Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

The Next Technology Boom is Already Underway at Cisco, F5 Networks, Riverbed and VMware

Clouds, Virtualization and IT Diseconomies

In a 2.0 world servers are virtual and dynamic, and move around even more frequently than wireless laptops and phones. While the DHCP protocol can assign addresses dynamically - and lots of other configuration data too (like the address for critical infrastructure elements like the network gateway router, the DNS server, even device-specific configuration info, etc.), the pools of addresses handed out by DHCP have to be managed, and there are lots of reasons why admins need to know which device received a particular address - and applications need to able to reach devices by name (e.g. Windows host name) versus an IP address.

Perhaps it takes 30 minutes on average to find an address, allocate it, get a device configured, update the spreadsheet and update DNS. That was more manageable in a static world, though the increasing cost/IP to perform these tasks in larger networks is a direct consequence of manual systems breaking down in the face of scale. Now consider a 30 minute process for a device - or a virtual application instance - that changes IPs every few hours, or faster. When a 1.0 infrastructure meets 2.0 requirements, things start to break pretty quickly.

That is why, even with the simple act of managing an enterprise network's IP addresses, which is critical to the availability and proper functioning of the network, actually goes up as IP addresses are added. As TCP/IP continues to spread and take productivity to new heights, management costs are already escalating.

This is a very fundamental observation based on one of the most common network management tasks. You can assume that there are other slopes even steeper because of complexity and reliance upon manual labor.

Some enterprises are already paying even higher expenses per IP address, and chances are they don't even know it because these expenses are being hidden within network operations. Reducing headcounts risk increasing these costs further or making substantial sacrifices in network availability and flexibility.

IPAM as the Switchboard Metaphor

If something as simple and straightforward as IP address management doesn't scale, imagine the impacts of more complex network management tasks, like those involved with consolidation, compliance, security, and virtualization. There are probably many other opportunities for automation tucked away within many IT departments in the mesh between static infrastructure and moving, dynamic systems and endpoints.

This will force enterprise IT departments into similar discussions as those which likely took place decades ago within the Bell System when telecom executives looked at the dramatic increase in the use and distribution of telephones and mushrooming requirements for operators and switchboards and offices and salaries and benefits. One can only imagine the costs and challenges that we would face today if the basic connection decisions were still made by a human operator.

The counterpart to the switchboard of yesteryear for IPAM is the spreadsheet of today. Networking pros in most enterprises manage IP addresses using "freeware" that has an ugly underside; it produces escalating hidden expenses that are only now being recognized, mostly by large enterprises. Mix the growth of the network with new dynamic applications and new factors of mobility with a little human error and you have a recipe for availability, security and TCO issues.

Many of these switchboards can probably be bought or manufactured today for a song, yet it is the other costs (TCO and availability and flexibility) which make them cost-prohibitive.

Server Déjà vu

Another one of the TCO fables that are similarly bound to take the steam out of cloud fantasies has to do with hardware expenses. The cloudplex will utilize racks of commodity servers populated with VMs that can scale up as needed in order to save electricity and make IT more flexible. That makes incredibly good sense, but are we really there yet? No.

Servers have a very large manual labor component, according to an IDC Report hosted at Microsoft.com. The drumbeat for real estate and electricity savings may play well to the bigger picture buyer; yet perhaps the real payoff of virtualization is its potential to automate manual tasks, like creating and moving a server on demand.

Just how many organizations have launched virtualization initiatives only to find out that they didn't have the infrastructure to allow them to save electricity, real estate or people power? The network infrastructure simply wasn't intelligent enough to enable anything more than virtualization-lite, because the links between the infrastructure and the software were still manually constrained.

Yet one of the core promises of virtualization is to automate the deployment of server power. If this is constrained by infrastructure1.0 (as I'm suggesting) then VMware and its partners need to address the "static infrastructure meets dynamic processing power" challenge rapidly in order to achieve levels of growth once expected in 2007. With Microsoft now in the virtualization market thanks to Hyper-V, VMware's window of first mover advantage is starting to close.

Virtualization security now risks becoming a metaphor for other technology-related issues that could slow down the adoption of virtualization in the lucrative production data center market.

Netsec Wasn't Ready for Virtsec

The lack of network security connectivity intelligence meant that security policy, for example, would limit VMotion to within hardware-centric hypervisor VLANs. Network security infrastructure wasn't prepared for the challenges of protecting moving, state-changing servers, despite the promise of a stellar lineup of VMsafe partners.

The promise of virtualization that drove VMware's stock price into the clouds eventually met up with lowered growth expectations as deployments were impacted by the lack of connectivity intelligence that no doubt impacted other potential business cases for the unquestionable power of virtualization to someday unleash new economies of scale and computing power. These issues too will hit the cloud dream as they have also impacted other initiatives, albeit on a smaller and less visible scale.

Today there are plenty of new initiatives facing mounting pressures for connectivity intelligence and automation that have already left enterprise CIOs holding the bag for similar ecosystem finger-pointing. Whether or not we enter a global recession, these pressures will continue and likely worsen. They are artifacts of years of application, network and endpoint intelligence promises colliding with static TCP/IP infrastructure.

Saving money by cutting network operations or capital budgets is the equivalent of Ma Bell laying off operators or closing switchboards in the midst of unstoppable growth. Automation is the only way out, as Cisco's Chambers hinted recently.

More Stories By Greg Ness

Gregory Ness is the VP of Marketing of Vidder and has over 30 years of experience in marketing technology, B2B and consumer products and services. Prior to Vidder, he was VP of Marketing at cloud migration pioneer CloudVelox. Before CloudVelox he held marketing leadership positions at Vantage Data Centers, Infoblox (BLOX), BlueLane Technologies (VMW), Redline Networks (JNPR), IntruVert (INTC) and ShoreTel (SHOR). He has a BA from Reed College and an MA from The University of Texas at Austin. He has spoken on virtualization, networking, security and cloud computing topics at numerous conferences including CiscoLive, Interop and Future in Review.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...