Welcome!

DevOps Journal Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Aater Suleman, Mike Kavis, Andrew Phillips

Related Topics: DevOps Journal, Java, Linux, Virtualization, SDN Journal

DevOps Journal: Blog Post

Network Service Provisioning Speed | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

Inarguably, the pressure is on the network to get in gear, so to speak, and address how fast its services can be up and running

Irrelevance of Hardware to Network Service Provisioning Speed
September 10, 2014

Inarguably, the pressure is on "the network" to get in gear, so to speak, and address how fast its services can be up and running. Software-defined architectures like cloud and SDN have arisen in response to this pressure, attempting to provide the means by which critical network services can be provisioned in hours instead of days.

Much of the blame for the time it takes to provision network services winds up landed squarely on the fact that much of the network is comprised of hardware. Not just any hardware, mind you, but special hardware. Such devices take time to procure, time to unbox, time to rack and time to cable. It's a manually intensive process that, when not anticipated, can take weeks to acquire and get into place.

Register For DevOps Summit "FREE" (before Friday) ▸ Here

Enter virtualization, cloud, containers and any other solution that holds, at its core, abstraction as a key characteristic. Abstraction all but eliminates the time it takes to procure hardware by enabling software to be deployed on any hardware, making the procurement process as simple as finding an empty server in the data center. After all, the majority of networking functions are just very specialized software running on very specific hardware.  Decouple the two and voila! Virtualized, containerized or cloud(erized) networking. Instantaneous! No more waiting for the network. Just push a button and you're done.

Only you aren't.

See, that's not counting the time it takes to actually provision and configure the desired services.

Most of the lamentable time it takes to provision network services has absolutely nothing to do with the underlying hardware. Whether it's commoditized off the shelf hardware or custom designed silicon makes no difference whatsoever in the actual time required to provision network services.  Both proprietary and commoditized hardware support a layer of abstraction - of virtualization - that enables them to be sliced and diced into discrete, consumable chunks of computing power. Within that "container" are the actual network services that need to be deployed to provide the breadth of network services required to keep today's applications scalable, secure and fast enough to satisfy both consumers and business constituents alike.

hardware versus hardware

To point to "hardware" as the primary impediment in rapidly provisioning these services is ludicrous. The hardware has nothing to do with the configuration of the minute and complex details associated with any given network service today. The slowdown is in the configuration of the services and the complexity of the topologies into which such services must be deployed.

This is the nature of application-focused networking. Each service - in addition to the nuts and bolts of IP addresses and VLANs and DNS entries - requires specific settings to ensure the network is able to provide the services upon which business rely to deliver applications. An optimized TCP stack for one application can mean disastrous performance for another. The specific application security details that protect one application may result in gaping holes in yet another application and completely break the functionality of another. The route one application takes through the network may provide excellent performance for one application but introduce unacceptable latency for another.

It is this reality with which network service configuration is concerned and why services absolutely must be application-driven with respect to their particular configuration. One size does not fit all when it comes to applications.

And thus it is these configurations - not the underlying hardware model - that impede service provisioning in the network and slow down application deployments. Manually flipping a bit here and a byte there and writing rules that deny access to that device but allow it from another are time consuming, error prone and terribly inefficient.

Virtualization of network functions a la NFV is only a panacea when one is deploying services that can be configured exactly the same, every time. That happens to be a model which works for service providers, who are concerned with scaling out specific functions in the network and not necessarily supporting new application deployments. In the enterprise, where the focus is on delivering individual applications with their own unique performance, security and reliability profiles, virtualization is nothing more than a means of squeezing out a greater economy of scale across existing hardware resources - whether commoditized or not.

Enterprises whose continued success relies on the fickle and highly volatile demands of consumer-facing applications are not so fortunate. Each network service must not only support the basic needs of an application but provide value in terms of improving performance, ensuring security or maintaining availability. To do that, each service must be tailored to the application - and sometimes to each client device - in question.

That takes time, and whether that service is deployed on a piece of commodity or custom hardware is irrelevant. The configuration is accomplished in software, which is the same whether running in a container, a virtual machine, or in plain old software daemon form.

That's why operationalization of the network is so critical to improving the alacrity with which application deployments are concluded. Going "virtual" isn't going to change the requirement for provisioning and configuration of the services, it only addresses the underlying process of acquiring and provisioning the appropriate resources.

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.

