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XIOLOGIX CONNECTS YOUR BUSINESS TO YOUR CUSTOMERS

Networking can mean many things, depending on your business. In addition to your basic local area network, it may include voice systems, remote communications, Internet access, and connections to your other locations. At Xiologix, we can help you make sense of it all – from routers and switches to SDN, SD-WAN, NFV, MPLS, and gigabytes and gigabits.

Networking and Communications

Networking can mean many things, depending on your business. In addition to your basic local area network, it may include voice systems, remote communications, Internet access, and connections to your other locations.

Jim Henson Company Boosts Production Efficiency with Brocade

See how The Jim Henson Company was able to innovate and take their characters into the digital space. With increased efficiency from Brocade VCS fabrics, The Jim Henson Company has cut rendering and upload times down to a fraction of what it once was, and has enabled the company to create more elaborate, complex, and magical stories.

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Zultys Cloud Services Lands Product of the Year Award

March 22, 2016 Award-winning products often spark feelings of safety and security for users; if a product has won an award, clearly someone must think highly of it. That’s the kind of boost that Zultys is likely to get with the news that it’s taken home a 2016 Unified Communications Product of the Year Award from TMC. Zultys Cloud Services is an office phone solution that’s completely cloud-hosted, thus allowing users easy access to it from just about anywhere with a proper Internet connection. Not only is the system readily deployed, it’s also packing a complete range of options. Available with Zultys Cloud Service include many of the tools needed for an omnichannel contact system, including voice, fax, voice mail, instant messaging and more. Contact center tools are also included, along with an automatic call recording system which may well be the most powerful of all the tools on hand. There are even mobile considerations here, as the system includes Zultys Mobile Communicator for iPhone and Android. Rounding out the system is the MXIE UC Desktop Client and a conferencing bridge.Those interested in getting in on the action have several options, and will have several more to follow. Zultys offers its tools through several channel partners, and has recently stepped up its search for more Master Agent operatives via an expanded Agent program. With this kind of sales force, Zultys is well on its way to achieving what chief sales and marketing officer Steven Francis describes as “…the solution that can be tailored to meet the demands of any user….”As to why Zultys took home the award, TMC CEO Rich Tehrani called particular attention to Zultys Cloud Services’ “ingenuity and excellence”, noting that Zultys Cloud Services was both “innovative” and “groundbreaking.”There’s plenty of value on hand in such a service, and being able to offer a product that allows for so many different ways to make contact has a great market potential. With an increasing push toward omnichannel access, and customers increasingly desirous of a way to make contact aside from phone and email, having a system in hand that will address several other ways can be helpful. Throw in the benefits for a mobile workforce as well as the increasing availability of it—and don’t forget that innovation, ingenuity, excellence and groundbreaking nature—and it’s a recipe for success.Better communications are important to any business, whether internally or externally focused. That means a need for better communications tools, and since Zultys has taken home some major honors already, that should put it near the top of anyone’s list looking for upgrades.

