Welcome!

Java Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Lori MacVittie, Esmeralda Swartz, Trevor Parsons, Sandi Mappic

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

SDN Journal: Article

DIY vs DIFY Networking

If you were to base your guess on industry chatter, you would have to conclude that DIY has the upper hand

There is probably never going to be a perfect balance in the industry between Do-it-yourself (DIY) and Do-it-for-you (DIFY) networking. It seems exceedingly unlikely that there is a one-size-fits-all type of solution out there. And so we will invariably end up with a bifurcated market that requires multiple solutions for its constituents. But if there is not a perfect balance, which one of these is likely to see the most action?

If you were to base your guess on industry chatter, you would have to conclude that DIY has the upper hand.

There is a ton of momentum right now with both SDN and bare metal switching. On the SDN front, it is all about orchestration and automation. The ability to streamline customized workflows is attractive, especially for the large IT shops that sink tens of millions of dollars into managing their monstrosities. Once you get into anything that is customized, there is a degree of DIY-ness that is required. No product is designed expressly for your particular environment, so you need to the ability to customize what you buy to do what you want. Beyond that, there is an awful lot of talk about APIs and programmability.

Bare metal switching is a different initiative with different objectives that end up in a similar DIY framework. The move towards a more server-like environment allows users to customize their switching solution. There is great power in having absolute control over how a device behaves. It allows users to pick and choose tools they are already familiar with, extending their functionality into the networking realm.

However, the challenge in using industry dialogue to conclude where things will end up is that the chatter does not always match exactly the buying patterns. Indeed, public discourse most typically leads broad deployment – sometimes by several years or more (think IPv6, Internet of Things, or even electric vehicles).

The DIY movement in networking is real, but what is it about? The ability to tailor specific networking applications to the infrastructure is about eking out performance or customizing experience. It is about modifying a base set of functionality to fit better into your specific context.

For this to matter, you have to be pushing the envelope in terms of performance or capability. But the truth is that the bulk of the networking space is simply not there. Their issues are not in customization. They want to be spending less time with the network, not more. The problem they need solved is more about operating their infrastructure and less about creating substrates to connect it all together in some unique configuration.

But you don’t hear from these people in industry forums and on social media. They lack the interest, time, and sometimes confidence to express a point of view that is less visionary and more functional. As a result, we only hear one side of the story. It plays out in blogs, on Twitter, in press articles, and on conferences stages. And with every word and unapproachable idea, we collectively push the majority of users further into the background.

The solution here isn’t to retreat from change. But we need to make sure that new technology is usable for the legions of people for whom the network is primarily a means of enabling their business. We need to advance with equal enthusiasm DIFY networking.

So why don’t we do this naturally as an industry?

There are two major dynamics at play. First, incumbents tend to be capability-driven. Customer X needs something, so they build whatever widget is required. The focus is on the capability, not necessarily on how that capability is inserted into a widely consumable workflow. If there is any doubt here, ask yourself if networking workflows today are more arcane or intuitive. And then ask yourself why certifications are so important. The only way to validate that you have mastered the arcane is to produce your certificate as proof.

The second dynamic is that new initiatives (be they new companies or just new projects) tend to target the hot spots. Those hot spots are identified by the vocal minority. And networking’s vocal bunch consists of strong proponents for customization, primarily through tooling and development frameworks.

But even here, customization is rarely the outright goal. Unless your business requires differentiated network services (a la service or cloud providers), you likely don’t want to be customized for the sake of being customized. Rather, the customization trends are a response to a broad deficiency in the networking industry. More directly, if my vendor cannot give me what I need, at least give me the tools so I can do it myself.

Both SDN and white box switching are great movements, but they are responses to a long-time issue with legacy networks: the equipment is needlessly expensive, and networks are ridiculously hard to manage. When these issues go unaddressed for decades, what are customers to do? They stand up and collectively say “Screw it. I’ll do it myself.”

When the DIY trends exist long enough, we end up fooling ourselves into thinking customization is the goal when all along it was merely a workaround. We replace intuitive networking with There’s an API for that networking. Essentially, we have shifted the cost from procurement (you can buy cheaper equipment) to development (but you have to customize everything around it).

This doesn’t seem right. I suspect the right outcome for the industry is to take the technological advances, develop them to completeness, and deliver an infrastructure that delivers. Such an infrastructure could still have the hooks for the DIYers, but it would be functional for the DIFYers as well.

[Today’s fun fact: If all of the oceans in the world evaporated, Hawaii would be the tallest mountain in the world. Take that, Everest!]

The post DIY vs DIFY networking appeared first on Plexxi.

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
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash Inc., will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone a...
BSQUARE is a global leader of embedded software solutions. We enable smart connected systems at the device level and beyond that millions use every day and provide actionable data solutions for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market. We empower our world-class customers with our products, services and solutions to achieve innovation and success. For more information, visit www.bsquare.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic • Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it’s a mix of architectural style...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accelerate their digital channels with APIs, drive partner adoption, monetize their assets, and achieve a...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
Connected devices are changing the way we go about our everyday life, from wearables to driverless cars, to smart grids and entire industries revolutionizing business opportunities through smart objects, capable of two-way communication. But what happens when objects are given an IP-address, and we rely on that connection, sometimes with our lives? How do we secure those vast data infrastructures and safe-keep the privacy of sensitive information? This session will outline how each and every connected device can uphold a core root of trust via a unique cryptographic signature – a “bir...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...