Heroes in the Making - Flatter Structure with Unlimited Scale

  • 23 July 2015
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This post was written by Mark Harris, Vice President of Marketing at Pluribus Networks

The world of IT has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. Previously, IT professionals spent their entire lives trying to deploy even the most basic capabilities. Towards that end, they also spent a great deal of time making sure the pieces would all work together. Whether it was hardware or software, there were a slew of interoperability issues that played out over those years. We saw that a great deal of effort was needed to take advantage of new capabilities, while still supporting the old. The IT industry realized there were dozens of individual components needed to satisfy the business requirements for any organization, and each component needed to be looked at for compatibility, price and performance. As tough as it was, those days were filled with successes by the most forward-thinking, innovative people trying new things, disrupting the status quo—and they referred to it as “progress."

Now keep in mind that (according to the US Dept of Labor) the average IT professional is 46 years old today, which means they cut their teeth on designing IT topologies in the 1995 timeframe. Think about the way “IT looked” in 1995. Those were vastly simpler times. The Internet was just beginning to happen, fast ethernet was the state of the art, there was no virtualization, one gig IDE disks cost $300 each, and we all still used regular telephones!

Fast-forward the clock to today, and we see the market has changed dramatically. Most people in the IT organization now make the assumptions that the basic, foundational stuff (like power and network) is quite mature, so they’ve shifted their attention to the upper levels like virtualization, storage, security and dense computing. Even the Venture Capital community has put their billions of dollars to work building these high-visibility solutions to software, virtualization, computing, security and storage. This is a great time to be an innovator in the IT market as the very use case of computing itself has changed. Most importantly, all of these same technologies are being re-thought and re-invented in this price & performance driven world--the results being awe-inspiring, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions and software-defined networking (SDN).

Which brings me to the dirty little secret that rarely gets discussed: Your current network, built using the deep network operations skills that have been honed over most of your professional life, will NOT meet the new demands of the new innovations that you are now being asked to place upon it! The topologies that you have known and loved will fail to deliver the level of price and performance that modern applications and hyperconverged infrastructures require. Over the last dozen years, the Fortune 1000 has invested billions of dollars into network infrastructures that simply won’t support our modern needs. A sobering thought to be sure.

How can this be? The use cases have changed. The old approach to applications was hierarchical in nature. Users at the top, and resources at the bottom. Applications in the core spoke to users at the edge. Everything was formed top to bottom to support this flow of traffic. Today, it’s all different. Monolithic applications, storage and even operating systems have been decomposed to allow scale and performance, but in doing so they require a network that is much flatter, with higher performance between applications at the same layer.

Pluribus’ software-defined networks are designed to do exactly that—redefine the ‘network’ to be a business relevant service, much in the same way as the new class of storage innovators address the old school disk drive. Pluribus started with a clean slate, invented the actual technology needed to address the business problems in a modern world (with more than 20 patents) and now delivers it to meet the needs of today’s business. On the infrastructure side, our alliance partner and market leader in HCI, Nutanix, is a perfect example of a technology that requires a much flatter and higher-performing networking layer to realize its maximum value.

In direct support of Nutanix’s Xtreme Computing Platform, Pluribus has engineered a set of software-defined network switching solutions that address this new topology. Pluribus’ networking switches allow end-users to deploy their Nutanix devices with ease, assuring that their inter-device communications are fully supported, without any of the traditional, hierarchically-imposed encumbrances. And remember--the ‘support’ we are referring to at Pluribus is not just a matter of faster Ethernet link speeds—it’s about flatter structures with unlimited scale, and built-in performance analytics. The Pluribus solution provides the auto-discovery of Nutanix instances, as well as auto-provisioning of the communications pathways to allow the Nutanix solutions to perform optimally. As a true networking fabric with specific awareness of Nutanix, the Pluribus solution handles all of the traditional network operations management functions that used to be required and coordinated manually.

As I have said many times before, IT heroes are being made every day. Those IT professionals that pay attention to and embrace all of the innovation available to them will become the change agents of the industry. Those that think about the strategic ways to leverage all of this movement will be handsomely rewarded and will likely look back to these few years in their careers as their most decisive and impactful moments. They will be Heroes!

Come learn how to be a hero with Nutanix and Pluribus. We’ll be meeting with end-users like yourself in select cities across the country, the next one being in San Francisco today, Wednesday July 22. If you attend one of these events, remember to mention you are a ‘hero in the making’ and we’ll be glad help you on that journey!

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