In Big Data

We are getting into the Halloween spirit here at Plexxi—check out this Plexxi pumpkin carved by our talented marketing manager, Khoa Ma!

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Jack-o-lanterns aside, we know the thought of navigating trends like the Internet of Things and Big Data can be frightening, especially if you are unsure of how to approach them. As these trends gain popularity and deployments increase, IT architects often worry about increased activity on already taxed infrastructures. Our own Mike Bushong is our resident expert on this topic and he penned an interesting blog post this week on networking’s atomic unit and “going small to scale up.” Creating smaller units of capacity makes the network easier to manage, and most importantly, scale. It’s definitely worth a read before heading out to trick-or-treat.

In this week’s PlexxiTube of the week, Dan Backman explains failure scenarios in case of hardware or software outages in a Plexxi pod design.

Don’t Engineer a Mess

Network architect Brian Heder contributed an article to Network World this week on the importance and challenges of simplicity in computer network design. While I think Heder’s list is solid, I would add an additional obstacle to network simplicity: customization. Avoid making your network environment a “snowflake” –don’t make it overly unique. In a lot of shops, you see people bend infrastructure to satisfy the processes. In some cases, it is actually easier to modify it. Introducing extra knobs and capabilities can quickly add complexity and result in unnecessary lock-in. Another thing to consider is that simplicity is not easy. It requires a good long look at architecture. If the objective is to reduce the number of devices or cables or configuration requirements, then you have to start with the architecture. The legacy infrastructure you may be used to can actually become an inhibitor to simplification.

Carrier SDN & the Dream of Network Agility

Our friend Sterling Perrin discussed how SDN can increase network agility in a recent article for Light Reading. Sterling’s ideas of extending networking domains end-to-end so that services can be provisioned quickly can also apply to the datacenter. In fact, the same technologies (Dense Wavelength Dimension Multiplexing, in this case) can effectively create what looks like a Metro E ring in a datacenter, providing high-capacity, low-latency connectivity between resources along with the ability to create programmable cross-connects for specific users, applications, or workloads. I believe that the marriage of SDN and optics makes perfect sense.

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