SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Cloud Expo, Big Data Journal

SDN Journal: Blog Feed Post

Platform Is Strategy. Product Is Tactics

One of the primary reasons our networks are the way they are is that we're reactive

Inarguably one of the drivers of software-defined architectures (cloud, SDDC, and SDN) as well as movements like DevOps is the complexity inherent in today's data center networks. For years now we've added applications and services, and responded to new threats and requirements from the business with new boxes and new capabilities. All of them cobbled together using traditional networking principles that adhere to providing reliability and scale through redundancy.

The result is complex, hard to manage, and even more difficult to change at a moments notice.

Emerging architectural models based solely on cloud computing models or as part of larger, software-defined initiatives, attempt to resolve this issue by introducing abstraction and programmability. To get around the reality that deploying new services in a timely manner takes days if not weeks or even months, we figure that by moving to a programmatic, software-based model we can become more efficient.

app services word cloud

Except we aren't becoming more efficient, we're just doing what we've always done. We're just doing it faster. We're not eliminating complexity, we're getting around it by adding a layer of scripts and integration designed to make us forget just how incredibly complex our networks really are.

One of the primary reasons our networks are the way they are is that we're reactive.

What we've been doing for years now is just reacting to events. Threats, new applications, new requirements - all these events inevitably wind up with IT deploying yet another "middle box." A self-contained appliance - hardware or software - that does X. Protects against X, improves Y, enhances Z.  And then something else happens and we do it again. And again. And ... you get the point. We react and the result is an increasingly complex topological nightmare we call the data center network.

What we need to do is find a better model, a strategic model that enables us to deploy those solutions that protect against X, improve Y and enhance Z without adding complexity and increasing the already confusing topology in the network. We need to break out of our tactical mode and start thinking strategically so we can transform IT to be what it needs to be to align IT results with business expectations.

That means we need to start thinking platform, not product.

Platform is Strategic. Product is Tactical.

We know that the number of services actually in use in the data center has been increasing in response to all the technological shifts caused by trends like security, cloud and mobility. We’ve talked to customers that have more than 20 different services (and vendors) delivering services critical to the security, performance and reliability of applications. Every time a new threat or a new trend impacts the data center, we respond with a new service.

That’s one of the reasons you rarely see a detailed architectural diagram at the application flow level – because every single interaction with a customer, partner or employee can have its own unique flow and that flow traverses a variety of services depending on the user, device, network and application and even business purpose.

That's the product way.

What we need to do is shift our attention to platforms, and leverage them to reduce complexity while at the same time solving problems - and doing so faster and more efficiently. That's one of the primary benefits of Synthesis.

Synthesis' High Performance Services Fabric is built by gluing together a platform - the ADC - using new scalability models (ScaleN). The platform is what enables organizations to deploy a wide variety of services but gain operational efficiencies from the fact that the underlying platform is the same. F5 Software Defined Application Services (SDAS) are all deployable on the same, operationally consistent platform regardless of where it might physically reside. Cloud, virtual machine or hardware makes no difference. It's the platform that brings consistency to the table and enables rapid provisioning of new services that protect X, improve Y and enhance Z.

reactive-vs-synthesis

In the past year we've brought a number of new services to the Synthesis architecture including Cloud Identity Federation, Web Anti-Fraud, Mobile optimizations and a Secure Web Gateway. All these services were immediately deployable on the existing platform that comprises the Synthesis High Performance Services Fabric. As we add new capabilities and services, they, too, are deployable on the same platform, in the same fabric-based approach and immediately gain all the benefits that come from the platform: massive scalability, high performance, reliability and hardened security.

A platform approach means you can realize a level of peace of mind about the future and what might crop up next. Whether it's a new business requirement or a new threat, using a platform approach means no more shoehorning a new box into the topology. It means being able to take advantage of operational consistency across cloud and on-premise deployments. It means being able to expand capabilities without needing to expand budgets to support new training, new services, and new contracts.

A platform approach to service deployment in data center networks is strategic. And with the constant rate of change headed our way thanks to the Internet of Things and mobility, the one thing we can't afford to to go without is a sound strategy for dealing with the technological ramifications on the network.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that AIC, a leading provider of OEM/ODM server and storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AIC is a leading provider of both standard OTS, off-the-shelf, and OEM/ODM server and storage solutions. With expert in-house design capabilities, validation, manufacturing and production, AIC's broad selection of products are highly flexible and are conf...

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

The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
SYS-CON Events announced today Isomorphic Software, the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software ...
"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.
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...
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
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, p...
SYS-CON Media announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, VP of Marketing, Application Performance Management and DevOps at CA Technologies, has joined DevOps Journal’s authors. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Aruna's inaugural article "Four Essential Cultural Hacks for DevOps Newbies" discusses how to demonstrate the...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
AppZero has announced that its award-winning application migration software is now fully qualified within the Microsoft Azure Certified program. AppZero has undergone extensive technical evaluation with Microsoft Corp., earning its designation as Microsoft Azure Certified. As a result of AppZero's work with Microsoft, customers are able to easily find, purchase and deploy AppZero from the Azure Marketplace. With just a few clicks, users have an Azure-based solution for moving applications to the...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada...