|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.
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Sep. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 671
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Sep. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 318
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Sep. 1, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 225
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Sep. 1, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 237
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
Sep. 1, 2015 09:00 AM EDT
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Sep. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 146
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
Sep. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EDT
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Sep. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 166
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Sep. 1, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 464
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.
Aug. 31, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 376
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Aug. 31, 2015 07:00 PM EDT
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
Aug. 31, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 247
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 467
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 423
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 31, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 904
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, a producer of the first smartphones and tablets, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. He will explain how M2M controllers work through wirelessly connected remote controls; and specifically delve into a retrofit option that reverse-engineers control codes of existing conventional controller systems so they don't have to be replaced and are instantly converted to become smart, connected devices.
Aug. 31, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 125
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Aug. 31, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 432
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Aug. 26, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 197
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Aug. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 559
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 490