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Midokura 2014 Predictions - Wheel of reincarnation makes another turn in 2014

VMblog 2014 Prediction Series

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2014.  Read them in this series exclusive.

Contributed article by Dan Conde, Director of Products, Midokura

Wheel of reincarnation makes another turn in 2014

1.  Shared network resources means policies become important

We're back in an increasingly shared-resource, time-sharing-like (aka cloud) world, so we will start to recognize all of the implications in the networking and application realms.   Wheel of Reincarnation was a phrase used in computer graphics where systems designs swing back and forth like a pendulum.   A similar turn of the wheel is happening due to cloud computing where we share computer resources, much like in the time-sharing days, when people logged into multi-user operating systems from terminals.  Instead of terminals, we now have use web browsers, RESTful API clients, or whatever fits our needs, but the fundamental issue is the same: more sharing.

This type of sharing was first revived when virtualized x86 servers and with SAN/NAS storage arrays for storage. The same type of wheel turning will affect networking, as it also starts to become virtualized.  Rather than having dedicated VLANs or even physical network segments dedicated for networks, a commonly shared physical underlay may be used in an overlay virtual network.   The implications are that application owners need to be keenly aware of whether or not they are getting the service levels from the shared pool of resources, and this is just like how it was in the timesharing days, and this leads to the next point.  

2.  Applications are what matters. Really.

Due to the increasing level of sharing mentioned above, notions like Quality of Service, or Service Level Agreements become extremely important in shared infrastructure environments.   This has always been a concern in networking, but in 2014, people will realize that tying application performance a policy to networking becomes very important.  Initiatives such as Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure will bring these issues to top of mind for IT managers.   Since networking is the key element that ties modern application workloads, people will look at the infrastructure from the viewpoint of applications, and notions such as an Application Controlled Network, will arise. A bottoms-up device & infrastructure centric view will not go away, but will no longer be the center of gravity.   The proper view will be policies at the top, and mechanisms and infrastructure at the bottom with orchestration in the middle, just as it was in the old days.  Some autonomy of control will also become important since a centralized set of policies cannot work in a large, shared multi-tenant cloud environment.

3. Software-Defined-Clarity

In 2013 we got overwhelmed with Software-Defined-Something.  That includes the Software Defined Data Center, Software Defined Storage, and Software Defined Networking.  In the networking arena, this became muddied as any equipment that has some form of programmability and control was considered a form of software defined networking.   Meanwhile, virtualized networks also got lumped into software-defined networking.  I predict that in 2014, we will use a clearer definition - to separate network virtualization (mostly overlay networks) vs. automation of physical devices and people will stop mixing them up (although many will continue to do so).  This swing of the pendulum has occurred in the past, and will affect the use of catch phrases such as SDN or NFV, and people will start being more specific.                                                              

4. Network virtualization will move beyond POC and pilot stages

IT groups spent 2013 examining network virtualization in a test-phase, but they will start to put serious effort into putting it into production class environments.  This is a simple prediction - and it's hard to put numbers on the level of adoption, but the same cycle of curiosity, skepticism, "show me", and "put into production" has occurred with adoption of compute virtualization, and I predict will occur in network virtualization in 2014.

So there you have it.   It's a prediction of timing of how the wheel turns.   Anyone can be right if you wait long enough, like a stopped (analog clock) being correct twice a day, but the hard part knows how fast the wheel turns and when to throw the dart into the wheel.


About the Author

Dan Conde is the Director of Products at Midokura, a network virtualization company.  Dan has held product roles at VMware, Rendition Networks, NetIQ and Microsoft. Dan received his Masters of Business Administration from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, and his Computer Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
Published Thursday, December 05, 2013 6:25 AM by David Marshall
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