Welcome!

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

Blog Feed Post

What networking can learn from CPUs

The rapid growth in compute demand is well understood. To keep up with accelerating requirements, CPUs have gone through a massive transformation over the years. Starting with relatively low-capacity CPUs, the expansion of capability to what is available today has certainly been remarkable – enough to satisfy even Gordon Moore. But keeping up with demand was not a matter of simply making bigger and faster chips. To get more capacity, we actually went smaller.

As it turns out, there are practical limitations to just scaling things larger. To get more capacity out of individual CPUs, we went from large single cores to multi-core processors. This obviously required a change in applications to take advantage of multiple cores. The result is a distributed architecture and the proliferation of “scale out” as a buzzword in our industry.

From an application perspective, the trend continues. Applications that require performance continue to move to multi-tiered applications that are distributed across a number of VMs. This is true for massive web-scale applications like Facebook, but also for other applications like MapReduce.

To get bigger, we get smaller

The technology trend is clear: to get more output, move to smaller blocks of capacity, and coordinate workloads across that capacity.

If this is true, then the future will be lots of small pools of resources that rely on the network for interconnectivity. As applications become more distributed, then performance between these pools becomes even more critical. Even small amounts of pool-to-pool latency can aggregate up into significant impacts, either because of interesting failure conditions with asynchronous operations or because of the cumulative performance impact.

As interconnectivity takes a larger role, we should expect the discussion of commoditization of network resources to expand. Today, there is a strong argument around commoditizing the switch hardware (largely via merchant silicon) and the switch operating system (through players like Cumulus, Big Switch, and Pica8). But massive distribution will require both a commoditized interconnect and a commoditized orchestration platform.

On the latter, it would seem that OpenDaylight is poised to lead the charge. With an industry-backed open source solution, it will be difficult to justify premium control products, which should be sufficient in driving that aspect of the solution towards commodity. But that still leaves the interconnect piece unaccounted for.

Getting to a cheaper interconnect

There is probably a case to be made for leaf-spine architectures here, but if the number of servers continues to expand, there are some ugly economics at play. Scaling out in a leaf-spine architecture requires scaling up at the same time. As the interconnect demands increase, the number of spine switches increases. You eventually get into spines of spines, which starts to look an awful like like traditional three-tier architectures.

The sheer number of devices and cables drive the cost unfavorably. And when you consider the long-term operational costs tied to power, cooling, space, and management, it’s unclear where the budgetary breaking point is. Beyond just the costs, the other issue here is that every time a new layer is added, you add a couple of more fabric switch hops. If application performance is based on both capacity and latency, then every time you add switch hops, you incur a potentially heavy performance penalty.

At some point, you need to move away from multi-hop connectivity through the fabric.

Moving away from multi-hop fabrics

Instinctively, we already know this. There is already a tendency to rack gear up in close proximity to other gear to which it is tied. You might, for example, balance Hadoop loads across a number of servers that are in the same rack. Essentially, what we are doing in these cases is acknowledging that proximity matters, and we are statically designing for it.

But what happens when things aren’t static?

In a datacenter where applications are portable across servers, the network capacity cannot be statically planned. And as application requirements change (often dynamically as load changes), then the network capacity demands will also change. This requires an interconnect that is both high in capacity and dynamic.

This problem is slightly different than the compute problem. On the compute side, it was enough to free up resources (or create additional ones) and then move the application to the resource. In this case, the application is fixed, which means the capacity has to move to the application. When capacity is statically allocated, this poses a problem.

The bottom line

The only solutions here are to either over provision everything, or move towards a dynamic interconnect. The first is counter to the trends we learn from compute – make things smaller and more distributed. In this case you get out of the problem by paying for it. The question is whether this flies in the face of all the commoditization trends. What good is commoditizing something if the end solution requires buying a ton more? You would have to see cost declines match capacity increases, but this seems unlikely as there is no upper limit for capacity whereas cost will asymptotically approach some profit threshold.

If the trends in compute and storage hold true for networking, then the current trajectory of some networking solutions will need to change. Learning from the past is a great way to shape the future.

[Today’s fun fact: Lobster was one of the main entrees at the first Thanksgiving dinner. They also had Cheddar Bay Biscuits I think.]

The post What networking can learn from CPUs 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."

@ThingsExpo Stories
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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...
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...
"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.
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 ...
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 ...
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
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...
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...
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.