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Rethinking the Network

Michael Bushong

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Top Stories by Michael Bushong

For folks accustomed to the original blogs we post daily, our industry is in the throes of VMworld bliss, so we will be running the Best of Plexxi this week. Of course, if you haven’t read this one yet, it’s new for you! Stop by Booth 747 if you are in San Francisco this week, and say hello! The SDN dialogue remains fairly focused on automation. This is actually a good thing; the manual nature of networking combined with an increasingly complex solution space means that networking is in dire need of some help on the automation front. There has been a meteoric rise in the number of companies building tools for this very purpose. The increased attention gives me hope that this problem is on its way to eradication (though I admit it will take years to be fully addressed). But what comes after automation? There is no doubt that there are increasing demands on networks. N... (more)

Explicitly-defined failure domains in the datacenter

While the bulk of the networking industry’s focus is on CapEx and automation, the two major trends driving changes in these areas will have a potentially greater impact on that which matters most: availability. In fact, despite that datacenter purchasing decisions skew towards CapEx, the number one requirement for most datacenters is uptime. If availability is so important, why is it not the number one purchasing criteria already? First, it’s not that availability doesn’t matter. It’s more that when everyone is building the same thing, it ceases to be a differentiating point. M... (more)

Scaling Big Data Fabrics

When people talk about Big Data, the emphasis is usually on the Big. Certainly, Big Data applications are distributed largely because the size of the data on which computations are executed warrants more than a typical application can handle. But scaling the network that provides connectivity between Big Data nodes is not just about creating massive interconnects. In fact, the size of the network might be the least interesting aspect of scaling Big Data fabrics. Just how big is Big Data? Not that long ago, I asked the question: how large is a typical Big Data deployment? I was e... (more)

IT Infrastructure: -able vs. -ed

There are two fairly recurrent memes in IT infrastructure: the There’s an API for that! theme, and the Out of box! theme. It is actually telling that both continue to get play in IT given that they represent polar opposites. Assuming that each has a value, when do you need something that is -able (integratable, orchestratable, programmable), and when is it better to have something that is -ed (integrated, orchestrated, programmed)? Extensibility or capability? At the heart of the -able vs -ed decision is whether your primary requirement is extensibility or capability. But even the... (more)

Why Contextual Data Locality Matters

Big Data is quickly overtaking SDN as a key phrase in today’s networking lingo. And overused already as it may be, it actually has a lot more meaning and definition compared to SDN. Big Data solutions are designed to work on lots of data as the name suggests. Of course they have been around forever, talk to any large bank, credit card company, airline or logistics company and all of them have had applications running on extremely large databases and data sets forever. But this is the new Big Data, the one inspired by Hadoop, MapReduce and friends. High performance compute cluster... (more)