Brocade Looks to Bridge Network & Cloud Automation

Building on its acquisition of the operations automation startup StackStorm in March, Brocade has announced Brocade Workflow Composer to provide automated IT and network automation in a single toolset. “We are eliminating all the manual handoffs that get in the way of the body of work,” Patrick LaPorte, director of network automation solutions, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), tells Light Reading. “We have a material impact on business agility. Just executing those handoffs programmatically rather than manually will save time.” In addition to time and cost savings, automated management tools will help network operators increase customer satisfaction by improving performance and uptime. “The more you automate, you get more efficient in your execution. It’s much more reliable and much more profitable,” he says. In other words, Workflow Composer is designed to help network operators achieve the goals of New IP networks. Workflow Composer is designed for cloud providers and enterprises of all size — any organization whose customers primarily consume information over the web, such as financial institutions and web-based retailers, LaPorte says. Workflow Composer provides what Brocade calls “cross-domain integration” — integrating compute, storage, and IT applications with network management in multivendor environments. The software integrates cloud management tools from StackStorm with network integrations and workflows from Brocade.Brocade acquired StackStorm in March. The company provides automation tools extending to cloud environments including Microsoft Azure and Rackspace, as well as OpenStack, Amazon Web Services, and Docker. Workflow Composer starts with provisioning the Layer 3 fabric architecture, including data center tenants, as well as BGP/EVPN provisioning. It can provision switches for spine and leaf deployment, and provide connectivity to peers. Network management tools have previously focused on provisioning, but that’s only about 5%-10% of the work for network operators, who also want to automate troubleshooting, repair, remediation, and validation, LaPorte says. Workflow Composer delivers total lifecycle management. Workflow Composer validates configuration of network devices, to determine whether they’ve deviated from the “golden configuration” and need to be reset, LaPorte says. And Workflow Composer automates troubleshooting by deploying sensors, which function as network plugins that integrate with compute, IT applications, storage or cloud services — 2,000 points of integration in all, including Linux, Windows, vSphere, AWS, Azure, CloudFoundry, OpenStack, Kubernetes, FireEye and more. The sensors listen for events and trigger actions based on those events using programmatic rules. For example, if a web server runs out of disk space, a sensor would detect the problem, the rules engine prescribes the appropriate workflow — clearing cache, for example — and triggers the action automatically. Troubleshooting works with cloud and IT services as well as Brocade networking products such as VDX routers.Workflow Composer includes turnkey workflows for organizations just getting started with DevOps as well as support for “DIY workflows” for sophisticated organizations that want to build from scratch, LaPorte says. Brocade describes the tools as “DevOps inspired,” using open source software such as Python, Ruby, Mistral and Puppet.The basic StackStorm software is open source and available on Github. Brocade’s Workflow Composer adds a GUI to allow organizations to lay out rules and actions and automatically generate code. The Brocade version also adds high-level Automation Packs comprising workflows, actions, and sensors for specific capabilities — for example, troubleshooting BGP, LaPorte says. And Brocade provides security add-ons for Workflow Composer, LDAP integration and support. Brocade Workflow Composer will be available in late July or early August. “Strategically, this is a huge deal for Brocade,” LaPorte says. Workflow Composer integrates across Brocade’s entire network portfolio, including its OpenDaylight-based SDN controller, and Vyatta Routers. Find out more about enterprise cloud at our Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, now through Thursday. Register now! Brocade is moving from its heritage as as SAN provider to provider of overall networking products and services that include storage. And IP storage is one of Brocade’s biggest growth areas. However, Workflow Composer doesn’t support Brocade’s SAN products — yet. “We want to get through the launch first,” LaPorte says. Brocade’s SAN business has been declining, while its IP networking business improved — until recently. In its most recent quarterly earnings, Brocade reported revenue declines in both storage and IP networking. In results reported this month, Brocade said it saw quarterly revenue down 4% year-over-year to $523 million, with IP networking revenue at $132 million, down 9% year over year, and SAN product revenue down 5% year-over-year, to $297 million. (See Brocade Revenue Down, IP Networking Slumps.)— Mitch Wagner, , Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading. (0)  | Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View       ADD A COMMENT

