Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Lori MacVittie, Flint Brenton, Miska Kaipiainen

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Black Friday? Cyber Monday? By @UmeshMahajan14 | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

The network infrastructure is now intelligent enough to spin up new resources in a moment's notice to boost capacity

Black Friday? Cyber Monday? Bring It on with Analytics and SDx-Based Application Delivery

It's terminology specific to the retail industry though just about anyone who shops for consumer goods is familiar with the phrase "Black Friday" or, more recently, its online instantiation "Cyber Monday." Both terms refer to the anticipated rush of commercial traffic in advance of the holiday season. For the retailers themselves, it's an odd blend of the Apocalypse and Christmas magic, something to dread and anticipate simultaneously. For e-tailers specifically, this season requires that their web portals are capable of navigating huge spikes in online traffic without compromising the user experience. The threshold is extreme. Industry research has revealed that most consumers expect websites to load in under two seconds and that nearly half of them will abandon the site if loading exceeds a mere three seconds.

In the heyday of legacy TCP/IP networking, IT's response (or preparation) for this scenario would have been simple: overprovision the heck out of network capacity. For the web infrastructure, IT would have likely purchased and provisioned a large number of load balancers, a pair at a time to enable high availability. More than likely, the excess capacity would have been overkill, but hey, better safe than sorry, right? The reason for this overprovisioning was also simple - there was no accurate way for IT to dynamically provision network capacity on-demand. In essence, IT was flying blind, which benefited networking vendors who commanded insane market capitalization values due to the excess purchasing in the "good old days".

This very scenario, played out countless times, was one of the drivers for the advent of cloud computing, data center virtualization, and then software-defined networking as enterprises and service providers sought ways to maximize efficiencies in their network infrastructure. Another driver was the need to reduce network management complexity, made possible by the abstraction of key network services such as security, load balancing, application delivery, etc., through the SDN model. The migration toward these new constructs were based on three realities about networking in the modern era:

One, as upper-layer network services occupy the strategic high ground in the data center infrastructure between IT and the end-users themselves, these technologies play a major role in determining the all-important end-user experience. This may be the difference between a making a sale and losing a customer. However, as apps migrated to the cloud, the control and visibility that traditional application delivery controllers (ADC) could provide diminished, which threatened established service level agreements and, ultimately, user experience.

Two, the architecture of how applications are developed today has evolved from purpose-built, monolithic ("shrink wrapped") code and products to a tightly federated collection of microservices that are both modular are reusable. It's as if app developers moved to using a common set of Lego blocks to build any number of web-based apps only limited by their imagination. For networking teams, however, the move to microservice-app development meant that the existing assumptions around traffic patterns, load-balancing scale, and service requirements went out the window, requiring far greater levels of network-wide intelligence.

Three, the wide adoption of connected mobile devices has made anticipating where and when people were accessing applications a completely unpredictable exercise.

These megatrends pose disruptive impact for legacy ADC vendors because they tend to undermine the core value proposition of hardware, appliance-based products. That is, the hallmark of the vendors who led in this space was their ability to build high-performance gear and their intimate familiarity of monolithic apps - think SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, etc. But mobile computing and microservice-based apps requires load balancing capable of providing holistic network intelligence and the ability to co-locate these critical services directly with the microservices themselves (aka "application affinity") - whether they reside in the cloud or on-prem. For these requirements, we believe that the most logical form factor is software-based delivered as VMs or even containers.

Facebook, a company who helped drive these technology transformations, argued for these very principles the introduction of its homegrown Autoscale load balancer, which it positioned as a more efficient and intelligent way to deliver these network services. To achieve this engineering milestone, Facebook dedicated dozens of engineers, a luxury most enterprises cannot afford. But for Facebook, building a custom load balancer/ADC for its limited and specific set of applications was the only way it could guarantee end-user experience as well as optimize its compute resources at the levels its hyperscale environment required.

The opportunity now exists to build a next-generation ADC for mainstream enterprises who typically manage hundreds of different applications compared to one or two that a Web 2.0 company might. We believe this requires fundamentally rearchitecting what an ADC is and how it's delivered. Specifically, we believe the next-gen architecture requires:

  • A true separation of the control and data plane. We believe that SDN has been hindered in some way by "SDN-light" or "SDN-like" approaches by vendors that have simply taken the software running on their hardware appliances and squeezed them into VMs that never separated the data plane from the control plane. To support a true multi-cloud environment, the architecture requires an elastically scalable, load-balancer with a distributed data plane that casn span, serve and scale with apps across various on-premise and cloud locations. The distributed data plane enables customers to achieve application affinity at the application microservice levels thereby dramatically improving application performance. In addition, the clean separation of planes also enables the creation of a unified, centralized control plane, which significantly alleviates the operational complexity associated with integrating, operating and managing each ADC appliance across locations individually.
  • Holistic, in-line big data analytics that deliver real-time user, application and network performance not possible with the mishmash of offline/out-of-band monitoring tools currently available in the marketplace. I've already argued that the load balancer or ADC occupies the enviable, strategic location between the infrastructure and the end-user. Why not take advantage of this by delivering powerful performance insights and other KPI important to network operators, application admins, and DevOps teams? Further, real-time, in-line information can make the network smarter over time and enable it to automate, influence certain feature activation and resource scaling without human intervention, or what I refer to as "insight-to-action"

Now imagine that same Black Friday or Cyber Monday scenario but this time with a next-generation analytics and SDN-enabled ADC. Online traffic spikes from users all over the world using a myriad of connected devices. The network infrastructure is now intelligent enough to spin up new resources in a moment's notice to boost capacity and performance dynamically wherever required, as well as arbitrating the load efficiently throughout the data center. Further, with Big Data analytics, the network will eventually be able to make predictive decisions based on historical traffic, usage patterns unique to that environment such as online retailers and the holiday shopping season. This is not only possible today, we believe it's the mandate for where networking and, specifically, what ADCs must deliver.

More Stories By Umesh Mahajan

Umesh Mahajan is CEO and co-founder of Avi Networks. A seasoned executive and entrepreneur with 25+ years of experience in tech industry, he has helped develop the vision, strategy, and execution plan for several innovative technology products.

Before co-founding Avi Networks, Umesh was the Vice President / General Manager for a $2B Data Center switching business at Cisco where he led engineering, product management, marketing and operations for Nexus 7000, MDS switching products, and the NX-OS operating system.

Prior to his work at Cisco, Umesh led the software team at Andiamo in architecting and delivering SAN-OS. Umesh has a Master of Science degree in computer science from Duke, a Bachelor of Science degree from IIT Delhi, and has 29 patents to date.

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
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Vidyo, Inc., has joined the Alliance for Open Media. The Alliance for Open Media is a non-profit organization working to define and develop media technologies that address the need for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. As a member of the Alliance, Vidyo will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of an open and royalty-free AOMedia Video codec, AV1. Vidyo’s contributions to the organization will bring to bear its long history of expertise in codec technolo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. 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 dev...
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...