Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Trevor Parsons

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, Security

SDN Journal: Blog Feed Post

SDN, Network Packaging, and Separation of Control and Forwarding

SDN needs to be about moving from knob-based behavior specification to something that is more automatable

It’s not clear to me whether there is really a conclusion to a technology trend. I suppose that one trend begets another and that morphs into another. So in some sense, discussing the SDN end game is really foolish. It seems most likely that we all stop talking about SDN in another year, maybe two, and the conversation returns to networking. Or data centers, or the WAN, or whatever. And then eventually we talk about IT infrastructure, because it will ultimately become so integrated that calling out isolated elements will seem old-fashioned.

That said, let’s talk about the SDN end game a little…

For many, SDN is about separating the control and forwarding planes. I’ll just point out that these planes have been separate for years in most modern networking equipment. That they might no longer be distributed within the same sheet metal is interesting but not really that game changing. I don’t mean to suggest that there is not value in changing the packaging (a la what Cumulus is doing), but there is nothing inherently good or bad about packaging. The Cumulus value proposition (as it relates to physical equipment costs) is that they will charge less for the software than the big guys have been so far. [Lest this be perceived as a slight, I believe this to be a valuable thing to do. I like what these guys are doing, and how they are doing it is very crafty.]

The big players already skew their R&D costs towards software. That they capture dollars via the hardware simply reflects the buying culture. Imagine that all the major equipment vendors dropped their hardware prices are started charging more for software (which is typically free or discounted to zero in a normal purchase). The difference between Cumulus and the rest would be that Cumulus is charging less for the software.

Part of this is because there is less software there. If we are honest, part of Cisco’s pricing premiums are tied to the 47 thousand features that come with an IOS (or IOS-XE, or CatOS, or whatever) device. So long as those features are important to you, you have to pay the premium because there is only one vendor in the world who has them. Again, this doesn’t make Cisco inherently good or evil – it just means they have priced their product according to demand.

What is really happening with SDN (and with Cumulus in particular) is that people are contemplating for the first time in a very long time new architectures. Those new architectures are somewhat less dependent on the history of networking features. To a large extent, the industry is going on a feature diet. The result is that there are now more commercial options because the foundational feature set is both smaller and different.

If the feature set is smaller, the premium that people are willing to pay is lower. And for companies building from scratch, the effort (read: development cost) is lower. They can charge less and still be whole. When you add in more mature open source options for what have typically been the networking staples (routing protocols, for instance), the barrier to entry for new networking solutions has never been lower.

Oddly enough, the biggest thing standing between customers and lower prices in this case is the customers themselves. Those that are willing to adopt a new Ground Zero for feature completeness will essentially create more choice and flexibility for themselves. They can use that, in part, to get better pricing advantages.

Note that none of this has anything to do with whether the control plane runs on an x86 inside the sheet metal or outside. That’s just a distraction.

So if SDN isn’t about the packaging, what is it about? There are a hundred thousand definitions, but the real pain point being addressed is work flow. The reason the network is so difficult to manage is because it relies on pinpoint precision on a box-by-box basis. Fine-grained control over the policy that drives network behavior is extremely powerful, but that power comes at a cost.

For most people, the choice between power and ease of use was never really a conscious one. We were collectively sold on a set of reference architectures and best practices. In the early days, this was exactly what everyone needed. The problem is that inertia is ridiculously strong, and once the decision to manage through pinpoint, manual control was made, it was never really revisited. Customers demanded more precision (read: configuration knobs or protocol extensions), and this shaped the way the entire industry evolved. The price of admission into any network was a set of features. Only a few companies could provide these, and so the options remained few and the prices stayed high.

How do you combat this dynamic?

SDN needs to be about moving from knob-based behavior specification to something that is more automatable. The only way to be more automation-friendly is to be less device-specific, and that begs for abstraction. Once you abstract out the devices, the edge policy isn’t as tied to the underlying hardware. This means we can more easily separate the control and forwarding planes. Oddly enough, this means that the initial desire for SDN to be about separation is actually somewhat correct.

The problem with starting at that point, though, is that people miss a whole lot of the in-between stuff, and it’s those icky details that will ultimately determine success or failure for people pursuing a new way of doing things.

[Today's fun fact: When Albert Einstein died, his final words died with him. The nurse at his side didn't understand German. <Insert Der Wienerschnitzel joke here>]

The post SDN, network packaging, and separation of control and forwarding appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

@ThingsExpo Stories
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, today announced availability of Cloudian HyperStore 5.1 software. HyperStore 5.1 is an enhanced Amazon S3-compliant, plug-and-play hybrid cloud software solution that now features full Apache Hadoop integration. Enterprises can now transform big data into smart data by running Hadoop analytics on HyperStore software and appliances. This in-place analytics, with no need to offload data to other systems for Hadoop analyses, enables customers to derive meaningful business intelligence from their data quickly, efficiently and ...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gary Hall, Chief Technology Officer, Federal Defense at Cisco Systems, will break down the core capabilities of IoT in multiple settings and expand upon IoE for bo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to make sense of it all.
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applications - creating more engaging experiences for their customers and boosting collaboration and productiv...
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, representing a model of how to analyze rea...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - is now accepting submissions to demo smart cars on the Expo Floor. Smart car sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem.
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3–5, 2015 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Open Data Centers (ODC), a carrier-neutral colocation provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Open Data Centers is a carrier-neutral data center operator in New Jersey and New York City offering alternative connectivity options for carriers, service providers and enterprise customers.