Welcome!

Open Source Authors: Pete Pickerill, Sematext Sematext, AppDynamics Blog, Skytap Blog, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

What networking can learn from CPUs

The rapid growth in compute demand is well understood. To keep up with accelerating requirements, CPUs have gone through a massive transformation over the years. Starting with relatively low-capacity CPUs, the expansion of capability to what is available today has certainly been remarkable – enough to satisfy even Gordon Moore. But keeping up with demand was not a matter of simply making bigger and faster chips. To get more capacity, we actually went smaller.

As it turns out, there are practical limitations to just scaling things larger. To get more capacity out of individual CPUs, we went from large single cores to multi-core processors. This obviously required a change in applications to take advantage of multiple cores. The result is a distributed architecture and the proliferation of “scale out” as a buzzword in our industry.

From an application perspective, the trend continues. Applications that require performance continue to move to multi-tiered applications that are distributed across a number of VMs. This is true for massive web-scale applications like Facebook, but also for other applications like MapReduce.

To get bigger, we get smaller

The technology trend is clear: to get more output, move to smaller blocks of capacity, and coordinate workloads across that capacity.

If this is true, then the future will be lots of small pools of resources that rely on the network for interconnectivity. As applications become more distributed, then performance between these pools becomes even more critical. Even small amounts of pool-to-pool latency can aggregate up into significant impacts, either because of interesting failure conditions with asynchronous operations or because of the cumulative performance impact.

As interconnectivity takes a larger role, we should expect the discussion of commoditization of network resources to expand. Today, there is a strong argument around commoditizing the switch hardware (largely via merchant silicon) and the switch operating system (through players like Cumulus, Big Switch, and Pica8). But massive distribution will require both a commoditized interconnect and a commoditized orchestration platform.

On the latter, it would seem that OpenDaylight is poised to lead the charge. With an industry-backed open source solution, it will be difficult to justify premium control products, which should be sufficient in driving that aspect of the solution towards commodity. But that still leaves the interconnect piece unaccounted for.

Getting to a cheaper interconnect

There is probably a case to be made for leaf-spine architectures here, but if the number of servers continues to expand, there are some ugly economics at play. Scaling out in a leaf-spine architecture requires scaling up at the same time. As the interconnect demands increase, the number of spine switches increases. You eventually get into spines of spines, which starts to look an awful like like traditional three-tier architectures.

The sheer number of devices and cables drive the cost unfavorably. And when you consider the long-term operational costs tied to power, cooling, space, and management, it’s unclear where the budgetary breaking point is. Beyond just the costs, the other issue here is that every time a new layer is added, you add a couple of more fabric switch hops. If application performance is based on both capacity and latency, then every time you add switch hops, you incur a potentially heavy performance penalty.

At some point, you need to move away from multi-hop connectivity through the fabric.

Moving away from multi-hop fabrics

Instinctively, we already know this. There is already a tendency to rack gear up in close proximity to other gear to which it is tied. You might, for example, balance Hadoop loads across a number of servers that are in the same rack. Essentially, what we are doing in these cases is acknowledging that proximity matters, and we are statically designing for it.

But what happens when things aren’t static?

In a datacenter where applications are portable across servers, the network capacity cannot be statically planned. And as application requirements change (often dynamically as load changes), then the network capacity demands will also change. This requires an interconnect that is both high in capacity and dynamic.

This problem is slightly different than the compute problem. On the compute side, it was enough to free up resources (or create additional ones) and then move the application to the resource. In this case, the application is fixed, which means the capacity has to move to the application. When capacity is statically allocated, this poses a problem.

The bottom line

The only solutions here are to either over provision everything, or move towards a dynamic interconnect. The first is counter to the trends we learn from compute – make things smaller and more distributed. In this case you get out of the problem by paying for it. The question is whether this flies in the face of all the commoditization trends. What good is commoditizing something if the end solution requires buying a ton more? You would have to see cost declines match capacity increases, but this seems unlikely as there is no upper limit for capacity whereas cost will asymptotically approach some profit threshold.

If the trends in compute and storage hold true for networking, then the current trajectory of some networking solutions will need to change. Learning from the past is a great way to shape the future.

[Today’s fun fact: Lobster was one of the main entrees at the first Thanksgiving dinner. They also had Cheddar Bay Biscuits I think.]

The post What networking can learn from CPUs appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

@ThingsExpo Stories
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
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, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., 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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...