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 to diagrams of the networks we have
created. We build our network one device at a time, then use network links to
connect the next and on we go until our network is complete. Which of course
it never is. To track how we have connected all our devices we need diagrams.
They tell us what device... (more)
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
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)
Much has been published about the Open Compute Project. Initiated by
Facebook, it has become an industry effort focused on standardization of many
parts and components in the datacenter. Initially focused on racks, power and
server design, it has also added storage and now networking to its fold. Its
goal is fairly straightforward: “how can we design the most efficient
compute infrastructure possible”, a direct quote from its web site.
The focus of OCP has been mostly around hardware designs and specifications.
If you look at the networking arm of OCP, you find several Top of Rack... (more)
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.
When introducing a centralized entity into any inherently distributed system,
the architecture of such a system needs to carefully consi... (more)
We love analogies. No matter what the topic, analogies are a great way to
explain something in a different context to make a specific point with a
frame of reference that may be more familiar to those we are making a point
to. There is one that seems to come back over and over again in our industry,
the one that compares the network to the power grid, network connections to
power plugs. I had not heard it for a while but at Interop last week, I
heard it used twice in booth demonstrations as part of plug and play pitches.
And I really do not like that analogy.
The comparison to ... (more)