Welcome!

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

SDN Journal: Article

Networks and Sky Chairs: How Dumb Pipes Are Relevant Again

At long last, the network matters again

American comedian Louis C.K. once observed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien that "everything is amazing and nobody is happy." And you know what? He's right.

He riffs about people complaining about the uncomfortable seats on a plane - despite the fact that they are partaking in the miracle of human flight.

"You are in a chair - IN THE SKY," he says.

But it is human nature to take such things for granted once they become the norm. Nowadays if you're watching YouTube and the high-resolution video struggles to buffer without pause, there's a good chance you'll skip that video and move on to another one, or another site. The same goes for any over-the-top or cloud-based services. If opening a file, email or video has even the slightest of lags, we are quick to jump to judgment on the service as "too slow."

The reason the complaints occur is because the network, for the most part, hasn't mattered in the minds of anyone for the better part of a decade.

It's so simple to forget where we'd be without the network. But imagine a world without it now and the chaos that might ensue should it be taken away.

If your email goes down or your connection to the server is severed, then you can kiss your productivity that day goodbye. Your whole working world comes to a standstill, and you are forced to revert to taking notes with pen and paper, and forced to only be able to communicate by phone - as long your phone is not running on VoIP.

Now let's take that and put it into a larger context.

There is literally one submarine cable that connects Bangladesh to the outside world. In 2012, that cable was severed and network connectivity was crippled. Simple things that frustrate us because they take a few seconds to send (an email, a picture message) were essentially halted on a national scale until the cable was fixed.

We are so used to being connected now that we are often ill-prepared for when we aren't. But ironically, it's this need to always be "on" that has led to the network fighting back into relevance - and then some.

The emergence of Software-Defined Networking, the mass adoption of Ethernet, a reliance on the cloud and the advent of the consumer "app" have altered our expectations of network connectivity and have driven the evolution of the network into an application in its own right.

The "dumb pipe" is dead, replaced with an on-demand network platform that combines compute, storage and "connectivity" to enable smarter service delivery.

This has been driven in large part by applications such as Netflix, Hulu and Dropbox. The role of the network in these instances is to ensure the customer experience is seamless, and it does so by managing the quantity of traffic and quality of the connection to ensure the integrity of the application. This makes the network more important than ever before - it needs to be smarter, and it is.

Those applications are, by Internet standards, "old news"; the Internet of Everything, the Internet of Things, whichever term you prefer, is what the network is working toward now. Recent Gartner research estimates that 26 billion "things" will be connected to the Internet by 2020.

The consumer benefits are pretty clear, but the Internet of Everything will also benefit organizations. A State Department of Transportation, for example, can take advantage of a fiber-optic network to support the use of smart devices that relay information on roadway conditions, such as traffic, weather, and speeds, in real-time and give travelers and transportation agencies the ability to respond accordingly.

To enable the mass proliferation of the Internet of Everything, the network will need to be more intelligent and programmable because the traffic will become more unpredictable. The network of the future, to be able to handle this demand, will need to scale to meet sudden spikes and do so seamlessly. Capacity will need to be on-demand, and the global network will need to intelligently re-route traffic along more efficient routes to do so.

For example, let's say viewers in New York wanted to binge-watch House of Cards, Season 2. That is well ahead of the prime time viewing for, say, Los Angeles. A programmable network will be able to take slack capacity from Los Angeles streamers during an off-peak period and "lend" it to New York to cater to the sudden spike in traffic, which would ensure Service Level Agreements are met and that the customer experience is maintained.

In addition, an intelligent network would be able to predict that spike before it happened and begin the process in advance.

Network operators are deploying this network of the future now. The idea that bandwidth can be accessed on-demand is close to fruition, with operators envisioning it along the same lines as compute-on-demand and storage-on-demand.

At long last, the network matters again. It matters again because we are forcing it to matter. We want a chair in the sky that's more comfortable, and we are on the cusp of getting it.

More Stories By Malcolm Loro

Malcolm Loro is Director of Industry Marketing at Ciena Corp., the network specialist. He has responsibility for assessing Ethernet Business Service market requirements, identifying and developing compelling new market opportunities and driving awareness of Ciena’s Ethernet solutions. He has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry holding a number of previous engineering, product management and marketing positions at Catena Networks and Nortel Networks. Malcolm holds an Honors Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

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.


Latest Stories
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors!
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.