From Next-Generation Data Center
One of the highlights of the Building Next-Generation Data Center course are the guest speakers: industry experts talking about emerging technologies, use cases, or their deployment and operational experiences.
List of modules
Data centers seem to be a particular focus of complexity; overlays proliferate on top of already complex underlays in response to application requirements. How can network engineers fight this tide of complexity? One option is automation; another is centralized control planes. The presentation by Russ White will consider why networks are complex, then consider the basic concept of tradeoffs in network complexity. Finally, he'll focus on some basic tools engineers can use to manage complexity will be discussed.
Scott Lowe opened the Spring 2017 course talking about the impact of open-source on data center design and data center infrastructure. He's presentation will touch on subjects ranging from Linux & Linux networking to OpenStack and Docker to help course attendees can help understand where they fit (if at all) and how they would impact other aspects of data center design.
Marjan Bradeško (NIL Data Communications) explained how to create a great presentation in Autumn 2016 course. In his own words:
- You want to present. A great idea, a technical solution you are enthusiastic about, maybe just a regular technical update. Especially in technology world we rely on presentations with "slides" to convey our messages.
- As a presenter you definitely want to stay in focus of your public. So the presentation has to complement you - add the value to your explanations, increase your overall presence and provide the necessary help to you. You will learn how to keep your presentation attractive and informative yet clean enough that the audience will be able to recognize the message - even without you. How to make sure people see the content no matter the size of the screen or the distance from the projection. How many "slides" to create for the allotted time slot? How to let your audience know what to expect? How to summarize the key points? How to deal with complex drawings? Or change boring bullets into something to remember! Is structured presentation mandatory or does it hinder your creativity?
Marjan covered all these questions and I'm positive you'll feel encouraged to go out and impress your customers or coworkers with a great presentation after watching a recording of his talk.
Thomas Wacker (UBS AG) described how UBS embraces automation for the currently ongoing data center network rebuild. He started with prerequisites and key objectives, laid out the architecture, showcased the toolchain UBS was using at that time, and explained the phases of build, test, documentation and ongoing operations.
In the conclusion, he detailed the benefits of UBS approach, their immediate goals, and his view on how automation will keep changing the networking industry.
Elisa Jasinska (Bigwave IT) did a great overview on how to approach your automation and orchestration strategy in a datacenter environment in Autumn 2016 session. She described the separation of provisioning tasks from orchestration or ongoing management, and provided examples and tools to cope with each of them.
As virtualization has become fairly mainstream throughout data centers, the opportunity presents itself for engineers across different silos to work together to build some fantastic designs. In this presentation, join Chris Wahl as he distills over a decade of virtualization architecture and engineering into topics covering the major hypervisor platforms, combating virtual sprawl and zombies, dealing with cluster constructing and management, and supporting high performance workloads and their many quirks.
Stephen Foskett focused on essentials of containerization of enterprise applications, answering questions like "what are containers?" and "how will they affect enterprise IT?" Stephen addressed both the technical and architectural questions, discussing which applications are expected to be containerized, the benefits and costs, and what it means for IT operations.
In autumn 2016 session Howard Marks (deepstorage.net) described what Software-Defined Storage is, where it makes sense to use it, and how it impacts the networking requirements and data center infrastructure design.
As Internet IPv6 adoption is becoming more real there are practical considerations for many businesses to consider. I invited Ed Horley to give you some guidelines and describe lessons learned while deploying IPv6 within data centers, and what you need to consider before you start your IPv6 journey. He also addressed these questions:
- Should you implement IPv6 in parallel with IPv4 (dual-stack) in the data center?
- Can IPv6 deployment in a data center be an advantage for certain services, applications and workloads?
- Are there specific things to be wary of when adopting IPv6 in the data center?
- What training, skills and resources do I need to make it actually happen?
In autumn 2016 course, Russ White (LinkedIn) described the principles of disaggregation and white box switching data center solutions, the problem space and various open-source solutions, including their positive and negative attributes.
- Disaggregation versus white box versus SDN -- what is the difference
- The components of a fabric; switches, optics, network operating system, control plane
- Building the fabric: Clos designs, oversubscription, managing complexity
- Overlay options: VXLAN and EVPN
- Other topics: Service chaining and security
While many security professionals have a solid understanding of how to identify vulnerabilities in traditional physical infrastructure or applications, they often don’t grasp modern DevOps environments that include microservices, FaaS and IaaS. This leads to gaps, inefficiencies and a flawed program. Instead, security teams often distrust and deride the DevOps model that seeks to deploy at speed and scale, creating a narrative that does nothing to address the business need.
If organizations really want to deliver secure services, Information Security professionals have to meet DevOps and CloudOps teams where they are, by understanding how to embed security into their processes. This session by Michele Chubirka will help you shift the conversation – you’ll learn some DevOps concepts, the challenges faced in a continuous delivery environment and discover how to get Dev, Ops, and Security teams aligned and focused on a singular goal.
Let's assume you want to increase the availability of your services by moving parts of them into the cloud or doing some sort of active/standby deployment between your DC and the cloud. Now you have to deal with your (C)ISO and his/her usual concerns as well as the variety of articles on tech sites stating that "security is the biggest challenge of cloud adoption". Matthias Luft (ERNW Research) broke those security concerns into categories (such as isolation failures, cloud outages, or compliance issues), looked at incidents and vulnerabilities from the past, and explained what we can do about those in our cloud strategy.
Ethan Banks (PacketPushers.net) talked about real-life aspects of active/active data center designs and lessons he’s learned while operating them.
Imagine you're running an on-premises data center and you've been informed that your company is moving to cloud and you get to do the work, yesterday... Don't panic - there's help on the way.
This session by Ed Horley is a no nonsense road map of how to survive the next few months and figure out what makes sense to move, the common challenges you will run into and some options on how to address them. Ed covered the basics of AWS (the leading public cloud provider), the services they provide, and the decisions you will have to make to operate effectively in AWS. He also gave guidelines on what to continue to operate on premises, what to switch to cloud, and the fun you will have running both at the same time.
The Spring 2017 course concluded with an interactive panel discussion with Andrew Lerner and Simon Richard from Gartner. We discussed these topics:
- Current State of the Enterprise Networking
- What happened to SDN (and brite-boxes)
- Premium people versus premium products
- Network Incrementalism and other worst practices
- Rethinking Network Downtime
- The WAN is Cool again (SD-WAN, vCPE)
- Emerging Topics: Container Networking and Intent-based Networking
Mitja Robas (NIL Data Communications) implemented a production VMware NSX environment using overlay virtual networks and virtual appliances on top of Cisco UCS and Nexus 9000 infrastructure. In the Autumn 2016 course he described lessons learned, the obstacles he met, and the tools and components he used on that journey.