Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Automic Blog, William Schmarzo, Tom Kelly, Ian Khan, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Industrial IoT, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

Programmability and Infrastructure as Code

What does that mean, anyway?

SDN and devops share some common themes. Both focus heavily on the notion of programmability in network devices as a means to achieve specific goals. For SDN it’s flexibility and rapid adaptation to changes in the network. For devops, it’s more a focus on the ability to treat “infrastructure as code” as a way to integrate into automated deployment processes.

Each of these notions is just different enough to mean that systems supporting one don’t automatically support the other. An API focused on management or configuration doesn’t necessarily provide the flexibility of execution exhorted by SDN proponents as a significant benefit to organizations. And vice-versa.

INFRASTRUCTURE as CODE

Devops is a verb, it’s something you do. Optimizing application deployment lifecycle processes is a primary focus, and to do that many would say you must treat “infrastructure as code.” Doing so enables integration and automation of deployment processes (including configuration and integration) that enables operations to scale along with the environment and demand.

The result is automated best practices, the codification of policy and process that assures repeatable, consistent and successful application deployments.

F5 supports the notion (and has since 2003 or so) of infrastructure as code in two ways:

  1. iControl
    iControl, the open, standards-based API for the entire BIG-IP platform, remains the primary integration point for partners and customers alike. Whether it’s inclusion in Opscode Chef recipes, or pre-packaged solutions with systems from HP, Microsoft, or VMware, iControl offers the ability to manage the control plane of BIG-IP from just about anywhere.

    iControl is service-enabled and has been accessed and integrated through more programmatic languages than you can shake a stick at. Python, PERL, Java, PHP, C#, PowerShell… if it can access web-based services, it can communicate with BIG-IP via iControl.
  2. iApp
    A latter addition to the BIG-IP platform, iApp is best practice application delivery service deployment codified. iApps are service- and application-oriented, enabling operations and consumers of IT as a Service to more easily deploy requisite application delivery services without requiring intimate knowledge of the hundreds of individual network attributes that must be configured.

    iApp is also used in conjunction with iControl to better automate and integrate application delivery services into an IT as a Service environment. Using iApp to codify performance and availability policies based on application and business requirements, consumers – through pre-integrated solutions – can simply choose an appropriate application delivery “profile” along with their application to ensure not only deployment but production success.

Infrastructure as code is an increasingly important view to take of the provisioning and deployment processes for network and application delivery services as they enable more consistent, accurate policy configuration and deployment. Consider research from Dimension Data that found “total number of configuration violations per device has increased from 29 to 43 year over year -- and that the number of security-related configuration errors (such as AAA Authentication, Route Maps and ACLS, Radius and TACACS+) also increased. AAA Authentication errors in particular jumped from 9.3 per device to 13.6, making it the most frequently occurring policy violation.” The ability to automate a known “good” configuration and policy when deploying application and network services can decrease the risk of these violations and ensure a more consistent, stable (and ultimately secure) network environment.

PROGRAMMABILITY

Less with “infrastructure as a code” (devops) and more-so with SDN comes the notion of programmability. On the one hand, this notion squares well with the “infrastructure as code” concept, as it requires infrastructure to be enabled in such as a way as to provide the means to modify behavior at run time, most often through support for a common standard (OpenFlow is the darling standard du jour for SDN). For SDN, this tends to focus on the forwarding information base (FIB) but broader applicability has been noted at times, and no doubt will continue to gain traction.

The ability to “tinker” with emerging and experimental protocols, for example, is one application of programmability of the network. Rather than wait for vendor support, it is proposed that organizations can deploy and test support for emerging protocols through OpenFlow enabled networks. While this capability is likely not really something large production networks would undertake, still, the notion that emerging protocols could be supported on-demand, rather than on a vendor' driven timeline, is often desirable. Consider support for SIP, before UCS became nearly ubiquitous in enterprise networks. SIP is a message-based protocol, requiring deep content inspection (DCI) capabilities to extract AVP codes as a means to determine routing to specific services. Long before SIP was natively supported by BIG-IP, it was supported via iRules, F5’s event-driven network-side scripting language. iRules enabled customers requiring support for SIP (for load balancing and high-availability architectures) to program the network by intercepting, inspecting, and ultimately routing based on the AVP codes in SIP payloads. Over time, this functionality was productized and became a natively supported protocol on the BIG-IP platform.

Similarly, iRules enables a wide variety of dynamism in application routing and control by providing a robust environment in which to programmatically determine which flows should be directed where, and how. Leveraging programmability in conjunction with DCI affords organizations the flexibility to do – or do not – as they so desire, without requiring them to wait for hot fixes, new releases, or new products.

SDN and ADN – BIRDS of a FEATHER

The very same trends driving SDN at layer 2-3 are the same that have been driving ADN (application delivery networking) for nearly a decade.

Five trends in network are driving the transition to software defined networking and programmability.

They are:

• User, device and application mobility; 
Cloud computing and service; 
• Consumerization of IT; 
• Changing traffic patterns within data centers; 
• And agile service delivery.

The trends stretch across multiple markets, including enterprise, service provider, cloud provider, massively scalable data centers -- like those found at Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. -- and academia/research. And they require dynamic network adaptability and flexibility and scale, with reduced cost, complexity and increasing vendor independence, proponents say.

-- Five needs driving SDNs

Each of these trends applies equally to the higher layers of the networking stack, and are addressed by a fully programmable ADN platform like BIG-IP. Mobile mediation, cloud access brokers, cloud bursting and balancing, context-aware access policies, granular traffic control and steering, and a service-enabled approach to application delivery are all part and parcel of an ADN.

From devops to SDN to mobility to cloud, the programmability and service-oriented nature of the BIG-IP platform enables them all.

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, will discuss how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from mil...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
WebSocket is effectively a persistent and fat pipe that is compatible with a standard web infrastructure; a "TCP for the Web." If you think of WebSocket in this light, there are other more hugely interesting applications of WebSocket than just simply sending data to a browser. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Frank Greco, Director of Technology for Kaazing Corporation, will compare other modern web connectivity methods such as HTTP/2, HTTP Streaming, Server-Sent Events and new W3C event APIs ...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...