|By Lori MacVittie||
|May 27, 2014 09:00 AM EDT||
When people write about software-defined architectures being "disruptive" to the network they're doing a bit of a disservice to just how much change is occurring under the hood in the engine that drives today's businesses. The notion of separating control and data planes is superficial in that it describes a general concept and it isn't really all that radical a change, if you think about it.
The control and data planes have always been separate. We have, since the need for web-scale networks came about, implemented separate topological (and usually physical) networks specifically for the purpose of segregating control traffic from the data path. The reasons for this are many: to keep management (control) traffic from interfering with the delivery of applications (and vice versa), to enable a model in which control over the critical path for applications could be secured and to ensure access to necessary control functions in the face of failure or attack.
What's new with software-defined architectures is not just the logical separation but the physical decoupling and change in component responsibility. In traditional networks there is a logically separate control plane, but it is distributed; it resides on each physical component. In software-defined networks it is physically separate but it is centralized; control responsibility resides in a single component, the "controller".
Now, OpenStack and emerging models for scaling systems that will be responsible for managing communication with and for the Internet of Things (like MQTT) use a similar control model, but it's not as active as a software-defined architectural model, it's more a passive model. That's the nature of PubSub imposing itself on the network.
PubSub (publish / subscribe) is a familiar model to application developers. It's a middleware staple that's been used for a very long time to distribute messages to a variable set of systems. In a nutshell, PubSub is based on the notion of there existing a "queue" to which authorized components can publish events or messages of interest and to which interested components an subscribe. Events or messages have a life (like a TTL) and eventually expire. In the interim, it's expected that subscribed components check the queue for messages periodically. They poll for events or messages.
The queue itself is much like a switch or router's queue, except messages in the queue are duplicated until the TTL runs out and the message expires.
PubSub is passive; that is, it does not actively distribute messages. It merely serves as a kind of centralized repository, making available to those components that need it access to relevant information about the state of applications and/or the network.
Centralized Control Model
OpenFlow-based SDN, by contrast, is active. That is, it not only serves as a centralized repository for the state of applications and/or the network, but it actively distributes messages to components based on events. For example, a controller might receive a message from another system indicating the launch of a new application instance. That event triggers a series of actions on the controller that includes informing the affected network components of configuration changes. In a passive, PubSub model, the network components themselves might be polling for such an event and, upon receiving one, would initiate the appropriate configuration changes themselves.
We can simplify the description of the differences even more: a controller-based architecture uses a push model, while a pubsub-based architecture uses a pull model. What this doesn't illustrate well is that in a push model, the centralized controller must know how to communicate the desired changes to each and every component it is controlling. That's one of the reasons original models standardized on OpenFlow and were tightly focused on L2-4 stateless networking. It could be easily standardized down to a common forwarding table.While different components might internalize that differently, the basic information was always the same: IP addresses, ports and actions.
As we move up the stack into L4-7 stateful networking, however, this model becomes more burdensome because of the complexity of rule sets and differences in policy models across such a broad set of networking domains. Hence the plug-in support in controllers like OpenDaylight for "other" control protocols. But the basic premise of the model remains the same, regardless of the control protocol: the centralized controller dictates the changes to all components. It pushes those changes to the network. Both control and execution are centralized. The controller tells components to change their configuration.
PubSub centralizes control but decentralizes execution. The control plane is still centralized; there is one authoritative system responsible for disseminating change across the network, but each individual component (or domain controller but we'll get to that in a minute) is responsible for executing the appropriate changes based on their configured policies and services. A pubsub controller never tells a component "change this now"; that's up to the individual components (or domain controller).
The Integrated Control Model
To make things even more confusing (and disruptive), these models may be used simultaneously. A software-defined architecture might be based on a centralized control model with domain controllers for specific networking functions (like security and application delivery) integrated via a pubsub-based model.
This is where we start seeing models that combine emerging technologies like OpenStack and SDN architectures together. OpenStack manages at the data center level, and at its heart is pubsub model that can be used by domain controllers (stateless L2-4 SDN, stateful L4-7 SDN, etc...) to receive notification of changes in the network and subsequently push those changes using the appropriate control protocols to the components it is managing.
Needless to say, the term "disruptive" is really inadequate in describing the level of change in the network required to support either models (or both). Both require significant changes not just to the network itself but the way in which the network is fundamentally provisioned and managed. It's not just a new CLI or management console, these models dramatically change the design and management of networks.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Nov. 25, 2014 07:30 PM EST Reads: 802
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Nov. 25, 2014 07:30 PM EST Reads: 831
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Nov. 25, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,059
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Nov. 25, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,275
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Nov. 25, 2014 04:30 PM EST Reads: 1,140
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Nov. 24, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,553
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 24, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,435
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Nov. 24, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,564
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 24, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,579
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
Nov. 23, 2014 07:30 PM EST Reads: 1,770
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 23, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,710
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Nov. 23, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 1,718
ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,532
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,460
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,536
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,458
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 21, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,386
Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
Nov. 20, 2014 09:15 PM EST Reads: 1,441
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
Nov. 20, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,384
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. 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.
Nov. 20, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,660