|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.]
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Nov. 25, 2015 05:00 PM EST Reads: 299
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 25, 2015 04:15 PM EST Reads: 471
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:45 PM EST Reads: 493
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Nov. 25, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 502
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 423
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 507
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 350
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 25, 2015 01:30 PM EST Reads: 463
There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content. Join @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indespensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.
Nov. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 515
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
Nov. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 362
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Nov. 25, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 428
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 25, 2015 09:45 AM EST Reads: 115
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 265
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Nov. 25, 2015 08:15 AM EST Reads: 348
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Nov. 25, 2015 07:45 AM EST Reads: 344
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 25, 2015 07:30 AM EST Reads: 250
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Nov. 25, 2015 05:45 AM EST Reads: 378
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 25, 2015 05:45 AM EST Reads: 288
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Nov. 25, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 681
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 25, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 291