Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, JP Morgenthal, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Gerardo A Dada

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Butterfly Effect in Virtualized Environments

How small inconsequential events can have radical consequences down the line

In 1969 Edward Lorenz, the famed meteorologist and Chaos Theory proponent, introduced the concept now known as the "Butterfly Effect" when he posed the famous question: "Does the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?" The Butterfly Effect theory describes the phenomenon of how small variations in a dynamic system can subsequently cause larger and more complex variations over the long term.

Today's modern virtualized data center represents a new kind of dynamic system. Just as the Brazilian butterfly may set off a tornado a world away, any change to the virtualized objects that are the components of the virtual infrastructure can have severe and unintended consequences to virtualized systems, networks, and data centers. As virtualization technologies are deployed in live production environments, the potential for small changes at the virtual layer disrupting the virtual and physical network resources are becoming a real concern.

Seeing Through the Fog of Virtualization
The evolution of IT has been marked by several distinct cycles. The adoption of virtualization in the data center is proving to be the next major paradigm shift as was the change from mainframe to client/server computing in years past. The next advance in the corporate infrastructure is now underway with the broad embrace of cloud computing, marked by the use of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Cloud computing will become increasingly more prevalent once more servers and desktops are virtualized and migrating servers in the cloud is as easy as dragging and dropping an icon onto a remote server.

Clearly, the virtual data center is quickly becoming a reality and organizations that deploy virtualization are now coming to grips with a new set of management challenges. Jim Frey, a senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, coined the phrase "Fog of Virtualization" to describe this new challenge. Since one cannot manage or control what they can't see, virtual data center administrators are experiencing management and policy enforcement limitations.

Visibility into both the virtual and physical infrastructure is becoming a crucial operating requirement. Administrators need a visual representation of their virtual environment to understand the entire virtual network, track changes, and manage both their physical and virtual infrastructure. Virtualization creates an invisible line where servers and applications are easily moved and managed by multiple cross-functional organizational departments. Not only can servers, storage, and networks can be dynamically managed as a single pool of resources but servers, switches, and networks can be created at the click of a mouse with applications moving seamlessly from one physical server to another.

Consequently such a dynamic environment can create issues uncommon in traditional physical environments. Policies can be defined to dynamically move virtual machines based on resource utilization or for disaster recovery and business continuity. This automated mobility means that administrators only know the current location of a virtual machine. Of course, with virtualization it's fast and easy to deploy new servers. Perhaps a little too easy, as administrators struggle to control this new breed of virtual server sprawl which adds another layer of complexity and decreases the cost savings to the organization. Virtual environments are subject to an extreme number of infrastructure configuration changes that tend to obfuscate the data center as a whole - understanding how components are connected, and the consequences of changes, can mean the difference between success and failure.

To maintain proper and secure configuration in a virtual environment, organizations must be able to track all infrastructure changes in real-time to maintain an accurate model of the virtual environment. If Murphy were a data center administrator, his law might read: "A misconfigured device possesses a risk equal to one that's unpatched for known vulnerabilities." Virtualization makes configuration of virtual infrastructure a point-and-click operation, opening the doors for simple human error.

The Unintended Consequences of Interdependent Systems
Large virtual infrastructures have grown so complex and interdependent that the Butterfly Effect is emerging as a real threat. There are a number of dynamic forces at work in virtual systems, and changes to one part of the infrastructure can have far-reaching consequences. The downside of these complex interdependencies is that human mistakes, even small errors in configuration, can manifest themselves as major problems down the road. These forces conspire to put pressure on both the system and administrators, increasing the probability of mistakes and making their impact more far-reaching and costly. IT specialists attempting to configure, change, release, and support critical applications can find themselves facing a daunting reality.

The Butterfly Effect in the virtual data center is exacerbated by a complex infrastructure designed to support multi-tiered networks, interdependencies between different layers of infrastructure, fewer IT resources, and more applications that require changes and demands to support new initiatives like service-oriented IT and distributed architectures. Administrators are struggling to manage the Butterfly Effect while trying to meet the conflicting challenges of providing the continuous availability of critical applications. But achieving continuous availability in complex virtual environments is no small task.

More Stories By Hezi Moore

Hezi Moore is founder and Chief Technology Officer of Reflex Systems. He brings more than 15 years experience in security, networking and entrepreneurial expertise to Reflex Systems. In his role of CTO, he is responsible for shaping the company's technology strategy and defining the roadmap for future design and development of innovative, integrated network security solutions and delivering them to market. Moore led the effort to develop the industry's first Virtual Security Appliance (VSA) that provides visibility and security for virtual network infrastructure. Prior to founding Reflex Systems, Moore was president and co-founder of MicroTech Systems - a firm specializing in network design and configuration of point-of-sale systems - which was subsequently acquired by Retail Technologies International of Sacramento, California. He has also held such diverse occupations as a technical support and research analyst for GE Technology. Moore was a pioneer of the automated network intrusion response system, the concept out of which Reflex Systems grew.

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
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...
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 ...
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...
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 ...
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...
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...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
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...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided 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 sett...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.