s virtually impossible to manage and move differing workload types. How frustrating it has been that spanning-tree cut the usable bandwidth down drastically in the data center. Even if we could use it, how to move only some workloads? Imagine doing this when you have multiple types of workloads just within HTTP! Transferring files, web traffic, API calls for automation systems… all in the same encapsulation.
QoS is obviously the product of legacy network thinking: Fewer paths and indiscriminate workload placement, resulting from the erroneous belief that universal reachability for packets is the primary goal of the network. Build just enough paths to be redundant, put the routes in… and hope for the best. Are we done being amazed that we can make packets go yet? Can’t we do better than making a sequel to “The Hangover” because we can ping? Aren’t we tired of failing to deal with the complexity of networking as a whole? Then let’s stop using legacy stuff to accomplish our goals.
The value of the network goes up as more paths are added. However, the old way of workload placement in the network, as well as the old way of handling workload conflict, just isn’t going to be manageable by hand. Adding value to the network should be as simple as adding paths, and adding paths should actually be simple both physically and logically. A commodity network means lots of paths, which are the primary value of the network to begin with. It also means intelligent software that manages the many types of workloads on the network by distributing them across those paths. That same software will present an intuitive policy interface to humans who just want “the network” to work.
Where does that leave the current trend of some companies seeking to commoditize on legacy networking? Well, like cloud, it would seem that many folks are banking on the idea that IT is done evolving. Including networking! Obviously, this is not the case. What we are experiencing right now is the “big crunch” of IT. If the mainframe represented some primordial IT state that exploded into the constituent pieces of the IT universe, like the big bang of tech, then the data center of the future represents the big crunch of these pieces. Lots of intermediate layers will disappear, from the guest OS of a VM, to maybe even the IP protocol! Will linux-based switches and routers with a subset of legacy network features really have a role here? Perhaps in the short-term, but not for long.
Intuitive network fabrics are the true start down the path of commoditization, making the real value of the network directly and easily manageable.
[Fun fact: One time, I drove a bulldozer into a pond. People get really mad when you do that. Also, it makes the bulldozer inoperable. Hmmm... if only there had been a "path" around the pond.]
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Jul. 1, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 787
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Jul. 1, 2016 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 739
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jul. 1, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 527
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
Jul. 1, 2016 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 781
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profession...
Jul. 1, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 631
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Jul. 1, 2016 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 235
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
Jul. 1, 2016 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 308
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Jul. 1, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,420
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Jul. 1, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 326
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Jul. 1, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,047
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Jul. 1, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 699
Apixio Inc. has raised $19.3 million in Series D venture capital funding led by SSM Partners with participation from First Analysis, Bain Capital Ventures and Apixio’s largest angel investor. Apixio will dedicate the proceeds toward advancing and scaling products powered by its cognitive computing platform, further enabling insights for optimal patient care. The Series D funding comes as Apixio experiences strong momentum and increasing demand for its HCC Profiler solution, which mines unstruc...
Jul. 1, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 685
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Jul. 1, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 655
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Jul. 1, 2016 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 573
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Jul. 1, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,097
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Jul. 1, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 529
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Jul. 1, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,198
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Jul. 1, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 693
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
Jul. 1, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 811
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
Jul. 1, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 816