Virtualize The Network

The firmware of network switches and routers (control plane) has traditionally remained proprietary, locked and under the control of the companies that manufactured the equipment. Software defined networking seeks to change this oligarchy.

VMware’s recent acquisition of Nicira allows the virtualization giant to become the “industry leader in software-defined networking.” Nicira’s software acts as an intelligent layer that sits on top of data-center servers and manages and controls the resources and capacity of networking gear.

Interesting fact: Nicira’s founders invented OpenFlow. Today OpenStack uses Nicira’s API for its network interface.

Combined with VMware’s market proven expertise virtualizing systems, software-defined networking is well positioned to become a data-center game changer.

Video: Nicira: Creating Virtual Networks in Cloud Data Centers

Venture Beat says Big Data will fuel a new age of TV.

Venture Beat writes, “The data revolution uses real-world metrics to inform business-critical decisions. The result is reduced costs, added value, and additional revenue.”

What do you think?

Introducing Neptune Canada’s Digital Marine Life Field Guide e-book

Introducing  Neptune Canada’s Marine Life Field Guide Useful!

Where are all the women in technology? @

Where are all the women in technology? @CanWIT shines a light.

Three Puzzle Pieces

The triad of digital infrastructure

The triad of digital infrastructure

Stacey Higginbotham wrote an interesting piece over at GigaOm, called “Something’s gotta give when big data meets broadband.” She writes,

Scientists aren’t worried about storing or processing all data, according to an article written by Mari Silbey for A Smarter PlanetSmartPlanet. Instead they’re worried about shipping that data from Chile to everyplace else it will be wanted. Basically it’s not a big data issue, it’s a broadband issue.

My feeling is that, while this may be a current bottleneck, if we removed either of the other two pieces, the same scientists would have nightmares figuring out how to store their massive volumes of data or how to crunch the petabytes of information. I don’t think the scientists disagree; they are more concerned that the broadband piece is lagging behind storage and compute capacity.

But there is progress in the broadband arena that will surely support these researchers. Notably, a rather under-ballyhooed demonstration taking place this week at the GENI Engineering Conference in Boston.

The demonstration is called Slice Around the World, and you won’t find much about it on the Internet, ironically.

In the Slice Around the World demonstration, software – rather than manually configured network resources – will dynamically direct network and computation high volume data streams over the ultra-high-speed CANARIE and BCNET networks, as well as other research-and-education networks around the world.

Ordinarily, network switches and routers are proprietary hardware, manually configured to direct traffic over specified paths, much as a railroad switches tracks to direct trains onto specific, defined routes. With a programmable network, traffic flow can be controlled by software dynamically with almost instant response to dramatically increased traffic needs or network congestion. These highly programmable OpenFlow-based networks are considered to be the next dramatic leap in network technology innovation. The Slice Around the World demonstration is a critical step forward in proving the capabilities of this approach, which launches an era of ubiquitous high performance networking and computation that is as accessible and easy-to-use as the web is today.

With the software approach, the flow is much more like a river flowing out to a delta: the water (data) flows where there is least restriction without manual intervention.

Could this be the solution to the scientists’ concern about data bottlenecks? Who knows. But advanced networks in Canada and globally are already delving into the problem.

What are your thoughts?

Big day for Big Science!

CANARIE congratulates @CERN as well as Canadian researchers at @TRIUMFLab. It’s a big day for Big Science! #Higgs

New Brunswick’s New Advanced Network Fully Operational

After years of planning, installation, and configuration, New Brunswick’s next generation research and innovation network is completed and fully operational. The NB network also represents a new partnership that will serve the region for many years to come. Building on professional relationships and common interests, the NB/PEI Educational Computing Network (ECN) is partnering with the National Research Council-Institute for Information Technology (NRC-IIT), and the English and French community college systems in NB (NBCC/CCNB), in the new sustainable, economical, and long-term network covering all of  NB and PEI. The new network  features high-speed, high-bandwidth fibre cable installed between Moncton, Saint John, and Fredericton, and utilizes leased services to complete the northern loop of NB, thus connecting pretty well all post-secondary locations to the main NB/national research network.