|By Marten Terpstra||
|March 13, 2014 06:00 AM EDT||
A few weeks ago I attempted to explain what Plexxi does to someone that was not very familiar with computer networking and data centers. He owns a landscaping business and his knowledge of computers is mostly limited to casual use for browsing and some basic billing and quoting. Those moments are very humbling, it provides a great sense that while we (or maybe just me) think we do important and extremely exciting work, the vast majority of everyone else outside our little club really does not know anything about what we do, or care to know anything about what we do. And that is a wonderful reality check.
He was however sincerely interested in what we do and what was special about what we do. I spent about 10 minutes explaining what a data center is and what purpose it serves. Having everyone in the world know and use Facebook, Google, eBay and the likes really helps as a reference point of “something” that is being provided out of a large warehouse filled with computers. It is also relatively easy to articulate the size of the larger data centers in terms of the amount of computers and pure physical size, and coupled with an explanation of 100,000s of users all being “connected” to the same data center gets a reasonable association and explanation of size for most.
After that however, it gets much harder to keep explaining to those not in our little club. When I start explaining how all these computers need to be connected together because they “talk” to each other, and that we use specialized computers called “switches” and “routers” for that, the level of attention starts to wane. Speed of servers, interface cards, network capacity, bandwidth and any of these things we worry about every day have almost no meaning to everyone else. I have many times explained it by doing comparisons to the typical home computer and home broadband access speed but really the comparison means nothing. And except for us nerdy folks, they have tuned out. And probably rightfully so.
Once lost, it’s very hard to bring back. Let alone talking about optimizations, topologies, forwarding behaviors, Affinities, Integrations, APIs and all the other things that differentiate Plexxi from our competitors. So how then do you explain datacenter networking in general and Plexxi value-add specifically to someone that really does not want to know the details?
Think about the variety of ways you can send mail around the world. There is regular mail where you simply drop it into the mailbox. The post office folks take the pile of mail and separate local vs non local mail. Local mail is kept in the post office and sorted for delivery. Non local is trucked off to a processing center where it is sorted by destination. Mail is marked with a unique code (two actually, one in front that is a representation of the zip code, one in the back in bright orange that is a unique identifier of the letter, overlays anyone?), sorted, and then either passed onto the next processing plant, or passed back to a post office served by this processing plant. On the process goes until the delivery man or woman picks up mail for his or her route and delivers it.
This works fine, but sometimes you need to ship something fast. Faster than normal mail. You pay extra, but your mail takes a different path to get to its destination. Priority mail gets simple preferential treatment in the same process, but you can get better service, Express Mail (overnight delivery) that will shortcut the route between source and destination. Parcel service is bulky and requires different trucks and possibly different routes. The customer requests a specific service, and the Post Office provides it by changing the way they transport the mail.
Datacenter networks provide a similar service to servers in a data center. Except that today’s networks can only provide regular First Class and Priority mail. It all travels the same route. Which means when certain destinations are popular, things slow down. And if you want it there faster, you can’t. Or if you need to send lots of bulky mail, it takes the place of lots of regular mail. The specialized service is simply not provided.
What Plexxi networks provide is Express Mail, Parcel mail and several other variations to servers in a datacenter, combined with a system that allows you to register what type of mail you send to someone else. And that same system looks at all that needs to be delivered and figures out the best way to do so. For all the different types of mail.
I smile when I get an understanding nod when I complete my explanation of what Plexxi does and what makes it different. Mission accomplished and reality checked. We work in a little world of data centers and networking and virtualization and overlays and as exciting as it is to us, 99.9% of everyone else has no idea what we are talking about. And that’s a good thing.
[Today's fun fact: The U.S. city with the highest rate of lightning strikes per capita is Clearwater, Florida. When I first read that it sounded just fine, until I read the "per capita", which made this a weird fact.]
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 23, 2016 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,193
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jul. 23, 2016 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,848
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
Jul. 23, 2016 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,216
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Jul. 23, 2016 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,409
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
Jul. 23, 2016 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,940
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Jul. 23, 2016 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,646
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Jul. 23, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,767
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 23, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,017
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
Jul. 23, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,789
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Jul. 23, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,411
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Jul. 23, 2016 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,867
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
Jul. 23, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 870
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Jul. 23, 2016 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 800
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
Jul. 23, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,886
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 23, 2016 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,721
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, discussed how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technologi...
Jul. 23, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 939
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
Jul. 23, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,305
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Jul. 23, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,982
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.
Jul. 23, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,508
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Jul. 23, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,841