Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Sanjay Uppal, Liz McMillan, James Carlini, Elizabeth White, SmartBear Blog

Blog Feed Post

Plexxi for the 99.9 percent

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.]

The post Plexxi for the 99.9 percent 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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.