Network Disaggregation Tsunamis

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.

VMware on Azure – You’re still doing it wrong

Sigh.  There’s an old adage that I always come back to.  Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should.  In this case I am thinking about the recent announcement by Microsoft that Azure would be supporting bare metal deployments of VMware on Azure hardware.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, AWS went GA with a very similar offering back in late August.  Of course there are some specifics that differ, but the overall theme is the same.  You can run your VMware workloads in their public cloud on bare metal, but still have close proximity to their respective public cloud services.  Alas, just because it’s on Azure now, doesn’t make the idea any better, and I stand by my previous post.

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VMware on AWS – You’re doing it wrong

This is going to be a controversial post I am almost certain.  Basically, I am going to argue that the whole premise behind running VMware on AWS is fundamentally flawed and not a viable strategy for those who are currently running VMware or for VMware itself as a company.  Get your angry comments ready, here we go!

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What’s in a Name?

As the raging dumpster fire that is the Equifax breach continues to unfold, I find that I am thinking about identity and the way we use it in our modern life.  Equifax was criminally negligent with information that was incredibly valuable to individuals.  They should be penalized as an organization with fines and levies, and some of the individuals within the company who were responsible for the security of our data should face possible jail time.  But when you step back for a moment, it becomes readily apparent that this is just the latest in a series of data breaches over the past decade, and despite fines, levies, and jail time; this is the sort of thing that is likely to happen again.  Why?  First, the monetary value of the information is high, meaning that criminal elements are willing to spend the resources to steal the information.  Second, organizations are rarely incentivized to take the necessary precautions to secure data.  As Greg Ferro likes to point out, as long as the cost of true security is higher than the cost of a breach, organizations are unlikely to adopt true security practices.  Third, even if an organization tries to embrace true security, human beings are fallible.  Applications have undiscovered exploits, misconfigurations happen, and hackers are always stepping up their game.

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Windows Hosts with Kubernetes – The Beginning

Well, it wasn’t even close.  As mentioned in my previous post, I am moving to a less hands on role, and I want to keep close to the technology.  The concept of running Windows container hosts in a Kubernetes cluster fascinates me and it appears that I wasn’t alone.  With 82% of the votes on my Twitter poll, it was the clear winner.  Now I guess I actually need to start diving in, and by diving in, I mean reading docs.

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