Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Harry Trott, Steve Wilson, Jason Bloomberg, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

SDN Journal: Article

An Intelligent Network Is Critical to Achieve Optimal Cloud Performance

Making the promise of cloud services a reality

The success or failure of public cloud services can be measured by whether they deliver high levels of performance, security and reliability that are on par with, or better than, those available within enterprise-owned data centers.

Gartner predicts that the global public cloud computing market is set to reach US$131 billion in 2013, up from $111 billion last year. To serve this market with the performance, security and reliability needed, cloud providers are moving quickly to build a virtualized multi-data center service architecture, or a "data center without walls."

This approach is made possible by cloud orchestration software that federates the data centers of both the enterprise customer and cloud service provider so that all compute, storage, and networking assets are treated as a single, virtual pool with optimal placement, migration, and interconnection of workloads and associated storage. This "data center without walls" architecture gives IT tremendous operational flexibility and agility to better respond and support business initiatives by transparently using both in-house and cloud-based resources. In fact, internal studies show that IT can experience resource efficiency gains of 35 percent over isolated provider data center architectures.

However, this architecture is not without its challenges. The migration of workload between enterprise and public cloud creates traffic between the two, as well as between clusters of provider data centers. In addition, transactional loads and demands placed on the backbone network, including self-service customer application operations (application creation, re-sizing, or deletion in the cloud) and specific provider administrative operations can cause variability and unpredictability to traffic volumes and patterns. To accommodate this variability in traffic, providers normally would have to over-provision the backbone to handle the sum of these peaks - an inefficient and costly approach.

Achieving Performance-on-Demand
In the future, rather than over-provisioning, service providers will employ intelligent networks that can be programmed to allocate bandwidth from a shared pool of resources where and when it is needed. This software-defined network (SDN) framework consists of the infrastructure layer - the transport and switching network elements; the network control layer (or SDN controller) - the software that configures the infrastructure layer to accommodate service demands; and the application layer - the service-creation/delivery software that determines required network connectivity - e.g., the cloud orchestrator.

SDN enables cloud services to benefit from performance-on-demand

The logically centralized control layer software is the lynchpin to providing orchestrated performance-on-demand. This configuration allows the orchestrator to request allocation of those resources without needing to understand the complexity of the underlying network.

For example, the orchestrator may simply request a connection between specified hosts in two different data centers to handle the transfer of 1 TB with a minimum flow rate of 1 Gb/s and packet delivery ratio of 99.9999% to begin between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. The SDN controller first verifies the request against its policy database, performs path computation to find the best resources for the request, and orchestrates the provisioning of those resources. It subsequently notifies the cloud orchestrator so that the orchestrator may initiate the inter-data center transaction.

The benefits to this approach include cost savings and operational efficiencies. Delivering performance-on-demand in this way can reduce cloud backbone capacity requirements by up to 50 percent compared to over-provisioning, while automation simplifies planning and operational practices, and reduces the costs associated with these tasks.

The network control and cloud application layers also can work hand-in-hand to optimize the service ecosystem as a whole. The network control layer has sight of the entire landscape of all existing connections, anticipated connections, and unallocated resources, making it more likely to find a viable path if one is possible - even if nodes or links are congested along the shortest route.

The cloud orchestrator at the application layer also has full visibility of inter-data center workload requirements and can choose destination data centers and schedule transactions to maximize the performance of the cloud service. Through communication with the network control layer, it can select the best combination of connection profile, time window and cost.

Intelligent Networking + Cloud for a Data Center Without Walls
Enterprise dependence on public cloud services is poised for the fast track; however enterprise networks between data centers, and from data centers to the cloud, need to evolve to make the promise of cloud services a reality. Using a "data center without walls" architecture which employs SDN-methodology to link physical, virtual and cloud resources, can help enterprises smooth out demand curves and deploy new services and applications with the robustness and performance that business requires.

More Stories By Jim Morin

Jim Morin is a Product Line Director working in Ciena’s Industry Marketing segment. He is responsible for developing and communicating solutions and the business value for Ciena’s enterprise data center networking and cloud networking opportunities. Prior to joining Ciena in 2008 he held roles in business development and product management for several high technology storage and networking companies in Minneapolis.

Jim holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas and a BA from the University of Notre Dame. He recently served on the Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in US Deployment of the Cloud (CLOUD2).

