|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.]
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,227
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,252
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Sep. 28, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,900
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,248
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,682
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,356
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,451
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, provided tips on how to be successful in large scale machine learning...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,079
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Sep. 28, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,469
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Sep. 28, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,804
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...
Sep. 28, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,204
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Sep. 28, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,835
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Sep. 28, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,989
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Sep. 28, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,647
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Sep. 28, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,688
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.
Sep. 28, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 4,613
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 & ...
Sep. 28, 2016 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,124
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Sep. 28, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,989
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Sep. 28, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,836
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Sep. 28, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,785