Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Aruna Ravichandran, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Why the Cloud Is Disrupting Everything

Cloud is accelerating disruption by changing how data centers deploy, develop & consume everything from software & hardware

Is it just me, or has there been an explosion of buzz words lately? Don't get me wrong, the IT industry innovates at a crazy pace normally, but it seems that things have been evolving faster than ever and that a fundamental change in the way things are done is underway. We can attribute this change to one thing: the cloud. Cloud computing is by no means new, but in 2014 it has come into its own.

Cloud computing is accelerating disruption by changing how data centers deploy, develop and consume everything from software and hardware,  to how they offer products and services to their customers.

Let's take a look at a few of these hot technologies and why you'll be adopting some of them, whether you realize it now or not.

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) - What Is It Anyway?
There are many different descriptions of SDN floating around, partly because this is relatively new technology, and it means different things to different vendors. Until the market matures, this confusion will probably persist, at least for a while. The following explanation provides a good foundation for understanding SDN.

SDN decouples the system that makes decisions about where traffic is sent (the control plane) from the underlying systems that forward traffic to the selected destination (the data plane). The inventors and vendors of these systems claim that this simplifies networking.[1] Through the controller, network administrators can quickly and easily make and push out decisions on how the underlying systems (switches, routers) of the forwarding plane will handle the traffic.

SDN requires some method for the control plane to communicate with the data plane. One such mechanism, OpenFlow, is often misunderstood to be equivalent to SDN, but other mechanisms could also fit into the concept.

By separating the control plane from the forwarding planes, data centers can reduce costs and provide better agility, and who wouldn't want or need that? It does this by:

  1. Reducing reliance on expensive purpose-built, ASIC-based networking hardware and associated pay-as-you-grow models that often result in costly overprovisioning. In other words, you can unlock more value from your network.
  2. SDNs provide increased programmability that enables easier network scalability and system design and management
  3. Agility and flexibility. Everybody needs it, everybody wants it, SDN can deliver it. SDN enables organizations to quickly deploy new infrastructure, applications, and services faster than a traditional network would allow.

OpenFlow
Often people use OpenFlow and SDN interchangeably, but they are not the same. OpenFlow is only a one element in the overall SDN architecture. OpenFlow is an open standard for a communications protocol that enables the control plane to interact with the forwarding plane. As an open standard it's steered by the OpenFlow Consortium. OpenFlow is not the only protocol available or in development for SDN. The open source network OS, ONOS, led by The Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab) is another option.

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)
This is another term that can mean different things to different people, depending on the industry. For our purposes, we'll focus on what it means to the telecom industry. To understand what has propelled the development of NVF, let's take a look at how the telecom industry has traditionally deployed their networks. For more than 30 years, telecoms have been relying on specially built systems, some of which saw them developing their own ASICs (via Cisco, F5 or Juniper) and proprietary operating systems (Cisco IOS, for example), and then having that technology built into base stations, routers and Ethernet switches, all optimized for their use. The proprietary nature of all of this translates into very expensive systems and slower development cycles.

Fast forward to today's NFV initiative, which is spearheaded by several of the major telecommunications service providers. The value of NFV is in creating a standards-based approach to virtualizing key telecom applications, radically changing the way telecom networks are built and managed. By doing this, NFV enables those apps to run on industry standard servers. And that of course translates into big cost savings and more flexibility than was previously possible.

What has made NVF suitable for use with commercial off-the shelf (COTS) equipment are the advances made in underlying technology including SDN, faster fabrics (40Gb Ethernet), and more powerful processors.

NFV can be implemented without SDN, although the two solutions can work together. NFV is able to support SDN by providing the infrastructure upon which the SDN software can be run. Both technologies share a common objective, and that is to run on lower cost COTS servers and switches.

Source: etsi.org, whitepaper, Network Functions Virtualization:  An Introduction, Benefits, Enablers, Challenges & Call for Action, Oct. 2012

The OpenCompute Project (OCP)
The OCP is a Facebook-led initiative to build computing infrastructures that are energy efficient, easily scalable and low cost. The initiative was born out of the design and build of the massive Facebook data center based in Prineville, Oregon. Following in the footsteps of open source software, the OpenCompute designs are open, shared and available for all to use. The OCP includes software, servers, storage, networking, and data center designs. By utilizing OCP open hardware designs, the OCP claims the Facebook Prineville data center delivered 38 percent better efficiency and was 24 percent less expensive to build and run than other state-of-the-art data centers that use proprietary components. Pretty compelling stuff.

As you can see, there are recurring themes spanning all the aforementioned technologies. In case you missed them: low-cost, energy efficient, non-proprietary, open, scalable, flexible, and agile. Even if you are not looking at redesigning your data center now, you may need to in order to stay competitive.

No matter what technology you choose to deploy, one thing is for sure, the cloud is stressing I/O and I/O bottlenecks will be shifted from where they are today. The further away you get from processing, latency becomes more of a challenge. To plan for the barrage of new technology that's coming your way, look for technologies that reduce latency such as RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE). Also seek out solutions that enable flexible usage of resources and that don't lock you into long-term commitments such as specialized appliances, infrastructure and proprietary software so that you are in a better position to take advantage of new innovations as they become available. Now strap yourself in and get ready for the ride.

Reference:

1.       Open Networking Foundation: "Software-Defined Networking: The New Norm for Networksm" April 13, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2013.

More Stories By Barbara Porter

Barbara Porter is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Emulex. She has been with Emulex since 2009, bringing more than 15 years of experience to the company. Prior to Emulex, she was product line manager at Quantum, and software marketing manager at MSC Software. Barbara holds of Bachelor of Commerce degree from Griffith University in Australia.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
"What is the next step in the evolution of IoT systems? The answer is data, information, which is a radical shift from assets, from things to input for decision making," stated Michael Minkevich, VP of Technology Services at Luxoft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions with...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
@ThingsExpo has been named the ‘Top WebRTC Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @ThingsExpo ranked as the number one ‘WebRTC Influencer' followed by @DevOpsSummit at 55th.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
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...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
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, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...