|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.
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
Dec. 9, 2016 10:00 PM EST Reads: 282
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
Dec. 9, 2016 09:45 PM EST Reads: 2,002
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,279
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 9, 2016 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,017
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for ...
Dec. 9, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 716
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Dec. 9, 2016 06:45 PM EST Reads: 5,145
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 9, 2016 06:15 PM EST Reads: 1,765
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:30 PM EST Reads: 2,370
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:30 PM EST Reads: 483
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...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:15 PM EST Reads: 1,891
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:15 PM EST Reads: 1,471
"MathFreeOn.com is a line coding platform for engineers and scientists. When they want to solve an engineering problem and they have to use software - they have to pay a lot of money for licenses - but with MathFreeOn you don't have to pay a lot of money. Just go to our site and write the code and you can check the result right away," explained Simon Lee, CMO of MathFreeOn, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Cla...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:15 PM EST Reads: 412
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how 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 also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:00 PM EST Reads: 2,075
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...
Dec. 9, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,869
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 9, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,315