Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog

Containers Expo Blog: Article

The Role of the Network in Virtualization

From Silos to a Service-Oriented Infrastructure

Service-Oriented Network Architecture
A crucial element of transforming an enterprise from a legacy silo'd infrastructure to a service-oriented infrastructure is the use of an architectural framework to guide the implementation. Cisco's Service-Oriented Network Architecture, or SONA, is a framework that details a set of common services that are deployed in the network to close the resource and application gaps described previously. As such, SONA describes how to build an intelligent information network in the enterprise. (Figure 5)

SONA consists of three layers: the network systems layer, the integrated network services layer, and the application layer.

At the bottom, the networked infrastructure, or network systems layer, represents the capital infrastructure of the IT environment, including the routing and switching infrastructure, storage, servers, and devices. Many of the services described below are hosted on these devices, either in software or add-on blades. In the SONA framework, there's a separate set of architectures, blueprints, configuration guidelines, and case studies for campus, data center, and branch locations.

The integrated network services layer optimizes communications between applications and services by taking advantage of distributed network functions such as continuous data protection, multi-protocol message routing, embedded quality of service, I/O virtualization, server load balancing, SSL VPN, identity, location, and IPv6-based services. There are three categories of services in this layer:
1.  Infrastructure services, which are the "downward-facing" services that help to close the resource gap described earlier. This category includes security, mobility, storage, voice, and collaboration, computational, identity, and network infrastructure virtualization services. These services enable organizations to optimize the effectiveness of their infrastructure and facilitate the allocation of the right resources to the right business processes and applications. A key common technology employed in many of these services is virtualization. Virtualization has two axes: the ability to make many resources look like one (or one to look like many) and the ability to deal with resources on a logical, as opposed to physical, basis. Historically, the network has been a crucible for virtualization, and this is now being extended from network resources to other IT resources such as servers and storage.

2.  Application services are the "upward-facing" services that enable application integration, delivery, scale, and optimization through network-based services. This category has two major components: Application-Oriented Networking (AON) and application delivery. AON lets the network speak the language of applications: for example, messages such as a purchase order. This lets the network intelligently act to route, transform, log, notify, or validate business-level objects. Because most applications weren't designed with network optimization in mind, adding application delivery services in the "horizontal" network framework enables the end-to-end delivery, scale, and optimization of application data and control information across the enterprise and among users, suppliers, and partners.

3.  Adaptive management services consist of three components: infrastructure management (the automated management of collections of devices), services management (the management of integrated services), and advanced analytics and decision support. These management services are implemented through APIs to other parts of the infrastructure to enable the network to share policy and control information across all of the layers of the IT infrastructure.

The applications layer is divided into two categories: collaborative applications that enable communication and collaboration, and business applications such as CRM (customer relationship management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), and SCM (supply chain management). Through the common services provided by the integrated services layer, the network now plays a direct and critical role in enabling these applications (and their resources) and their associated business processes.

Finally, let's look at how SONA relates to Service-Oriented Architecture. SOA is an approach to application design, integration, and delivery that enables the reuse of applications and significantly reduces integration costs. This is done through modules based on business services with loosely coupled business logic, compared to the monolithic, tightly coupled applications that predominate today. SONA complements SOA by enabling a services-oriented infrastructure. By deploying Cisco's SONA today, organizations can reap immediate benefits from a more effective and efficient IT infrastructure. By deploying these new application and resource services, enterprises lay the groundwork for evolving to SOA.

Conclusion
The network is a uniquely qualified IT resource to enable virtualization, providing a pragmatic adoption path toward service-oriented infrastructure and SOA. Using the SONA framework, organizations can reap the benefits of end-to-end virtualization and policy-driven service orchestration. This shared services architecture enables flexibility and agility while streamlining resources and reducing operational expenses. (See Sidebar)

More Stories By Peter Linkin

Peter Linkin brings over 16 years of experience in the Application Integration and Middleware business to his current responsibility as a senior Marketing Manager at Cisco for Data Center Solutions. Prior to joining Cisco he was Senior Director of WW Product Marketing at BEA Systems, where he helped lead their entry into the SOA and Application Platform spaces, and previously held senior product management and marketing responsibility for pioneering middleware technologies at Vitria, Lucent and Hewlett-Packard. He has been a frequent speaker at industry conferences and contributor to specialist publications. Mr. Linkin holds degrees in Physics and Business Economics from the UK.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...