@DevOpsSummit Stories
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is correlated with 2...
We live in a time when seconds – even milliseconds – can have a dramatic economic impact on your company’s future. With technology being the primary conduit for consumer interaction, the user experience is at center stage. User experience will be a deciding factor in separating the future winners from the losers. By building more speed and agility into the application delivery process, DevOps promises great rewards. However, with this promise, also come significant ramifications for failure. In his session at DevOps Summit, Tom Lounibos, SOASTA CEO, will explore both the benefits and the som...
Our expectations for buying all sorts of consumer goods has gone through a radical transformation we now take for granted. Why should we not expect this same level of service from IT businesses? We accept the status quo for how software delivery exists today but would reject it without hesitation if it were applied to pretty much any other online consumer experience. Take pizza delivery as an example. Fifteen years ago ordering a pizza meant trying to choose an item from a grease-stained menu somebody shoved under your door. You'd make a phone call and end up speaking to somebody who sounded ...
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets and other modifications to the corporate security infrastructure. Connecting a public cloud to the ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grid Dynamics, the leading provider of scalable eCommerce technology solutions, will exhibit at DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grid Dynamics is a leading provider of open, scalable, next-generation commerce technology solutions for Tier 1 retail. Grid Dynamics has in-depth expertise in commerce technologies, wide involvement in the open source community and a modern, global workforce. Great companies, partnered with Grid Dynamics, gain a sustainable business...
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their smaller footprint, shorter boot times, and higher consolidation factors, they also bring a lot of new fea...
For better or worse, DevOps has gone mainstream. All doubt was removed when IBM and HP threw up their respective DevOps microsites. Where are we on the hype cycle? It's hard to say for sure but there's a feeling we're heading for the "Peak of Inflated Expectations". What does this mean for the Enterprise? Should they avoid DevOps? Definitely not. Should they be cautious though? Absolutely. The truth is that DevOps and the Enterprise are at best strange bedfellows. The movement has its roots in the tech community's elite. Open source projects and methodologies driven by the alumni of companies ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Serena Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Serena Software supports DevOps and Continuous Delivery by providing application deployment automation and software release management solutions to replace slow and error-prone manual processes. 2,500 enterprises around the world trust Serena to help them develop and deploy better software.
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing companies that have reshaped their Operations to enable the business to get full value from their Clo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gigaom Research has been named "Media Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, will also lead a Power Panel on the topic "Choosing the Right Cloud Option." Gigaom Research provides timely, in-depth analysis of emerging technologies for individual and corporate subscribers. Gigaom Research's network of 200+ independent analysts provides new content daily that bridges the gap between break...
Sanjeev Sharma is the latest author to join DevOps Journal. Sanjeev is a solution architect and DevOps Worldwide lead with Rational Software, an IBM brand and the author of 'DevOps for Dummies.' DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. SYS-CON Media CEO Carmen Gonzalez is founder and publisher of DevOps Journal, and Roger Strukhoff, long-time SYS-CON editor and the conference chair of Cloud Expo is the editor of the world's leading DevOps resource.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM is holding a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm at 15th Cloud Expo. 15th Cloud Expo, co-located with @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit is taking place Nov. 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The labs, for developers of all levels, will highlight the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionality and provide short-term introductory projects that developers can complete between sessions. Developers will be able spend as much time as they want working on specific DevOps pro...
When you set off to build an app that will change the world, designing your system architecture to be reliable and scalable is important but the stark reality is that, for your MVP, you probably had a “need for speed” (of development). You didn’t know what all the axes were to scale your application, where your stress points would be, and what weird and wonderful ways your customers would use it down the road. In a world of zero-downtime services, landing the plane to figure it out is not an option. In his session at DevOps Summit, Andrew Miklas, CTO of PagerDuty, will share lessons learned ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOASTA, the leader in cloud and mobile testing, will exhibit at DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOASTA is the leader in cloud testing. Its web and mobile test automation and monitoring solutions, CloudTest, TouchTest and mPulse, enable developers, QA professionals and IT operations teams to test and monitor users with unprecedented speed, scale, precision and visibility. The innovative product set streamlines test creation, automates provisioning and execution, ...
Founded in 1997, ActiveState is a global leader providing software application development and management solutions. The Company's products include: Stackato, a commercially supported Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that harnesses open source technologies such as Cloud Foundry and Docker; dynamic language distributions ActivePerl, ActivePython and ActiveTcl; and developer tools such as the popular Komodo Edit and Komodo IDE. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, ActiveState is trusted by customers and partners worldwide, across many industries including telecommunications, aerospace, software, fina...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ElasticBox is holding a Hackathon at DevOps Summit, November 6 from 12 pm -4 pm at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. You can enter as an individual or team of up to 10 developers. A New Star Is Born Every Month! All completed ElasticBoxes will then be sent to a judging panel - 12 winners will be featured on the ElasticBox website in 2015. All entrants will receive five full enterprise licenses for one year + ElasticBox headphones + ElasticBox T-shirt. Winners can also choose to interview with ElasticBox to join one of the fastest growi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calm.io has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calm.io is a cloud orchestration platform for AWS, vCenter, OpenStack, or bare metal, that runs your CL tools puppet, Chef, shell, git, Jenkins, nagios, and will soon support New Relic and Docker. It can run hosted, or on premise and provides VM automation / expiry, self-service portals, audit, approvals, and budgeting.
Blue Box has closed a $10 million Series B financing. The round was led by a strategic investor and included participation from prior investors including Voyager Capital and Founders Collective, as well as the Blue Box executive team. This round follows a $4.3 million Series A closed in December of 2012 and led by Voyager Capital. In May of this year, the company announced general availability of its private cloud as a service offering, Blue Box Cloud. Since that release, the company has demonstrated market validation through customer adoption, positive reviews from industry analysts and k...
The speed of product development has increased massively in the past 10 years. At the same time our formal secure development and SDL methodologies have fallen behind. This forces product developers to choose between rapid release times and security. In his session at DevOps Summit, Michael Murray, Director of Cyber Security Consulting and Assessment at GE Healthcare, will examine the problems and present some solutions for moving security in to the DevOps lifecycle to ensure that we get fast AND secure.