|By Lori MacVittie||
|May 27, 2014 09:00 AM EDT||
When people write about software-defined architectures being "disruptive" to the network they're doing a bit of a disservice to just how much change is occurring under the hood in the engine that drives today's businesses. The notion of separating control and data planes is superficial in that it describes a general concept and it isn't really all that radical a change, if you think about it.
The control and data planes have always been separate. We have, since the need for web-scale networks came about, implemented separate topological (and usually physical) networks specifically for the purpose of segregating control traffic from the data path. The reasons for this are many: to keep management (control) traffic from interfering with the delivery of applications (and vice versa), to enable a model in which control over the critical path for applications could be secured and to ensure access to necessary control functions in the face of failure or attack.
What's new with software-defined architectures is not just the logical separation but the physical decoupling and change in component responsibility. In traditional networks there is a logically separate control plane, but it is distributed; it resides on each physical component. In software-defined networks it is physically separate but it is centralized; control responsibility resides in a single component, the "controller".
Now, OpenStack and emerging models for scaling systems that will be responsible for managing communication with and for the Internet of Things (like MQTT) use a similar control model, but it's not as active as a software-defined architectural model, it's more a passive model. That's the nature of PubSub imposing itself on the network.
PubSub (publish / subscribe) is a familiar model to application developers. It's a middleware staple that's been used for a very long time to distribute messages to a variable set of systems. In a nutshell, PubSub is based on the notion of there existing a "queue" to which authorized components can publish events or messages of interest and to which interested components an subscribe. Events or messages have a life (like a TTL) and eventually expire. In the interim, it's expected that subscribed components check the queue for messages periodically. They poll for events or messages.
The queue itself is much like a switch or router's queue, except messages in the queue are duplicated until the TTL runs out and the message expires.
PubSub is passive; that is, it does not actively distribute messages. It merely serves as a kind of centralized repository, making available to those components that need it access to relevant information about the state of applications and/or the network.
Centralized Control Model
OpenFlow-based SDN, by contrast, is active. That is, it not only serves as a centralized repository for the state of applications and/or the network, but it actively distributes messages to components based on events. For example, a controller might receive a message from another system indicating the launch of a new application instance. That event triggers a series of actions on the controller that includes informing the affected network components of configuration changes. In a passive, PubSub model, the network components themselves might be polling for such an event and, upon receiving one, would initiate the appropriate configuration changes themselves.
We can simplify the description of the differences even more: a controller-based architecture uses a push model, while a pubsub-based architecture uses a pull model. What this doesn't illustrate well is that in a push model, the centralized controller must know how to communicate the desired changes to each and every component it is controlling. That's one of the reasons original models standardized on OpenFlow and were tightly focused on L2-4 stateless networking. It could be easily standardized down to a common forwarding table.While different components might internalize that differently, the basic information was always the same: IP addresses, ports and actions.
As we move up the stack into L4-7 stateful networking, however, this model becomes more burdensome because of the complexity of rule sets and differences in policy models across such a broad set of networking domains. Hence the plug-in support in controllers like OpenDaylight for "other" control protocols. But the basic premise of the model remains the same, regardless of the control protocol: the centralized controller dictates the changes to all components. It pushes those changes to the network. Both control and execution are centralized. The controller tells components to change their configuration.
PubSub centralizes control but decentralizes execution. The control plane is still centralized; there is one authoritative system responsible for disseminating change across the network, but each individual component (or domain controller but we'll get to that in a minute) is responsible for executing the appropriate changes based on their configured policies and services. A pubsub controller never tells a component "change this now"; that's up to the individual components (or domain controller).
The Integrated Control Model
To make things even more confusing (and disruptive), these models may be used simultaneously. A software-defined architecture might be based on a centralized control model with domain controllers for specific networking functions (like security and application delivery) integrated via a pubsub-based model.
This is where we start seeing models that combine emerging technologies like OpenStack and SDN architectures together. OpenStack manages at the data center level, and at its heart is pubsub model that can be used by domain controllers (stateless L2-4 SDN, stateful L4-7 SDN, etc...) to receive notification of changes in the network and subsequently push those changes using the appropriate control protocols to the components it is managing.
Needless to say, the term "disruptive" is really inadequate in describing the level of change in the network required to support either models (or both). Both require significant changes not just to the network itself but the way in which the network is fundamentally provisioned and managed. It's not just a new CLI or management console, these models dramatically change the design and management of networks.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Dec. 1, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 503
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Dec. 1, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 385
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment process from development to production scenarios using Docker containers.
Dec. 1, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 145
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Dec. 1, 2015 02:45 PM EST Reads: 448
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Dec. 1, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 451
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Dec. 1, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 549
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Dec. 1, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 358
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Dec. 1, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 311
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Dec. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 375
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Dec. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 476
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Dec. 1, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 515
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
Dec. 1, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 136
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Dec. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 581
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Dec. 1, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 485
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 398
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 397
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 256
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Dec. 1, 2015 06:30 AM EST Reads: 515
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Dec. 1, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 624
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Dec. 1, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 362