SD-WAN: What it is and why you’ll use it one day

Managing the Wide Area Network (WAN) for Redmond Inc., a supplier of industrial and commercial products – from salt that’s used to protect winter roadways to organic dairy products and health items – is an easier job today for the company’s technical project manager Aaron Gabrielson than it was a year ago.Redmond manages a phone system, point of sale and fax centrally out of headquarters in Heber City, Utah, which means each of Redmond’s 10 branch sites across the Midwest need a reliable connection back to headquarters in Utah. That’s easier for some sites, like those in Salt Lake City, than others, such as rural areas where there may only be a handful of workers on a farm.It was here that a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) came to the rescue. Gartner estimates that SD-WAN has less than 1% market share today, but it predicts that up to 30% of users will be managing their WAN through software within three years. Redmond is an early adopter.+More on Network World: How to make the transition to SD-WAN + One of the chief characteristics of an SD-WAN is its ability to manage multiple types of connections – from MPLS to broadband to LTE. For Redmond, that’s been hugely helpful. LinkedIn Aaron GabrielsonGabrielson buys cheap commercial-grade Internet connections at his rural branch sites. The SD-WAN program from VeloCloud aggregates at least two links together to create a single bundled link that’s stronger than either one individually. It provides rural sites with enough bandwidth to use voice over IP (VoIP) and process credit card transactions.SD-WAN can be thought of as a little brother to its more well-known sibling software-defined networking (SDN). They’re related – both software-defined, but whereas SDN is meant for internal data centers at a campus or headquarter location, SD-WAN takes those similar software-defined concepts and the decoupling of the control plane from the data plane to the WAN. “SDN is an architecture, where as SD-WAN is a technology you can buy,” explains Gartner analyst Andrew Lerner, who tracks the SD-WAN market closely.Managing a WAN through software provides helpful benefits for Gabrielson. He’s notified of any issues that sprout up and is able to manage his entire WAN through a single interface. In the past, making changes to network configurations in branch offices would have required manual configurations being created and installed and likely an on-site technician to do it. If a business decided to roll out teleconferencing to their branch offices, for example, predefined bandwidth allocations would have to be rearchitected. More bandwidth may need to be acquired, then programmed in and installed at each branch location. “(With SD-WAN) we control the entire WAN, it’s easy to manage, easy to change,” Gabrielson says. “I can control and shape the bandwidth at each location centrally through a GUI. Plus, we get to buy cheap bandwidth while having quality uptime.” Gartner+More on Network World: What network technology is going to shake up your WAN?+Much of the technology that makes up SD-WAN is not new, rather it’s the packaging of it together that is. Internet vendors offer various aggregation technologies and are happy to sell multiple links to a site, so that itself is not novel. Centrally managing a WAN is not new either. But the combination of those, plus SD-WAN’s ability to dynamically share network bandwidth across connection points is a new packaging of these components together. “It’s the whole being greater than the sum of the parts,” Gabrielson says.The way WAN used to be Many enterprises have complex infrastructure at their branch offices consisting of routers, WAN path controllers, WAN optimizers, firewalls and other components. It’s expensive to buy and maintain and complex to manage.“SD-WAN has basically lobotomized traditional branch routers,” Lerner says. “Most enterprises just need a small subset of functionality. SD-WAN vendors package up the four or five most important features – path selection, low cost – and bundle it together. It’s a smart car compared to an SUV.”Redmond’s SD-WAN deployment consists of a single VeloCloud box that sits at each branch offices that all network traffic is routed through. SD-WANs are sold as either a software that runs on commodity infrastructure, or as a hardware/software combination, like VeloCloud’s. GartnerLerner estimates that an SD-WAN can be up to two and a half times less expensive than a traditional WAN architecture. A 250-branch WAN over three years is estimated to cost $1,285,000 in a traditional WAN architecture, but only $452,500 with an SD-WAN deployment. The ability to use commodity routers is the biggest savings, along with staffing and a small decrease in router maintenance and support.The market for SD-WAN vendors is easily broken into three buckets: Incumbent networking vendors who are rolling out SD-WAN products (i.e Cisco, with Dell, HPE and Juniper expected to join soon); WAN specialists who extend their products to include SD-WAN (Silver Peak, Talari Networks); and then pure-play SD-WAN startups (VeloCloud, CloudGenix, Ocedo, and Viptela).This ease of deployment, central manageability and reduced costs make SD-WAN an attractive option for many businesses. At VMworld 2015 29% of 260 attendees surveyed by Riverbed were exploring SD-WAN while 5% had adopted it. That compares to 77% who were exploring SDN, with 13% who had deployed it. Lerner says leading adopters of SD-WAN have been retailers and financial institutions that have a large number of branch offices.So if SD-WAN is so great why isn’t it more ubiquitous? Many organizations have custom built ASICs controlling their WANs and LANs, which have long refresh cycles.Network engineers are traditionally averse to dramatic changes too, Lerner says. When the hardware is ready for an upgrade Lerner expects organizations will consider SD-WANs, but that could be a multi-year process.

Do You Know the Difference between a Gigabit and a Gigabyte?

