Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Victoria Livschitz, Lori MacVittie, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Larry Dragich

Related Topics: Web 2.0, Wireless, SOA & WOA, Cloud Expo, SDN Journal

Web 2.0: Blog Feed Post

1-800-HTTP

Trend toward applications as value added service requires application fluency

A newish trend is quietly (comparatively speaking) increasing across the Internets. The basic premise is that end-users aren't being charged for data traversing mobile networks when accessing certain sites, much in the manner users are not charged for calling a company's toll free (800) number. For some companies, this largess is intended only when accessing their site. More recently, at least one provider (T-Mobile) has gone to making free access to other sites, like Facebook.

AT&T to Let Content Companies Subsidize Users' Data Costs

AT&T's new service, called Sponsored Data, works like a 1-800 number but for data. In theory, a company like Netflix Inc. could promote a new series by covering the cost of data that otherwise would count against a subscriber's plan. Subscribers will see a logo that lets them know the content they are accessing doesn't count against their data plan, and sponsored data volumes will be broken out on their bills.

 

This month, T-Mobile US Inc. began giving subscribers to its lower-cost GoSmart Mobile prepaid service free wireless access to Facebook, even if those customers aren't paying for a mobile-data plan. Unlike with AT&T's new plan, T-Mobile is bearing the data costs under the offer, which could bring new customers to the service and get lower-end subscribers into the habit of using mobile data.

Now, aside from this being a Very Cool Idea from a consumer perspective, consider what such offerings require under the hood to actually get implemented.

The provider has to know the destination and whether or not that particular destination falls under what I'm going to call a "1-800-HTTP" plan. In order to know the destination, the provider must be able to look inside the data, the payload, of mobile network traffic. It must be able to, in real-time, inspect that traffic, extract the HTTP headers, and evaluate the host name against its list of "1-800-HTTP" plans. In real time.

Certainly the provider could use IP address destinations instead. Let's face it, Facebook's block of addresses probably doesn't change all that often. The same goes for most established organizations with a presence on the Internet.

The problem with this approach is the same as its always been when we start talking about whitelisting (or blacklisting) by IP address. It's not necessarily that they'll change that's problematic, it's the sheer number of IP addresses that must be maintained in a table and, ultimately, searched in real-time. Geeks will recognize this as the "IPtable" performance problem inherent in the proliferate use of iptables for software implementation of a variety of network services, often firewalling and security-related services.

The longer the list of entries in the table, the greater latency is introduced when switching and routing requires evaluation of a destination (or source) IP address against that table.

Thus, while early implementations of the "1-800-HTTP" plans may very well simply use IP addresses, if such offerings generate enough interest and grow rapidly, an IP address-based system generally will not scale.

IT'S ABOUT MORE THAN A HOSTNAME

But that's not the only thing going on under the covers. If you read the announcement, you'll note the statement "Subscribers will see a logo that lets them know the content they are accessing doesn't count against their data plan." In other words, an advertisement. Content. Application content. That content must be inserted into the payload, into the HTTP (aka application) payload. That means deep content inspection and modification, which requires visibility into layer 7. That means some kind of service has to exist in the data path that is capable of interacting with application data, that is fluent in the language of the application. That fluency is required in order to insert into its data this "logo" or advertisement expounding upon the largess of the organization sponsoring the free access.

What this all means is that as service providers continue to seek out new ways to add value to their (admittedly already valuable) networks, they will necessarily continue to move "up the stack" toward the application. There are a plethora of value added services based on application and data that could be made available by service providers, provided they have the right infrastructure in place. That infrastructure must be not only high-performance, but it must be able to maintain that performance while executing layer 7 (application) fluent-based services in the data path.

Whether services like "1-800-HTTP" will continue to gain traction and lead to other application / data specific offerings depends on whether or not mobile providers can maintain performance while executing some fairly intensive inspection and modification under the covers.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
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.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
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!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
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.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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 ...
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...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
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...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.