|By Greg Ness||
|November 5, 2008 09:30 AM EST||
I think it is only a matter of time before ALL of the leading networking players start talking about the (strategic importance of the) network as a way to succeed in an uncertain economic climate. Last week, in "Cloud Computing, Virtualization and IT Diseconomies" I talked about the increasingly intense pressures already building on static network infrastructure, and the underlying need for more intelligence and automation.
I think the new survival mantra for the coming economic weakness will be "He (or she) who automates wins." As the industrial age emerged from the agricultural age, and as it blends with the computer age, innovation has been driven by the ability of visionaries to boost productivity through automation and connectivity.
I just watched Cisco's John Chambers "Can IT Strengthen the Economy?" interview at the recent Gartner conference just released. Chambers clearly sees innovation as the way out. The network is strategic to business productivity. Flexibility, speed and scale are becoming even more important. That means dynamic connectivity and intelligence will become even more strategic to the network.
I think Chambers gets it and is reminding his customers that strategic innovation will trump mere cost-cutting in a period of economic uncertainty. Those who emerge will emerge even more powerful because they will have avoided the temptation to make the network tactical with the long term vision of shifting it to the cloud ala Nicholas Carr's vision of utility computing.
I think it is only a matter of time before ALL of the leading networking players start talking about the (strategic importance of the) network as a way to succeed in an uncertain economic climate. Last week, in Cloud Computing, Virtualization and IT Diseconomies I talked about the increasingly intense pressures already building on static network infrastructure, and the underlying need for more intelligence and automation.
These intense pressures are setting the stage for the next technology boom, by creating gaps between what networks can do today and what they'll need to do tomorrow. I was amazed at how quickly the concept of Infratsructure2.0 spread, including an interesting discussion at F5 Network's pace-setting DevCentral blog.
These pressures are coming from increasing rates of change, especially in larger networks supporting more devices and branches and processes, as well as with the introduction of consolidation, virtualization and cloud computing initiatives. These new initiatives are introducing even higher rates of change and making it clear that a static network will no longer be a strategic network.
"But the cloud platform, like the software platform before it, has new rules for competitive advantage. And chief among those advantages are those that we've identified as "Web 2.0", the design of systems that harness network effects to get better the more people use them."
- Tim O'Reilly "Web2.0 and Cloud Computing, October 2008
As Nicholas correctly challenges the role of "network effects" he then engages a fallacy that I think is the core of his misperception of the role of network infrastructure within IT. That is, his electric utility as IT metaphor leads him down a path that is well-trodden from a hype perspective, but not yet enterprise-grade. He talks about economies of scale in IT that can contribute to which cloud players win or lose:
1. Capital intensity. Building a large utility computing system requires lots of capital, which itself presents a big barrier to entry.
2. Scale advantages. As O'Reilly himself notes, big players reap important scale economies in equipment, labor, real estate, electricity, and other inputs.
3. Diversity factor. One of the big advantages that accrue to utilities is their ability to make demand flatter and more predictable (by serving a diverse group of customers with varying demand patterns), which in turn allows them to use their capital more efficiently. As your customer base expands, so does your diversity factor and hence your efficiency advantage and your ability to undercut your less-efficient competitors' prices.
- Nicholas Carr, "What Time O'Reilly gets wrong about the cloud", October 2008
In Cloud Computing, Virtualization and IT Diseconomies I talked about the prevalence of manual labor in critical IT processes, from IP address management to servers that lead to substantial scale and complexity challenges. Exactly where are the advantages if the costs of simple tasks per IP address go up (on a per IP address basis) as networks get larger? Here's what I wrote:
"As much as cloud computing has rallied behind the prospect of electricity and real estate savings, the business case still feels like a dotcom hangover in some cases. Virtualization is still a bit hamstrung in the enterprise by the disconnect between static infrastructure and moving, state-changing VMs; and labor is the largest cost component of server TCO (IDC findings) and a significant component of network TCO (as suggested by the Computerworld findings). So just how much will real estate and electricity savings offset other diseconomies and barriers in the cloud game? I think cloud computing will also have to innovate in areas like automation and connectivity intelligence."
I think that rising complexity and scale challenges driven by various initiatives (including cloud computing) will force static networks to evolve into dynamic networks. That is the only way that scale and complexity can be addressed, and I think that is the core of Carr's challenge to enterprise IT. Dynamic networks would create a new level of automation potential and reduce the sheer amount of resources dedicated to connectivity and change, which will only go up as endpoints and systems become more mobile and more dynamic.
[Thanks to Rick Kagan and Stu Bailey at Infoblox for the above image]
Across several recent articles at Archimedius I've talked about the increasingly costly demands of manual labor on IT, including IP address management, DNS, DHCP and a host of other core network services. I've talked about the importance of reachability and connectivity intelligence within the network so that solutions can learn and adapt to these new fluid systems and more powerful endpoints.