Many people confuse the terms “gigabit” and “gigabyte” by either using them synonymously or confusing their meanings. While both are units of measurement describing digital data, how much they measure and how they are used are different.  Atlantic. Net clearly explains these different meanings that help to clearly define your cloud server needs.A BitA bit is the most basic unit used in computing and telecommunications. A bit is a binary unit, meaning it can have one of two values: a 1 or a 0. In computers, this value can indicate expressions such as “true” or “false”, “yes” or “no”, “come hither” or “ain’t gonna happen”. (Just kidding with that last one!)A ByteA byte is 8 bits*. Werner Buchholz, an American computer scientist, coined the term “byte” in 1956 during the construction of the IBM Stretch computer. He deliberately spelled the term differently to avoid confusion with the term “bit.”The DifferenceWhen we need to refer to numbers of bits or bytes as those numbers get larger and larger, we use the prefixes from the metric system (see table below for examples). To distinguish between the two when abbreviating them, the lower-case “b” traditionally represents “bit”, whereas the upper-case “B” represents “byte”.prefixmultiplier†bits-to-bytesbytes-to-bitskilo- (K)1,000x1Kb = 125B1KB = 8Kbmega- (M)1,000,000x1Mb = 125KB1MB = 8Mbgiga- (G)1,000,000,000x1Gb = 125MB1GB = 8Gbtera- (T)1,000,000,000,000x1Tb = 125GB1TB = 8TbThey are also different in how they are used as units of measurement. Bits are generally used when measuring the rate of data transfer. When we talk about network throughput (or, what is often called “bandwidth”) or internal data transfer (such as in describing SATA or USB speeds), we use megabits per second or gigabits per second.Bytes are generally used when describing data capacity. We measure the sizes of our files and the hard drives that store them in gigabytes and terabytes (and, perhaps soon, petabytes!).At Atlantic.Net, you do not have to worry about staying up-to-date with confusing terminology because our expert technicians will handle all of the work for you! To learn more about our cloud hosting services, contact our team of hosting professionals today by calling 1-800-521-5881. Right now, we are offering dedicated server hosting plans from just $64 a month every month and no contractual commitments.* Fun Fact: 4 bits, or half a byte, is called a nibble. It’s rarely used, but it’s official!† Kind of. In actual usage, particularly in measurements of RAM or hard disk space, the metric prefixes aren’t decimal-based but binary-based. This table shows the differences between these two types of calculations.prefixdecimalmultiplierbinarymultiplierkilo- (K)1031000x2101024xmega- (M)1061,000,000×2201,048,576xgiga- (G)1091,000,000,000×2301,073,741,824xtera- (T)10121,000,000,000,000×2401,099,511,627,776xYou can see how that numbering scheme can grow to be confusing! Related PostsWhat can you do with 10 terabytes, or 10 TB, data transfer?

Brocade’s beefy new FC director can provide up to 16 TBps of bandwidth

Storage-attached network vendors are beefing up their products to address the rapid increase in data center I/O traffic that the widening adoption of flash arrays is driving. Leading the effort is Brocade Technologies Inc., which today introduced a new director-class switch series that is hailed as the first in the industry to implement the Gen 6 Fibre Channel (FC) protocol.The standard supports up to 32 GBps of throughput per port and can handle as much as 128 GBps when multiple links are combined into a single lane, which represents a fourfold improvement over the technology’s previous iteration. The protocol enables Brocade’s new X6 Director to handle significantly more traffic than older competing alternatives. It’s available in two configurations on launch: A midsize model referred to as the X6-4 that packs 192 32 Gbps ports when fully loaded, and a high-end version called X6-8 with precisely twice as much network capacity. The latter switch is able to provide up to 16 TBps of aggregate bandwidth when accounting for the 32 dedicated 128 GBps ports that are there for connecting with other director nodes.Brocade says that the X6 series is geared towards petabyte-scale environments like large Hadoop clusters where a lot of data moves between the server and storage components. Its value proposition is simple: The high density of the new directors reduces the total number of nodes required for a deployment and thereby cuts management overhead. Jack Rondoni, the head of Brocade’s storage networking business, elaborated in an interview with SilconANGLE this week.“I always say performance enables consolidation,” he told SiliconANGLE’s Jeff Frick. “Say you have 10 switches– we can get you down to 2 switches. If you want to save OpEx, you want to manage less things. And we’re able to go do that. “Reducing the amount of networking equipment that organizations need to deploy also eases day-to-day maintenance in the process, which frees up administrators to focus on activities. And Brocade claims that the benefit can be compounded using Fabric Vision, a monitoring toolkit it included in the X6 series to help troubleshoot technical problems. The software promises to provide visibility into traffic and storage bottlenecks that are hurting application performance.RELATED:  Enabling discovery with the next-gen platforms | #HS16SJBrocade’s Rondoni described the software as “Google Maps for the storage workloads of an enterprise” to Frick. “It’s vitally important because you’re dealing with petabyte scale, which most enterprises are,” he continued. “When customers deploy Gen 6, what they can do that they couldn’t do with previous generations is view the I/O workflow of their entire environments. And that’s important for maintain SLAs. Because the applications that these enterprises run, if they slow down, there’s major impact.”Image via Geralt SIGN UP FOR THE SiliconANGLE NEWSLETTER!Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.SIGN UP FOR THE SiliconANGLE NEWSLETTER!Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Migrating To A Software-Defined World

