|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.]
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
May. 25, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,844
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
May. 25, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,100
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
May. 25, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,121
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
May. 25, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 906
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
May. 25, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,471
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
May. 25, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,160
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
May. 25, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 901
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
May. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 839
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
May. 25, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 384
SYS-CON Events announced today that 24Notion has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. 24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to con...
May. 25, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,708
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
May. 25, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,440
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 25, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,049
Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) will feature the upcoming 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in a New York news documentary about the "New IT for the Future." The documentary will cover how big companies are transmitting or adopting the new IT for the future and will be filmed on the expo floor between June 7-June 9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. KBS has long been a leader in the development of the broadcasting culture of Korea. As the key public service broadcaster of Korea...
May. 25, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,718
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss 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). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
May. 25, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,165
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
May. 24, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,682
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
May. 24, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,871
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, panelists will discuss the vast to...
May. 24, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,373
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
May. 24, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,700
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
May. 24, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,101
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
May. 24, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,880