Recent Computerworld and IDC research was also cited in , my lengthy tome predicting the shrinking role of manual labor in IT. I noted larger enterprises paying more for mundane, boring tasks like managing IP addresses by spreadsheet, even on a cost per IP address basis.Cloud Computing, Virtualization and IT Diseconomies
I'll also go so far as to suggest who the leaders are in each required category, from endpoint intelligence (Microsoft), to network intelligence (Cisco) to application intelligence (F5 Networks). I inserted Infoblox as the leader in connectivity intelligence, which I see as this emerging dynamic feedback loop between systems, endpoints and networks now overly dependent upon manual labor to address rising flexibility and scale demands. (Disclaimer: I work for Infoblox).
Managing a heterogeneous infrastructure is difficult enough, but managing a dynamic, ever changing heterogeneous infrastructure that must be stable enough to deliver dynamic applications makes the former look like a walk in the park. Part of the problem is certainly the inability to manage heterogeneous network infrastructure devices from a single management system.
- Lori MacVittie, F5 DevCentral
Who knows if standards could ever emerge between the likes of Cisco, Juniper, Brocade, Riverbed and F5 Networks. Lorie is quick to point out that they have worked in the past, as with WS-I (which included Microsoft and Oracle, among others). A very interesting standard I mentioned previously is IF-MAP from the Trusted Computing Group, which includes ArcSight, Aruba, Infoblox and Juniper, among others.
As the Mind requires a Nervous System; Network Intelligence requires Connectivity Intelligence
Yet I think standards will only be part of the solution, even if they are adopted. I think the critical requirement for Infrastructure2.0 will be connectivity intelligence. TCP/IP has now outgrown its static shell and is about to be tasked with connecting even more powerful and dynamic systems. Whether it's the rise of RFID in supply chain, mobility ala Google's Android, or even the adoption of parking meters with their own IP addresses, it is clear that TCP/IP is spreading with or without a strong economy and the most productive enterprises will be the most likely to survive.
The manual labor that has driven IP address management costs higher as networks grow larger is similarly impacting other core network services (like DNS and DHCP) that were not created to support such complex arrays of devices, branches and systems. This is the broader opportunity for Juniper, Brocade and others as well, not only to reduce network infrastructure TCO but to address the new level of flexibility enabled by virtualization and other initiatives driving new scale and flexibility requirements.
Enterprises are now on the battlefield between two competing forces, the rapid proliferation of TCP/IP and the increasingly dynamic and powerful systems and endpoints attaching to the network in order to boost productivity. Those who succeed will have invested in automation based on dynamic feedback between devices and systems and the rise in network intelligence.
Gone will be manual spreadsheets tracking IP addresses across large and ever-changing extended enterprise networks. Gone will be endless hours of overtime tied up in mundane and resource-consuming tasks. Gone will be manual pings to determine whether a network is available or secure or not.
This is the next technology boom, the era of Infratsructure2.0. Cisco is already on message. F5 is getting there and I think it is only a matter of time before the marketers at the world's leading technology companies realize that the war is on, and all of the old alliances that enabled exclusivity and lock-in and layers of manual labor are off the table.
Out of this coming weakness will emerge new strength, possibilities and profits. As Microsoft, Google, Amazon build up steam in the cloud they are creating demands for even more powerful and intelligent networks. Enterprises who see the network as tactical will take the brunt of the pain from a weak economy; those who embrace automation will be the fastest to return to normal and ultimately establish and or maintain operational leadership.
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.
Sep. 4, 2015 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 443
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Sep. 4, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 530
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
Sep. 4, 2015 04:00 PM EDT
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, will discuss how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the data to create additional revenue streams, such as improved warranties or premium features. Or slash...
Sep. 4, 2015 04:00 PM EDT
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Sep. 4, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 144
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sep. 4, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 979
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Sep. 4, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 227
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Sep. 4, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 271
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be.
Sep. 4, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 233
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Sep. 4, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 121
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Sep. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 297
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, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
Sep. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 110
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Sep. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 503
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Sep. 4, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 402
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on demos and comprehensive walkthroughs.
Sep. 4, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 433
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Sep. 4, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,618
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Expo" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Sep. 4, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 666
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Sep. 4, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 337
Containers are not new, but renewed commitments to performance, flexibility, and agility have propelled them to the top of the agenda today. By working without the need for virtualization and its overhead, containers are seen as the perfect way to deploy apps and services across multiple clouds. Containers can handle anything from file types to operating systems and services, including microservices. What are microservices? Unlike what the name implies, microservices are not necessarily small, but are focused on specific tasks. The ability for developers to deploy multiple containers – thous...
Sep. 4, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 218
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in 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 change in personal an...
Sep. 4, 2015 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,050