IT leaders are increasingly looking to implement software-defined solutions to enable a migration to DevOps-style applications and hybrid cloud platforms. At the Open Network User Group (ONUG) fall meeting in New York City last week, IT leaders highlighted the progress they’ve made in this journey as well as the challenges in shifting from legacy, infrastructure-defined applications to the agile world of software-defined applications that can run on private or public cloud.ONUG is led by representatives of leading Fortune 500 IT organizations. Its goal is to promote the use and standardization of open networking. ONUG provides reference requirements and testing the use of SDN to promote network orchestration and automation. Requirements and challengesA number of IT leaders at ONUG expressed frustration with the challenge of this migration not only in terms of the new skill sets required to write and support applications, but also the lack of critical tools. Required tool sets include ability to automate application deployment, virtually monitor the health and performance of applications, they said. And of course, there’s the challenge of securing applications in a hybrid cloud environment. They also said the shift requires organizations redefine the relationship with their infrastructure suppliers and the need to leverage open source tools.Some of the ways organizations are tackling these challenges include moving IT teams’ skill sets from vendor-specific knowledge to general-purpose computer science, ONUG speakers said. For example, they’re hiring new computer science graduates.The open software-defined networkA key theme voice by a number of speakers at ONUG was that IT needs choices for open, interoperable, manageable hardware and software-defined infrastructure, including networking. The networking industry must adapt to this fundamental change in IT operations by leveraging highly adaptable, cost effective open platforms. The largest IT buyers, including the hyperscale cloud providers, telecom service providers, and the Fortune 500, have all demanded that vendors embrace open network technologies.  In a software-defined world, the network must be open standards-based, programmable, agile, and adaptive, ONUG speakers said. DevOps teams — not just experienced networking professionals — should be able to quickly and easily design, install, and manage networks that meet the specific requirements of their unique application environment.  White-box switchesONUG speakers discussed the early adoption and challenges associated with white-box networks — branded or unbranded Ethernet switches with independent network operating software.  Enterprises have been hesitant to widely adopt white-box networking in their data center or campus, preferring to stick with traditional integrated switches from Cisco, Arista, HPE, or Juniper.  IT leaders at ONUG said they need a clear, low-risk path to accelerate white-box deployment; for example, they want to know if they can use a particular white box with a certain network operating systems and know it will work.SD-WANONUG highlighted the industry’s high expectations for software-defined WAN. After a couple years of proof of concepts and initial deployment, 2017 is set to be the year SD-WAN hits commercial scale, several speakers said. In fact, more than 10,000  branches in Fortune 1000 organizations, including major retail and financial services firms, already are connected via SD-WAN, according to Doyle Research.  During 2017, we will see huge growth as most many large banks, retailers, manufacturers, healthcare organizations, and others rely on SD-WAN to deliver secure, reliable, high-performance connectivity to their branch and data centers. Ten SD-WAN suppliers exhibited at ONUG, including two new suppliers, NTT Innovation Institute and CradlePoint. This growth in SD-WAN is likely to increase the momentum for convergence of branch networking applications, including WAN optimization, routing, firewalls, and WiFi appliances.Take the long viewIT managers are rapidly migrating towards software-defined architectures and require tools such as  monitoring and analytics to rapidly configure, provision, and manage a complex set of network, compute, and storage resources. Organizations like ONUG are critical to assist IT managers by providing a framework, standards, and best practices to migrate to software defined, hybrid cloud architectures.Initial experiences from IT leaders indicate that the journey to agile, hybrid cloud delivery is long and challenging. IT needs to take the long view and be prepared for roadblocks. Developing a new IT infrastructure requires new IT skills. IT must attract new talent and cross-train current IT staff to learn DevOp principals and reorganize into cross-functional teams.

