Welcome!

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

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Network Service Provisioning Speed | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

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

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.

hardware versus hardware

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.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

Latest Stories
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide 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 ...
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, will explore the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences betwee...
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 24Notion has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. 24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to con...
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
SYS-CON Events announced today the Docker Meets Kubernetes – Intro into the Kubernetes World, being held June 9, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Register for 'Docker Meets Kubernetes Workshop' Here! This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, introduces participants to Kubernetes (container orchestration). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, participants learn ...
The initial debate is over: Any enterprise with a serious commitment to IT is migrating to the cloud. But things are not so simple. There is a complex mix of on-premises, colocated, and public-cloud deployments. In this power panel at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the present state of cloud from the C-level view, and how great companies and rock star executives can use cloud computing to meet their most ambitious and disruptive business ...
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Cole, Director of Solutions Engineering at Peak 10, will discuss how the newest technology advances are reducing the cost and complexity of traditional business continuity and disaster recovery solutions. Attendees will: Learn why having a full disaster recovery strategy is more important now than ever before Explore the key drivers of a successful disaster recovery solution Achieve measurable operational and business value from a disaster recovery ...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT's direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hanu Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Leveraging best-in-class people, processes, and technologies, Hanu provides high-quality, high-value software development and business process outsourcing services to independent software vendors (ISVs) and enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today BZ Media LLC has been named “Media 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. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and Commercial Drone markets.