Rethinking the Network

Michael Bushong

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Top Stories by Michael Bushong

From a cost perspective, the networking dialogue is dominated by CapEx. Acquisition costs for new networking gear have historically been tied to hardware, and despite the relatively recent rise of bare metal switching, networking hardware remains a high-stakes business. But SDN is changing this dynamic in potentially significant ways. The first point to clarify when talking about CapEx is that CapEx does not necessarily mean hardware (at least not the way that most people mean). While there is a strict financial definition for CapEx, in the networking industry it has become shorthand for Procurement Costs. Because networking solutions have been predominantly monetized through hardware, we associate procurement costs with hardware, but this is changing. The fact that the ’S’ in SDN stands for software is reason enough for people to look beyond the chassis. But the r... (more)

Elephants Need Affinities

Perhaps somewhat lost in a ridiculously hyper week of datacenter announcements last week was this article from some of the network minds at VMware. The article describes a division of flow types in datacenter environments (they probably exist elsewhere too but probably less pronounced). Elephant flows are those flows that are long lived between sets of applications and are responsible for the majority of traffic exchanged in a data center network. Their counterparts, mice flows, are very short-lived, bursty flows that are responsible for the bulk of the total flows. The challen... (more)

Plexxi Pulse – DevOps Integration with SolarWinds

Today Plexxi and SolarWinds participated in SDNCentral’s DemoFriday where they demonstrated a DevOps integration that builds and sustains Plexxi Affinities using compute and network information for both physical and virtual nodes, resulting from SolarWinds Orion NPM. This integration creates a less complex operational environment and ultimately mitigates long-term operational expense (OpEx). In Plexxi’s video of the week Dan Backman explains how Plexxi’s Switch 2 has evolved from our cleverly named Switch 1 and Switch 1x. Here is the video of the week and some of my reads in the ... (more)

Smartest-Person-in-the-Room Complex

A few weeks ago, I came across one of those LinkedIn stories that pop up in everyone’s feed. Basically, it was an advice column dedicated to answering a question from someone who asked if he should leave a company that made stupid decisions despite him telling everyone what the right answer was. The comments section of the article was particularly one-sided as everyone sided with this individual, suggesting that if the company’s leadership team had such big egos that they never listened, he ought to find somewhere else to work. I find this type of response maddening. There is ... (more)

2013 in Review: The Stories That Weren’t

From a news perspective, a year is defined by the stories that make headlines. But markets are frequently moved more by subtext than overt story. Its sometimes the less sexy and more subtle happenings at the fringe of media interest that determine how industries will evolve and ultimately who will win and lose. This past year was certainly the year of software-defined networking, but what important supporting bits played out just out of the limelight? The Launch. Given the amount of industry build-up, including rumors, a couple of head fakes, at least one aborted launch, and a ... (more)