Welcome!

Apache Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, John Mertic, Liz McMillan, Janakiram MSV

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, IoT User Interface, Apache, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

SDN: Concrete or Concept?

Is SDN a concept, or a concrete architectural construct? Does it really matter?

Now, if we look at the benefits we can attempt to infer what the problems SDN is trying to solve:

BENEFIT

PROBLEM

Programmability Network components today, particularly hardware-based components, run specific feature sets that can only be modified by the vendor, which happens on a 12-18 month schedule, security and hot-fixes not withstanding. New features and functions can only be added by the vendor based on their prioritization, not the customer.
Automation Manual configuration of network components is time consuming, costly, and introduces a higher risk of human error that can result in outages, poor performance, or security risks.
Network control The network today doesn't adapt rapidly to changing conditions or events. While some protocols simulate such adaptability, these protocols can't autonomously route around outages or failures or modify existing policies easily.

These are certainly problems for IT organizations of a variety of sizes and composition. The question then is, how does SDN uniquely solve those problems?

The answer is that as a concrete solution (i.e. components, software, and architectures)  it does not uniquely solve the problem. As a concept, however, it does.

Someone's no doubt quite upset at the moment at that statement. Let's explain it before someone's head explodes.

CONCEPT versus CONCRETE

The concept of separating data and control plane enables programmability. Without that separation, we have what we have today – static, inflexible networking components. But the concept of separating data and control planes isn't unique to solutions labeled specifically SDN. ADN is a good example of this (you saw that coming, didn't you?)

A network component can – and this may surprise some people – internally decouple control and data planes. Yeah, I know, right? And doing so enables a platform that looks a whole lot like SDN diagrams, doesn't it – with plug-ins and programmability. This occurs in full-proxy architectures when there exist dual stacks – one on the client side, one on the server side. Where traffic transitions from one stack to the other exists an opportunity to inspect, to manipulate, to modify, the traffic. Because the architecture requires acting as an endpoint to clients (and conversely as the point of origin for the server side), protocols can even be implemented in this "no man's land" between client and server. That enables protocol transitioning, such as enabling SPDY on the outside while still speaking HTTP on the inside or IPv4 to servers while supporting IPv6 on the client (and vice-versa).

Where the separation occurs is not necessarily as important as the fact that it exists – unless you're focused on concrete, SDN-labeled solutions as being the only solutions that can provide the flexibility that programmability offers.

Automation occurs by exposing the management plane through an API (or implementing a specific API, such as OpenFlow) such that operational tasks and configuration can be achieved through tools instead of time.

Between automation and programmability, you realize network control.

Now, this is not SDN, at least not in terms of protocol support and concrete architecture. But it is software-defined, and it is networking, so does it count?

I guess it depends. ADN has always approached layers 4-7 with an eye toward extensibility, programmability and control that enables agility in the network. We didn't call it SDN and I don't see the industry deciding to "SDN-wash" existing ADN solutions as SDN just because a new term came along and became the TLA du jour.

What I do see is that ADN and specifically full-proxy based ADC (application delivery controllers) already offer the same benefits using the same concepts as SDN. Consider again the core characteristics of SDN:

1. Control and data planes are decoupled

2. Intelligence and state are logically centralized

3. Underlying network infrastructure abstracted from applications

All of these characteristics are present in an ADN. The ability to leverage network-side scripting on the control plane side of the equation enables extensibility, rapid innovation, and ability to adapt to support new protocols, new applications, new business requirements – all without involving the vendor. Which is exactly one of the benefits cited for SDN solutions and specifically OpenFlow-enabled architectures.

So the question really is, does it matter if a solution to the problem of "agility in the network" is a concrete or conceptual SDN solution if it ultimately solves the same set of problems?

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
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 ...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
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...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
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 ...
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.