|By Lori MacVittie||
|September 28, 2014 04:15 PM EDT||
Irrelevance of Hardware to Network Service Provisioning Speed
September 10, 2014
Inarguably, the pressure is on "the network" to get in gear, so to speak, and address how fast its services can be up and running. Software-defined architectures like cloud and SDN have arisen in response to this pressure, attempting to provide the means by which critical network services can be provisioned in hours instead of days.
Much of the blame for the time it takes to provision network services winds up landed squarely on the fact that much of the network is comprised of hardware. Not just any hardware, mind you, but special hardware. Such devices take time to procure, time to unbox, time to rack and time to cable. It's a manually intensive process that, when not anticipated, can take weeks to acquire and get into place.
Register For DevOps Summit "FREE" (before Friday) ▸ Here
Enter virtualization, cloud, containers and any other solution that holds, at its core, abstraction as a key characteristic. Abstraction all but eliminates the time it takes to procure hardware by enabling software to be deployed on any hardware, making the procurement process as simple as finding an empty server in the data center. After all, the majority of networking functions are just very specialized software running on very specific hardware. Decouple the two and voila! Virtualized, containerized or cloud(erized) networking. Instantaneous! No more waiting for the network. Just push a button and you're done.
Only you aren't.
See, that's not counting the time it takes to actually provision and configure the desired services.
Most of the lamentable time it takes to provision network services has absolutely nothing to do with the underlying hardware. Whether it's commoditized off the shelf hardware or custom designed silicon makes no difference whatsoever in the actual time required to provision network services. Both proprietary and commoditized hardware support a layer of abstraction - of virtualization - that enables them to be sliced and diced into discrete, consumable chunks of computing power. Within that "container" are the actual network services that need to be deployed to provide the breadth of network services required to keep today's applications scalable, secure and fast enough to satisfy both consumers and business constituents alike.
To point to "hardware" as the primary impediment in rapidly provisioning these services is ludicrous. The hardware has nothing to do with the configuration of the minute and complex details associated with any given network service today. The slowdown is in the configuration of the services and the complexity of the topologies into which such services must be deployed.
This is the nature of application-focused networking. Each service - in addition to the nuts and bolts of IP addresses and VLANs and DNS entries - requires specific settings to ensure the network is able to provide the services upon which business rely to deliver applications. An optimized TCP stack for one application can mean disastrous performance for another. The specific application security details that protect one application may result in gaping holes in yet another application and completely break the functionality of another. The route one application takes through the network may provide excellent performance for one application but introduce unacceptable latency for another.
It is this reality with which network service configuration is concerned and why services absolutely must be application-driven with respect to their particular configuration. One size does not fit all when it comes to applications.
And thus it is these configurations - not the underlying hardware model - that impede service provisioning in the network and slow down application deployments. Manually flipping a bit here and a byte there and writing rules that deny access to that device but allow it from another are time consuming, error prone and terribly inefficient.
Virtualization of network functions a la NFV is only a panacea when one is deploying services that can be configured exactly the same, every time. That happens to be a model which works for service providers, who are concerned with scaling out specific functions in the network and not necessarily supporting new application deployments. In the enterprise, where the focus is on delivering individual applications with their own unique performance, security and reliability profiles, virtualization is nothing more than a means of squeezing out a greater economy of scale across existing hardware resources - whether commoditized or not.
Enterprises whose continued success relies on the fickle and highly volatile demands of consumer-facing applications are not so fortunate. Each network service must not only support the basic needs of an application but provide value in terms of improving performance, ensuring security or maintaining availability. To do that, each service must be tailored to the application - and sometimes to each client device - in question.
That takes time, and whether that service is deployed on a piece of commodity or custom hardware is irrelevant. The configuration is accomplished in software, which is the same whether running in a container, a virtual machine, or in plain old software daemon form.
That's why operationalization of the network is so critical to improving the alacrity with which application deployments are concluded. Going "virtual" isn't going to change the requirement for provisioning and configuration of the services, it only addresses the underlying process of acquiring and provisioning the appropriate resources.
Extreme Computing is the ability to leverage highly performant infrastructure and software to accelerate Big Data, machine learning, HPC, and Enterprise applications. High IOPS Storage, low-latency networks, in-memory databases, GPUs and other parallel accelerators are being used to achieve faster results and help businesses make better decisions. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at NVIDIA, focused on some of the unique ways extreme computing is...
Oct. 22, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,830
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Oct. 22, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,642
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom 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. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Oct. 22, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,561
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...
Oct. 22, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,430
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Oct. 22, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 596
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, will discuss the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docke...
Oct. 22, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,240
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.
Oct. 22, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,872
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, will contrast how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He will show the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He will also have live demos of building immutable pipe...
Oct. 22, 2016 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,487
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. In the eyes of many, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery. In this presentation, you'll learn about the: The transformation of IT to a DevOps, microservices, and container-based architecture What are containers and how DevOps practices can operate in a container-based environment A demonstration of how Docke...
Oct. 22, 2016 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,539
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...
Oct. 22, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 5,209
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire 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. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
Oct. 22, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,493
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Oct. 22, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 11,258
So you think you are a DevOps warrior, huh? Put your money (not really, it’s free) where your metrics are and prove it by taking The Ultimate DevOps Geek Quiz Challenge, sponsored by DevOps Summit. Battle through the set of tough questions created by industry thought leaders to earn your bragging rights and win some cool prizes.
Oct. 22, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,736
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...
Oct. 22, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,342
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
Oct. 22, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,318