Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

The Next Technology Boom is Already Underway at Cisco, F5 Networks, Riverbed and VMware

Clouds, Virtualization and IT Diseconomies

In a 2.0 world servers are virtual and dynamic, and move around even more frequently than wireless laptops and phones. While the DHCP protocol can assign addresses dynamically - and lots of other configuration data too (like the address for critical infrastructure elements like the network gateway router, the DNS server, even device-specific configuration info, etc.), the pools of addresses handed out by DHCP have to be managed, and there are lots of reasons why admins need to know which device received a particular address - and applications need to able to reach devices by name (e.g. Windows host name) versus an IP address.

Perhaps it takes 30 minutes on average to find an address, allocate it, get a device configured, update the spreadsheet and update DNS. That was more manageable in a static world, though the increasing cost/IP to perform these tasks in larger networks is a direct consequence of manual systems breaking down in the face of scale. Now consider a 30 minute process for a device - or a virtual application instance - that changes IPs every few hours, or faster. When a 1.0 infrastructure meets 2.0 requirements, things start to break pretty quickly.

That is why, even with the simple act of managing an enterprise network's IP addresses, which is critical to the availability and proper functioning of the network, actually goes up as IP addresses are added. As TCP/IP continues to spread and take productivity to new heights, management costs are already escalating.

This is a very fundamental observation based on one of the most common network management tasks. You can assume that there are other slopes even steeper because of complexity and reliance upon manual labor.

Some enterprises are already paying even higher expenses per IP address, and chances are they don't even know it because these expenses are being hidden within network operations. Reducing headcounts risk increasing these costs further or making substantial sacrifices in network availability and flexibility.

IPAM as the Switchboard Metaphor

If something as simple and straightforward as IP address management doesn't scale, imagine the impacts of more complex network management tasks, like those involved with consolidation, compliance, security, and virtualization. There are probably many other opportunities for automation tucked away within many IT departments in the mesh between static infrastructure and moving, dynamic systems and endpoints.

This will force enterprise IT departments into similar discussions as those which likely took place decades ago within the Bell System when telecom executives looked at the dramatic increase in the use and distribution of telephones and mushrooming requirements for operators and switchboards and offices and salaries and benefits. One can only imagine the costs and challenges that we would face today if the basic connection decisions were still made by a human operator.

The counterpart to the switchboard of yesteryear for IPAM is the spreadsheet of today. Networking pros in most enterprises manage IP addresses using "freeware" that has an ugly underside; it produces escalating hidden expenses that are only now being recognized, mostly by large enterprises. Mix the growth of the network with new dynamic applications and new factors of mobility with a little human error and you have a recipe for availability, security and TCO issues.

Many of these switchboards can probably be bought or manufactured today for a song, yet it is the other costs (TCO and availability and flexibility) which make them cost-prohibitive.

Server Déjà vu

Another one of the TCO fables that are similarly bound to take the steam out of cloud fantasies has to do with hardware expenses. The cloudplex will utilize racks of commodity servers populated with VMs that can scale up as needed in order to save electricity and make IT more flexible. That makes incredibly good sense, but are we really there yet? No.

Servers have a very large manual labor component, according to an IDC Report hosted at Microsoft.com. The drumbeat for real estate and electricity savings may play well to the bigger picture buyer; yet perhaps the real payoff of virtualization is its potential to automate manual tasks, like creating and moving a server on demand.

Just how many organizations have launched virtualization initiatives only to find out that they didn't have the infrastructure to allow them to save electricity, real estate or people power? The network infrastructure simply wasn't intelligent enough to enable anything more than virtualization-lite, because the links between the infrastructure and the software were still manually constrained.

Yet one of the core promises of virtualization is to automate the deployment of server power. If this is constrained by infrastructure1.0 (as I'm suggesting) then VMware and its partners need to address the "static infrastructure meets dynamic processing power" challenge rapidly in order to achieve levels of growth once expected in 2007. With Microsoft now in the virtualization market thanks to Hyper-V, VMware's window of first mover advantage is starting to close.

Virtualization security now risks becoming a metaphor for other technology-related issues that could slow down the adoption of virtualization in the lucrative production data center market.

Netsec Wasn't Ready for Virtsec

The lack of network security connectivity intelligence meant that security policy, for example, would limit VMotion to within hardware-centric hypervisor VLANs. Network security infrastructure wasn't prepared for the challenges of protecting moving, state-changing servers, despite the promise of a stellar lineup of VMsafe partners.

The promise of virtualization that drove VMware's stock price into the clouds eventually met up with lowered growth expectations as deployments were impacted by the lack of connectivity intelligence that no doubt impacted other potential business cases for the unquestionable power of virtualization to someday unleash new economies of scale and computing power. These issues too will hit the cloud dream as they have also impacted other initiatives, albeit on a smaller and less visible scale.

Today there are plenty of new initiatives facing mounting pressures for connectivity intelligence and automation that have already left enterprise CIOs holding the bag for similar ecosystem finger-pointing. Whether or not we enter a global recession, these pressures will continue and likely worsen. They are artifacts of years of application, network and endpoint intelligence promises colliding with static TCP/IP infrastructure.

Saving money by cutting network operations or capital budgets is the equivalent of Ma Bell laying off operators or closing switchboards in the midst of unstoppable growth. Automation is the only way out, as Cisco's Chambers hinted recently.

More Stories By Greg Ness

Gregory Ness is the VP of Marketing of Vidder and has over 30 years of experience in marketing technology, B2B and consumer products and services. Prior to Vidder, he was VP of Marketing at cloud migration pioneer CloudVelox. Before CloudVelox he held marketing leadership positions at Vantage Data Centers, Infoblox (BLOX), BlueLane Technologies (VMW), Redline Networks (JNPR), IntruVert (INTC) and ShoreTel (SHOR). He has a BA from Reed College and an MA from The University of Texas at Austin. He has spoken on virtualization, networking, security and cloud computing topics at numerous conferences including CiscoLive, Interop and Future in Review.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Early Bird Registration Discount Expires on August 31, 2018 Conference Registration Link ▸ HERE. Pick from all 200 sessions in all 10 tracks, plus 22 Keynotes & General Sessions! Lunch is served two days. EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2018. Ticket prices: ($1,295-Aug 31) ($1,495-Oct 31) ($1,995-Nov 12) ($2,500-Walk-in)
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 settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...