Big Data Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Andreas Grabner, Michelle Drolet, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict

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

Cloud Expo: Blog Feed Post

Short Ts

There's been a lot of hullaboo in the last few years about the current cycle of disruption in IT

There's been a lot of hullaboo in the last few years about the current cycle of disruption in IT:  Public Cloud, Private Cloud, SDN, DevOps, Everything-as-a-Service… the list goes on and on and every vertical, every field, and every niche is feeling the churn.  Every day there is no shortage of opinions "for" and "against" something in tech that is emerging, in decline, or re-emerging.  There is one aspect to all of it though that is largely ignored:  "The Short 't'."

Every System in Summary

Figure 1.  A summary of any given system.

Figure 1. A summary of any given system.

Let's have a look at Figure 1.  It represents any given system:  A car, an MP3 player, a network, or a cloud-service.  Policy-Set "1" in implementation consists of some input state, configured or ephemeral, that allows the consumer of this system (be it human or another system) to express to the system some desired behavior or outcome the system should exhibit.  This expression happens in the context of a policy-framework which provides some set of policy "constructs."  In networking, this would be things like prefix-lists, ACLs, route-maps, affinity groups, affinity links, etc.  In the case of an MP3 player, this would be some set of menu selections leading the MP3 player to play music.  In the case of Amazon's cloud services, it could be a deployed CloudFormation template.

This set of constructs is then rendered (that would be the "r") by the system into some aggregate system state which exhibits the desired behavior or outcome that the consumer originally tried to express using the policy framework.  This rendering consists of a process in which the total set of policy constructs is deconstructed and turned, ultimately, into system state.

So what can we say about "r" in this diagram?  Well, not much actually.  We have to add something to the diagram to put "r" into meaningful context.  This is the something that is largely ignored in much of the discussion and, frankly, in much of the systems engineering and development work being done in IT.

Crossing your Ts

Figure 2.  System Summary with a measure of User Experience.

Figure 2. System Summary with a measure of User Experience.

Imagine you have two devices, both providing equivalent functionality.  For instance, you have two top-of-rack ethernet switches.  You actually own, and have installed vendor A's switch.  You have purchased vendor B's switch, and you are about to replace vendor A's switch with it.  Before you can do this, you must configure vendor B's switch.  You must "transform" vendor A's configuration (policy-set 0) to vendor B's configuration (policy-set 1).  If "t" is very long in this process, that means a lot of work must go into deconstructing vendor A's policy, and reconstructing them using vendor B's available policy constructs.  If "t" is very short, then the conversion is relatively easy (for instance, both vendors happen to use a Cisco IOS-like user interface).  Following me so far?  Good… now let's get a little more cerebral!

What we can say about "r" and "t" is a little clearer now.  The distance between "p0" and "s" is fixed and is a measure of user experience.  You can not shorten or lengthen "t" without impacting the length of "r", and vice versa.  If "r" is very short, then "t" must be long.  If "t" is very short, then "r" is very long.  In other words, the closer the policy constructs represent the design choices of the underlying system, the more difficult it is for a consumer to express their desired intent to the system.  A short "r" will manifest as many different "knobs" in the policy-framework.  In complex systems, a short "r" means innumerable potential outcome states, and therefore greater fragility.  A short "r" also means the level of abstraction relative to the overall system is low….  still here?  Let's get even more cerebral…

What if policy-set 0 is actually what's in your mind?  It's what you naturally intuit you want the system to do.   Now imagine the system is actually a "system of systems" popularly known as a network.  In legacy networking, "t" is very long between human intuition and the idioms native to the system. In fact, it's so long that you need to hire specialists to make the journey.  What is the CCIE exam except a test of "t?"  You must transform a confusing set of overlapping broken-english requirements into a set of router configs!

It would seem a natural conclusion, then, that SDN represents a new level of abstraction that shortens "t," making the network as a whole easier to interact with.  However, we've learned a lot in the last couple of years.  SDN, much like it's more popular sub-topic OpenFlow, isn't as practical as much as it is a great starting point for asking questions about what we really want out of the network.

It's not about the network, it's about everything surrounding the network


What we've learned about network automation is that it's impossible to automate the network, or associated network functions, without reference to the systems surrounding the network.  As soon as you accept this inevitable fact, then the "system" becomes the data center.  See Figure 3. In this context, the interface to the network should present network-wide behaviors in an orchestration friendly way.  In fact, all constituent components of the data center should represent domain-wide behaviors that are highly automatable. In the next article, we'll go further down the rabbit hole, discussing the implication here for APIs and the data and policy constructs they represent.  We'll further enhance Figure 3, as well, as we discuss the primary importance of "deconstruction" along the path from human intent to system state.

For now, the take away here is this:  KEEP "T" SHORT! Burn it into your mind, customer and vendor alike.  Don't expose the contours of the underlying system to the user, because user experience matters.  This is true for data-center wide policy as well as for the constituent systems of the data center.

The post Short T’s 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."

Cloud Expo Breaking News
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.