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that’s no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, will explore how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He wi...
There are several reasons why businesses migrate their operations to the cloud. Scalability and price are among the most important factors determining this transition. Unlike legacy systems, cloud based businesses can scale on demand. The database and applications in the cloud are not rendered simply from one server located in your headquarters, but is instead distributed across several servers across the world. Such CDNs also bring about greater control in times of uncertainty. A database hack ...
These days, change is the only constant. In order to adapt and thrive in an ever-advancing and sometimes chaotic workforce, companies must leverage intelligent tools to streamline operations. While we're only at the dawn of machine intelligence, using a workflow manager will benefit your company in both the short and long term. Think: reduced errors, improved efficiency and more empowered employees-and that's just the start. Here are five other reasons workflow automation is leading a revolution...
We define Hybrid IT as a management approach in which organizations create a workload-centric and value-driven integrated technology stack that may include legacy infrastructure, web-scale architectures, private cloud implementations along with public cloud platforms ranging from Infrastructure-as-a-Service to Software-as-a-Service.
Docker is sweeping across startups and enterprises alike, changing the way we build and ship applications. It's the most prominent and widely known software container platform, and it's particularly useful for eliminating common challenges when collaborating on code (like the "it works on my machine" phenomenon that most devs know all too well). With Docker, you can run and manage apps side-by-side - in isolated containers - resulting in better compute density. It's something that many developer...
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single-threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Dave Martin, Product owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how ...
Did you know that you can develop for mainframes in Java? Or that the testing and deployment can be automated across mobile to mainframe? In his session and demo at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Dana Boudreau, a Senior Director at CA Technologies, will discuss how increasingly teams are developing with agile methodologies, using modern development environments, and automating testing and deployments, mobile to mainframe.
Cloud adoption is often driven by a desire to increase efficiency, boost agility and save money. All too often, however, the reality involves unpredictable cost spikes and lack of oversight due to resource limitations. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Joe Kinsella, CTO and Founder of CloudHealth Technologies, tackled the question: “How do you build a fully optimized cloud?” He will examine: Why TCO is critical to achieving cloud success – and why attendees should be thinking holistically ab...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...
With Cloud Foundry you can easily deploy and use apps utilizing websocket technology, but not everybody realizes that scaling them out is not that trivial. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Roman Swoszowski, CTO and VP, Cloud Foundry Services, at Grape Up, will show you an example of how to deal with this issue. He will demonstrate a cloud-native Spring Boot app running in Cloud Foundry and communicating with clients over websocket protocol that can be easily scaled horizontally and coordinate...
Docker is on a roll. In the last few years, this container management service has become immensely popular in development, especially given the great fit with agile-based projects and continuous delivery. In this article, I want to take a brief look at how you can use Docker to accelerate and streamline the software development lifecycle (SDLC) process.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
IT organizations are moving to the cloud in hopes to approve efficiency, increase agility and save money. Migrating workloads might seem like a simple task, but what many businesses don’t realize is that application migration criteria differs across organizations, making it difficult for architects to arrive at an accurate TCO number. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Joe Kinsella, CTO of CloudHealth Technologies, will offer a systematic approach to understanding the TCO of a cloud application...
API Security has finally entered our security zeitgeist. OWASP Top 10 2017 - RC1 recognized API Security as a first class citizen by adding it as number 10, or A-10 on its list of web application vulnerabilities. We believe this is just the start. The attack surface area offered by API is orders or magnitude larger than any other attack surface area. Consider the fact the APIs expose cloud services, internal databases, application and even legacy mainframes over the internet. What could go wrong...
The goal of Continuous Testing is to shift testing left to find defects earlier and release software faster. This can be achieved by integrating a set of open source functional and performance testing tools in the early stages of your software delivery lifecycle. There is one process that binds all application delivery stages together into one well-orchestrated machine: Continuous Testing. Continuous Testing is the conveyer belt between the Software Factory and production stages. Artifacts are m...
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Kelly Looney, director of DevOps consulting for Skytap, showed how an incremental approach to introducing containers into complex, distributed applications results in modernization with less risk and more reward. He also shared the story of how Skytap used Docker to get out of the business of managing infrastructure, and into the business of delivering innovation and business value. Attendees learned how up-front planning allows for a clean sep...
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost ...