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IT professionals consider network uptime

This week, bloggers weigh network uptime, workloads in the public cloud and Dell OS10.

Gartner analyst Andrew Lerner posed network engineers this question, "What keeps you up at night (from a network...

perspective)?" As Lerner guessed from his days in network engineering, network uptime ranks as a top concern.

The response from a network manager in the retail industry typified those apprehensions. "Although I'm always thinking and creating contingency plans to work around [performance] issues, the next looming revenue-impacting outage lives with me daily," he wrote. Moving applications to the cloud doesn't reduce network uptime issues, Lerner said. In reality, it means IT managers bear more responsibility. "While you no longer 'own' your network infrastructure, you're still responsible for performance and availability," he said.

Other network professionals added other concerns in addition to network uptime that included worries about training, lack of proper design within networks and loss of control. Lerner added a warning against over-segmentation of network security and acknowledged complaints about network carriers as a contributing factor in reduced network uptime.

Explore more of Lerner's thoughts on network uptime. 

Should some workloads be kept out of public cloud?

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., chose to explore workloads and the public cloud in a recent blog post. According to ESG, 75% of organizations are currently using public cloud and another 19% have plans to do so. Oltsik disagrees with many concerned vendors and IT commentators who don't envision business critical applications and key network functions moving into public cloud.

An ESG survey examined 303 IT professionals about their assessment of public cloud. Fifty percent were interested in aligning with more strategic and innovative public cloud options, while 47% of organizations said they intended to lower operating costs and 42% aimed to lower capital costs. Oltsik added that 41% of organizations wanted to reduce their number of physical data centers.

"It is also noteworthy that for a lot of small enterprise and midmarket organizations, public cloud computing may actually be more secure than the traditional do-it-yourself model," Oltsik said. "After all, a company running 15 supermarkets in the greater Boston area won't be able to match data center technical and process chops with the folks running AWS, Azure, the Google Cloud or IBM SoftLayer," he added.

Dig deeper into Oltsik's ideas about public cloud.

Optimizing Dell OS10

Greg Ferro of Ethereal Mind delved deep into Dell OS10 in a blog post. Dell OS10 is an open source Linux-based network operating system. In Ferro's view, switch abstraction interfaces (SAI) are differentiators, and a key reason to put Linux operating systems on switches.

According to Ferro, SAI sets a static API for configuring the forwarding plane data in Switch ASIC. Today, switch ASICs are largely produced by Broadcom, Vitesse, Cavium, Intel and Mellanox. He sees SAI as an opportunity for abstraction between the ASIC and the OS, which permits API calls to the ASIC for forwarding tables and configuration. "Today, most applications are writing to Broadcom's OpenNSL API, which is specific to Broadcom silicon," Ferro said, citing SAI as a different option.

Read more of Ferro's insights.

Next Steps

BYOD joins list of network challenges

Understanding switchdev and SAI

Cloud computing for business workloads

Dig Deeper on Network Performance Management

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