I will be a delegate for Cloud Field Day 5 on April 10-12. During the event we will be attending presentations from several vendors, which will be livestreamed. Before I leave on this grand adventure, I wanted to familiarize myself with each of the presenters and consider how their product/solution integrates with cloud computing. I’m also interested to hear from you about what questions you might have for each vendor, or topics you’d like me to bring up. As a delegate, I am meant to represent the larger IT community, so I want to know what you think! In this post I am going to consider Cohesity and how a backup company can become a data aggregator.
In a previous post I mentioned how I am using Buffer, Feedly, and Zapier to automate parts of my online persona. In this post I will talk about how I found a workflow that wasn’t support by Zapier, and how I used the API from Buffer and Azure Functions to automate post generation.
At Cloud Field Day 3 we visited the Veritas office and they presented their cloud vision to us. It took a little while to ramp up, as I detailed in my post here. My fellow CFD delegate Martez Reed has already put an excellent post together detailing the high-level view of what Veritas had on display, so I won’t rehash that now. Instead, I would like to focus down on their CloudPoint offering and actually try and take it for a spin. Let’s see how far I get.
Last week I participated in Cloud Field Day 3. If you’re not familiar with Cloud Field Day, then I would highly recommend checking out the post from my fellow delegate Nick Janetakis detailing his experience. It’s a thorough and well thought-out post describing what Cloud Field Day is, and why you might be interested.
As I watched each vendor present, I kept coming back to the same set of questions. The focus of this post is one of those. How can companies use the cloud to innovate their current product portfolio? There was a stark difference between those organizations that had embraced the cloud as an enabler of new solutions and those who had instead approached cloud like a check box on a list of things organizations should be doing. Broadly, I think the innovative companies – or the innovative branch of the company – fell into three broad categories.
- Those that were “born in the cloud”
- Those that purchased an innovative startup
- Those that created a center of excellence to embrace innovation
AT&T, a company that I generally unleash scorn upon for their cell phone service, has actually done something fairly interesting. On Jan 29th they announced that they would be releasing their dNOS (distributed network operating system) to the Linux Foundation. Now before you roll your eyes and quote Jessie Frazelle, who you should be following on Twitter and not one of the garbage Kardashians, I am aware that sometimes orgs donate their project to the Linux Foundation and leave itto languish and die in the hot and unforgiving light of the desert sun. But I don’t think dNOS falls under this particular category. AT&T has not only developed dNOS internally, they have a working prototype of it on production hardware possibly in actual production. I mean that’s the way the whitepaper reads.
So what is dNOS and why is AT&T so psyched about it? The concept behind dNOS is the development of an open source operating system for network hardware, that can run on commodity gear, so called whiteboxes, though why’s it gotta be white? What about pink boxes, or taupe? The reason AT&T is so jazzed about this idea is the rather high cost of the switches and routers they use to run their carrier grade networks. These boxes are vertically integrated using custom hardware, custom software, and proprietary everything. This is not only a large cost to AT&T, but it also slows their innovation cycle as they are at the mercy of the vendor when asking for new features.
I’ve mentioned network disaggregation before, going so far as to predict that we would see significant progress in 2017. That may have been a little too aggressive, but there were a lot of key components leading up to this. dNOS was announced in November of 2017. The P4 open source programming language also started gaining momentum in 2017. Barefoot Networks released their Tofino programmable ASIC, and Broadcom released their Tomahawk processor that is more than capable of handling the speeds and feeds of a carrier. Now in 2018 we have the introduction of the Linux Foundation Networking Fund, the release of an open-source SDK for the Broadcom Tomahawk chipset, and this announcement of dNOS being given to the Linux Foundation. Things may have gotten off to a slow start, but I feel confident that we are reaching critical mass. And I’m not even going to get into the new open-source, reduced cost optics that Facebook is pushing.
Basically the world of networking is in for a major shakeup, and the tide of open source and disaggregation is going to spur some incredible innovation. The major cloud players and the carriers will see the first fruits of their labor, but all that innovation is definitely going to trickle down to the Enterprise and SMB markets. With the coming Tsunami of IoT devices that will be thirsty for bandwidth and advanced networking solutions, this renaissance of networking cannot come soon enough.