Welcome!

Linux Authors: Ignacio M. Llorente, Trevor Parsons, Tad Anderson, Andrew Phillips, Pat Romanski

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

SDN Journal: Article

DIY vs DIFY Networking

If you were to base your guess on industry chatter, you would have to conclude that DIY has the upper hand

There is probably never going to be a perfect balance in the industry between Do-it-yourself (DIY) and Do-it-for-you (DIFY) networking. It seems exceedingly unlikely that there is a one-size-fits-all type of solution out there. And so we will invariably end up with a bifurcated market that requires multiple solutions for its constituents. But if there is not a perfect balance, which one of these is likely to see the most action?

If you were to base your guess on industry chatter, you would have to conclude that DIY has the upper hand.

There is a ton of momentum right now with both SDN and bare metal switching. On the SDN front, it is all about orchestration and automation. The ability to streamline customized workflows is attractive, especially for the large IT shops that sink tens of millions of dollars into managing their monstrosities. Once you get into anything that is customized, there is a degree of DIY-ness that is required. No product is designed expressly for your particular environment, so you need to the ability to customize what you buy to do what you want. Beyond that, there is an awful lot of talk about APIs and programmability.

Bare metal switching is a different initiative with different objectives that end up in a similar DIY framework. The move towards a more server-like environment allows users to customize their switching solution. There is great power in having absolute control over how a device behaves. It allows users to pick and choose tools they are already familiar with, extending their functionality into the networking realm.

However, the challenge in using industry dialogue to conclude where things will end up is that the chatter does not always match exactly the buying patterns. Indeed, public discourse most typically leads broad deployment – sometimes by several years or more (think IPv6, Internet of Things, or even electric vehicles).

The DIY movement in networking is real, but what is it about? The ability to tailor specific networking applications to the infrastructure is about eking out performance or customizing experience. It is about modifying a base set of functionality to fit better into your specific context.

For this to matter, you have to be pushing the envelope in terms of performance or capability. But the truth is that the bulk of the networking space is simply not there. Their issues are not in customization. They want to be spending less time with the network, not more. The problem they need solved is more about operating their infrastructure and less about creating substrates to connect it all together in some unique configuration.

But you don’t hear from these people in industry forums and on social media. They lack the interest, time, and sometimes confidence to express a point of view that is less visionary and more functional. As a result, we only hear one side of the story. It plays out in blogs, on Twitter, in press articles, and on conferences stages. And with every word and unapproachable idea, we collectively push the majority of users further into the background.

The solution here isn’t to retreat from change. But we need to make sure that new technology is usable for the legions of people for whom the network is primarily a means of enabling their business. We need to advance with equal enthusiasm DIFY networking.

So why don’t we do this naturally as an industry?

There are two major dynamics at play. First, incumbents tend to be capability-driven. Customer X needs something, so they build whatever widget is required. The focus is on the capability, not necessarily on how that capability is inserted into a widely consumable workflow. If there is any doubt here, ask yourself if networking workflows today are more arcane or intuitive. And then ask yourself why certifications are so important. The only way to validate that you have mastered the arcane is to produce your certificate as proof.

The second dynamic is that new initiatives (be they new companies or just new projects) tend to target the hot spots. Those hot spots are identified by the vocal minority. And networking’s vocal bunch consists of strong proponents for customization, primarily through tooling and development frameworks.

But even here, customization is rarely the outright goal. Unless your business requires differentiated network services (a la service or cloud providers), you likely don’t want to be customized for the sake of being customized. Rather, the customization trends are a response to a broad deficiency in the networking industry. More directly, if my vendor cannot give me what I need, at least give me the tools so I can do it myself.

Both SDN and white box switching are great movements, but they are responses to a long-time issue with legacy networks: the equipment is needlessly expensive, and networks are ridiculously hard to manage. When these issues go unaddressed for decades, what are customers to do? They stand up and collectively say “Screw it. I’ll do it myself.”

When the DIY trends exist long enough, we end up fooling ourselves into thinking customization is the goal when all along it was merely a workaround. We replace intuitive networking with There’s an API for that networking. Essentially, we have shifted the cost from procurement (you can buy cheaper equipment) to development (but you have to customize everything around it).

This doesn’t seem right. I suspect the right outcome for the industry is to take the technological advances, develop them to completeness, and deliver an infrastructure that delivers. Such an infrastructure could still have the hooks for the DIYers, but it would be functional for the DIFYers as well.

[Today’s fun fact: If all of the oceans in the world evaporated, Hawaii would be the tallest mountain in the world. Take that, Everest!]

The post DIY vs DIFY networking appeared first on Plexxi.

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
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
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 experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
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 THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
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!
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 URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
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 data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
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 at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
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. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
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, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
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.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, 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...

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...

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...