Rethinking the Network

Marten Terpstra

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Top Stories by Marten Terpstra

In the world of Anything-as-a-Service (I will leave the acronym to your imagination), Network-as-a-Service is not a new term. In fact, it even has its own wikipedia page which will tell you it has been used for many years now, well before the current set of service related terms in IT have become popular. Like most high tech industries, we get somewhat carried away when we have some new terminology and quickly overuse and overload them, watering them down to be meaningless or at least highly confusing. But when you cut through the clutter a bit, the as-a-Service terminology most certainly articulates a shift in thought process and behaviors on how we provide and consume IT resources. The IT organization has always been a service organization, there is nothing much new there. From the days of mainframes and supercomputers, their job was to provide access to these ... (more)

Attention: Overlay Tunnel Construction Ahead

A while ago I wrote a few articles describing the various tunnel protocols used for network virtualization between vSwitches on servers, and between vSwitches and physical network gateways. These are the mechanisms that construct overlay networks on top of a physical network. VMWare uses STT as the tunneling mechanism between vSwitches on servers and VXLAN to communicate with gateways to the non virtualized world. NVGRE is used mostly by Microsoft, and is an extension to GRE tunneling that has been around for a while. Each one of these mechanisms have their pros and cons. They ... (more)

Resiliency in Controller-Based Network Architectures

Last week Ivan Pepelnjak wrote an article about the failure domains of controller based network architectures. At the core of SDN solutions is the concept of a controller, which in most cases lives outside the network devices themselves. A controller as a central entity controlling the network (hence its name) provides very significant values and capabilities to the network. We have talked about these in this blog many times. Centralized Control When introducing a centralized entity into any inherently distributed system, the architecture of such a system needs to carefully consi... (more)

Pay Attention to Big Data By @MartenT1999 | @BigDataExpo [#BigData]

Network Engineers, Pay Attention to Big Data You have probably realized we are having a Big Data kind of week here at the Plexxi blog. And for good reason. The amount of development and change in this big bucket of applications we conveniently label “Big Data”, is astonishing. Walking around at Hadoopworld in New York last week, I initially felt somewhat lost as a “networking guy”. But that feeling of “not belonging” is only superficial, the network has a tremendously important role in these applications. The challenge is that many “networking” folks don’t quite understand or r... (more)

The Power of Correlated Visualization by @MartenT1999

I am sure our work environment is not all that different from many others. There are large whiteboards everywhere and you cannot find a meeting room that does not have circles, lines and squares drawn on them. Some of our favorite bloggers have written blogs about network drawing tools and aids. Probably not restricted to just networking folks, but we certainly love to visualize the things we do. Out of all the customers I have visited, the amount of them where one of us did not end up on a whiteboard can probably be counted on one hand. It is not surprising that we are drawn t... (more)