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)

The Silence of The Lambdas

We still see quite a few eyebrows raised when we explain how we use WDM optics in our datacenter solution. In the various descriptions of the Plexxi solution it is often mentioned and referred to, but it is worth explaining what that optical infrastructure actually looks like and why it is part of our solution. One of the key attributes of the Plexxi solution is the ability to create network topologies at L1, L2 and L3 that meet the need of the workload offered, calculated based on the load on the network, and the Affinities created that describe the needs of specific applicatio... (more)

Converging Your Storage Network Without Fear

The days of completely separate storage network technologies are quickly fading. It feels like it’s only a few years ago that Fiber Channel was the way to create large scale storage networks. Big honking storage devices on a separate network, connected to Fiber Channel switches, connected with Fiber Channel adapters into servers. With 10GbE becoming cost effective and matching or outperforming 2, 4 or even 8Gbit Fiber Channel, Fiber Channel over Ethernet was invented, mostly as a mechanism to allow Ethernet based attachments to existing Fiber Channel installations. It’s a bit clu... (more)

Network Autonomy – Feedback Defined Networking

About 8 years ago at my previous employer we started a project related to Autonomic Networking. Autonomic Networking is modeled after Autonomic Computing, an IBM initiative from the early 2000s, targeted at creating self managing computing elements. The network version intends to create a framework by which network elements become largely self managed. It does so by defining discovery, awareness and analytics that build some sense of state. Once a network has a sense of its expected state, anything that alters that state can be reacted to following a set of defined or even learne... (more)

Is the Enterprise Datacenter a Dying Breed?

As an SDN network provider focused on the datacenter, we spend a good amount of time understanding the state of data centers today, tomorrow and some time into the future. There is no question that the use of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications in the cloud is growing rapidly. Plexxi itself is a shining example, few of the applications we use are in-house across all functional areas. There are many reasons why we picked cloud-based applications for our needs. As a small company, in many cases there is a very simply economic choice to make. Paying for a cloud based service... (more)