|By Michael Bushong||
|May 28, 2014 06:00 AM EDT||
The rapid growth in compute demand is well understood. To keep up with accelerating requirements, CPUs have gone through a massive transformation over the years. Starting with relatively low-capacity CPUs, the expansion of capability to what is available today has certainly been remarkable – enough to satisfy even Gordon Moore. But keeping up with demand was not a matter of simply making bigger and faster chips. To get more capacity, we actually went smaller.
As it turns out, there are practical limitations to just scaling things larger. To get more capacity out of individual CPUs, we went from large single cores to multi-core processors. This obviously required a change in applications to take advantage of multiple cores. The result is a distributed architecture and the proliferation of “scale out” as a buzzword in our industry.
From an application perspective, the trend continues. Applications that require performance continue to move to multi-tiered applications that are distributed across a number of VMs. This is true for massive web-scale applications like Facebook, but also for other applications like MapReduce.
To get bigger, we get smaller
The technology trend is clear: to get more output, move to smaller blocks of capacity, and coordinate workloads across that capacity.
If this is true, then the future will be lots of small pools of resources that rely on the network for interconnectivity. As applications become more distributed, then performance between these pools becomes even more critical. Even small amounts of pool-to-pool latency can aggregate up into significant impacts, either because of interesting failure conditions with asynchronous operations or because of the cumulative performance impact.
As interconnectivity takes a larger role, we should expect the discussion of commoditization of network resources to expand. Today, there is a strong argument around commoditizing the switch hardware (largely via merchant silicon) and the switch operating system (through players like Cumulus, Big Switch, and Pica8). But massive distribution will require both a commoditized interconnect and a commoditized orchestration platform.
On the latter, it would seem that OpenDaylight is poised to lead the charge. With an industry-backed open source solution, it will be difficult to justify premium control products, which should be sufficient in driving that aspect of the solution towards commodity. But that still leaves the interconnect piece unaccounted for.
Getting to a cheaper interconnect
There is probably a case to be made for leaf-spine architectures here, but if the number of servers continues to expand, there are some ugly economics at play. Scaling out in a leaf-spine architecture requires scaling up at the same time. As the interconnect demands increase, the number of spine switches increases. You eventually get into spines of spines, which starts to look an awful like like traditional three-tier architectures.
The sheer number of devices and cables drive the cost unfavorably. And when you consider the long-term operational costs tied to power, cooling, space, and management, it’s unclear where the budgetary breaking point is. Beyond just the costs, the other issue here is that every time a new layer is added, you add a couple of more fabric switch hops. If application performance is based on both capacity and latency, then every time you add switch hops, you incur a potentially heavy performance penalty.
At some point, you need to move away from multi-hop connectivity through the fabric.
Moving away from multi-hop fabrics
Instinctively, we already know this. There is already a tendency to rack gear up in close proximity to other gear to which it is tied. You might, for example, balance Hadoop loads across a number of servers that are in the same rack. Essentially, what we are doing in these cases is acknowledging that proximity matters, and we are statically designing for it.
But what happens when things aren’t static?
In a datacenter where applications are portable across servers, the network capacity cannot be statically planned. And as application requirements change (often dynamically as load changes), then the network capacity demands will also change. This requires an interconnect that is both high in capacity and dynamic.
This problem is slightly different than the compute problem. On the compute side, it was enough to free up resources (or create additional ones) and then move the application to the resource. In this case, the application is fixed, which means the capacity has to move to the application. When capacity is statically allocated, this poses a problem.
The bottom line
The only solutions here are to either over provision everything, or move towards a dynamic interconnect. The first is counter to the trends we learn from compute – make things smaller and more distributed. In this case you get out of the problem by paying for it. The question is whether this flies in the face of all the commoditization trends. What good is commoditizing something if the end solution requires buying a ton more? You would have to see cost declines match capacity increases, but this seems unlikely as there is no upper limit for capacity whereas cost will asymptotically approach some profit threshold.
If the trends in compute and storage hold true for networking, then the current trajectory of some networking solutions will need to change. Learning from the past is a great way to shape the future.
[Today’s fun fact: Lobster was one of the main entrees at the first Thanksgiving dinner. They also had Cheddar Bay Biscuits I think.]
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
Jan. 30, 2015 06:30 AM EST Reads: 1,915
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
Jan. 30, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 2,761
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Jan. 30, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 2,826
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Jan. 30, 2015 04:45 AM EST Reads: 3,120
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Jan. 30, 2015 04:30 AM EST Reads: 3,160
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Jan. 30, 2015 03:30 AM EST Reads: 3,092
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
Jan. 30, 2015 03:30 AM EST Reads: 3,814
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...
Jan. 30, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 3,433
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
Jan. 30, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 1,868
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Jan. 30, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 3,012
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Jan. 30, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 3,034
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Jan. 30, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 3,035
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Jan. 30, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 2,906
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Jan. 30, 2015 12:30 AM EST Reads: 3,050
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Jan. 29, 2015 06:15 PM EST Reads: 4,103
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jan. 29, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 3,290
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
Jan. 29, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 3,043
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Jan. 29, 2015 05:00 PM EST Reads: 4,101
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 29, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 2,632
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Jan. 29, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 3,197