Welcome!

Release Management Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Release Management , Cloud Security, SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Post

Network Design in a Virtual World

Applications and operations must rule

We get quite caught up in high level architectures at times. It is good to read some posts that focus on design and implementation and the practicality of taking higher level architectures to reality. Two of Ivan’s posts caught my eye this week. In the first, he discusses the difference in how application and network folks look at the deployment of tiered applications and what that means for the security between them. In the second, he asks a question that our entire industry has under delivered on for more than a decade: why can’t we have plug-n-play networking? They may appear as wildly different topics, but in my mind they are more than related. Applications and operations must drive network design and implementation.

In creating a data center design it is important to carefully design how L2 and L3 are layered on top of the physical network. L2 and L3 provide different levels of separation and security domains and understanding what can (or should) go where can very significantly change how efficient an application runs on the network. As Ivan points out, in many cases layers of an application require additional network services between them. The obvious ones are firewalls and loadbalancers, less obvious ones may include IPS/IDS systems, mirror and compliance monitoring and I am sure you can come up with a few more.

Traffic from applications (or between tiers of an application, the often mentioned east-west traffic) needs to be passed through one or more of these network services (or none). With the distributed nature of the VM components of a tiered application, getting the traffic to these services is not always easy. There is a movement to virtualizing these services and have them distributed and co-located with the actual VMs, but some services simply need to be a applied in a more central place because of the context they need to do their work.

Getting traffic to centralized or semi-distributed services can be accomplished in several ways. By far the easiest is to have the application send the traffic explicitly to the service. Many firewalls also act as a router for a segment, so telling the application where its default router is ensures its traffic always ends up on the firewall. Most loadbalancers terminate a http or other connection oriented session on the “outside” and attach it to a new session on the “inside”, so that traffic also naturally flows to the service.

Carefully crafting the boundaries between subnets, what belongs on each subnet and what service is applied on and between subnets is not at all trivial. There are those that believe every server or even VM should be in its own 31 bit subnet. And while just about every application (and I include storage in that too for the most part) only really needs L2 connectivity to its router, there are traits of not requiring to route traffic that may reduce the need for the network services. Multicast based applications within a subnet just work without complexity. IGMP snooping on the switch ports is about all you need. Worrying about intrusion becomes easier when VMs or portions of applications cannot be reached from outside the subnet. There is no one size fits all, no magic design or template.

The question of plug and play networking should be an embarrassing one for all of us in the industry. We have not done anything to significantly improve the automatic provisioning of networks. Sure we have glued together some DHCP, LLDP, CDP or 802.1X based VLAN memberships (mostly pushed by VoIP phone enablement), but we honestly have not moved on significantly from those most basic steps. There is certainly progress when creating fabrics and we are doing our part to significantly reduce the amount of provisioning touches. The bulk of provisioning and configuration however is on the access side of a network, where we plug in our servers, appliances, storage and everything else. And Ivan is totally correct. Some of the fundamental tools exist to exchange useful information between the devices just connected, but we have not taken that to a next level and taken a good chunk of provisioning out of the hands of the operator (and their scripts).

The reality of network design and implementation is in the details. An understanding of the applications that use the networks and how they are tiered and separated into VMs is critical to understand how L2 and L3 are layered on top of a network. Virtualization may make this easier to dynamically attach VMs to network segments (L2 or L3), but the resulting traffic flow still needs to make sense. Especially if network services need to be applied.

When we talk to our customers, the discussion moves on from spine and leaf versus a mesh fabric very quickly in most cases. The bulk of the discussions are focused on flexibility, automation, placement of boundaries and adjustment of topologies. The design process is driven by the application. Which is why it is nice to see Ivan’s video article starting with an application and deriving a network design from it. Even if the application was a generic one.

[Today's fun fact: Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace. This is called propinquity.]

The post Network Design in a Virtual World: Applications and Operations must Rule appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Marten Terpstra

Marten Terpstra is a Product Management Director at Plexxi Inc. Marten has extensive knowledge of the architecture, design, deployment and management of enterprise and carrier networks.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...