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OpenStack Board Member Rob Hirschfeld on the impact of DevOps, SDN, Docker & more

Art Fewell | Feb. 26, 2015
I recently had the great pleasure to sit down with community-elected OpenStack board member and Crowbar co-creator, Rob Hirschfeld. Rob shared awesome nuggets of wisdom on data center and cloud operations, you can view the video and the full transcript below:

Art Fewell: And open vSwitch has just announced just with the past week that they're going to try to take OVS into a full & complete framework.

Rob Hirschfeld: I saw something come through, I didn't really get into it yet. There are a couple of issues here. This is a very challenging but important thing. It's double important where people don't realize is that the software defined networking is important because there's a lot of desire to have network function virtualization which means that in these clouds we're sending traffic VM to VM and there's a lot of traffic bouncing around inside the cloud. Which means that the traditional networking design was you put protections at the edge and a lot of network function at the edge with big expensive pieces of iron.

When you virtualize everything you have all these east-west traffic flows, you need to move your network functions into virtual instances. They're not necessarily virtual machines, they might be running as agents or in containers or somewhere else in the infrastructure. You actually have to route traffic through this network, this virtualized network functions, VNFs.

Now, all of sudden the SDN layer is connecting these network function virtualization units and then reading traffic all over the place and then a lot of cases connecting you up to services that you have in the datacenter. It's a big mess. It's really hard, it's really complex. It's going to take more time to resolve because even if we get software defined networking right, if you're depending on network virtualized router, in that router, this is when things you were talking about come in.

If that router is not reliable your whole infrastructure is subject to a single point of failure. The thing that was making Eucalyptus very problematic to use when we were looking at it 5 years ago now, was that to emulate Amazon's networking model they had to have a network chokepoint. There was a single point of failure in the Eucalyptus cloud.

That was a showstopper for anybody who wanted more than basically a concept Eucalyptus cloud. I mean that was 5 years ago so I'm not saying where they are now.

Art Fewell: Yeah. It explains a lot about why ... There are been a lot of pieces here that have had to mature. While a lot of people in enterprises are wondering, "Hey, how come I don't have my cloud yet, or my private cloud the way I want it yet?" There's been a lot of work to do on the back end, right?

Rob Hirschfeld: The thing that we see with software defined networking is it's incredibly sensitive to the physical underlay. The story we tell is, the first step you need to be successful with our cloud of that complexity is that the physical underlay has to be perfect. Every time you learn something, every rev that comes out you have to be able to patch it and maintain it and keep it in sync and all that.

 

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