Adapting the network for the rise of containers

They say necessity is the mother of invention. That statement has been true in networking for decades now, as many of the innovations in the network have been driven by changes in compute.For example, Ethernet became the de facto standard to consolidate all of the various LAN protocols that once existed. Another example is the virtual switch. That was invented to solve the hair pinning problem associated with moving traffic between two virtual machines on the same host.+ Also on Network World: Which is cheaper: Containers or virtual machines? +There’s another major compute shift going on that will drive the need for network evolution, and that’s the rise of containers. If you’re not familiar with containers, think of them as a lightweight runtime environment that includes an application and all of its dependencies, including configuration files, binaries and libraries. Containers are similar to virtual machines except they share a single operating system and kernel, so it’s much lighter weight. A VM can be a few to tens of gigabytes in size,where a container is likely to be just a few megabytes.The advantage of containers is they are much more agile and portable. Because of their lightweight nature, they can be spun up and down almost instantly. VMs on the other hand can take several minutes to boot up and begin running. We are still early in the container adoption cycle, so they haven’t had a big impact on the network yet—but they will soon. To help understand what’s required from the network, I talked with Prashant Gandhi, vice president of product management and strategy at Big Switch Networks.——————————————————-Zeus: Can you describe the deployment models for containers? Big Switch Networks’ Prashant GandhiPrashant: There are two types of deployment models for containers. The first is to run containers in a virtual machine. This is used by enterprises that either want to user vCenter as a management tool or are concerned about the security ramifications of the shared kernel. The other model is to run a container on bare metal. This is the dominant model used by telcos and webscale companies that want the increased agility and flexibility of containers. Zeus: How do containers impact network operations?Prashant: Containers are an entirely new paradigm in compute and will have a significant impact on the network. The lightweight nature of containers means businesses can run more containers per server and spin them up and down more often.Also, traditional applications were deployed with one or few VMs, whereas modern distributed applications could leverage tens or hundreds of containers.  A network is needed to connect the containers within the server but also between them, similar to the role of vSwitch with virtual machines. However, containers are far more dynamic with a shorter lifecycle than VMs, so the network needs a higher level of nimbleness. Containers make IT fast, and the network needs to be equally fast.Containers make IT fast, and the network needs to be equally fast.Zeus: In my experience, legacy networks are neither dynamic nor nimble. What’s missing?Prashant: The thesis that legacy networks are not aligned well with containers is most certainly true. The two missing ingredients are visibility and automation. Visibility helps network mangers track what hosts, virtual or physical, containers are running on, when they are invoked, turned off and if they move. Network managers need full visibility into what containers are on the network and what host they are running on. Visibility into the environment also helps networking team see if an issue is in the container, hypervisor, server or the network, which is critical to shortening troubleshooting time. Automation is necessary to ensure the network can be configured at container speeds. Network teams today do almost everything manually, and that is just too slow. Automation can provide a number of benefits. First, core network services and policies can be applied to a container in real time with configuration automation. Manual provisioning methods simply can’t keep up. Also, automation can be used to continuously check the network for configuration drift that could impact the operations of a container.Automation also plays an important role in testing and validation of network state. One last requirement is that the network needs to be automatable across both physical and virtual infrastructure. Ideally network professionals would not be required to think about the day-to-day operations of the network and could focus more on strategic initiatives. Automation makes network engineers nervous, but it’s a necessary component of container networking. Zeus: What is the right network architecture for containers?Prashant: I consider two key architectural principles necessary for the network to be ideally suited for containers. The network needs to be a leaf/spine fabric, and it needs to be controlled through an SDN controller. Containers’ distributed nature demand a scale-out, high-performance network and hence the need for a leaf/spine fabric versus box-by-box network. An SDN controller, on the other hand, provides a single point of API integration for network automation with container orchestration systems such as Docker, Kubernetes or Mesosphere.The legacy approach of box-by-box API interactions is highly inefficient, has much higher response time and can lead to API scaling problems. Moreover, SDN would ensure zero-touch fabric operations, which is necessary for rapid scale-out and change management as well as deep fabric- and container-wide visibility for application performance management and availability. There are additional benefits offered by SDN fabrics for containers. For instance, during container-to-container troubleshooting, it can provide fabric-wide flow tracing and eliminate the complex hop and hunt process applied in box-by-box troubleshooting. A smart SDN fabric can integrate with multiple orchestration systems simultaneously, so IT organizations can leverage the right container environment for a given application on a shared network infrastructure. For containers embedded in vSphere VMs, an SDN fabric would even integrate with vSphere for additional VM-level visibility and network automation. And finally, for bare-metal container environments, an SDN fabric would control and manage Open vSwitches (OVS) to provide a unified physical and virtual network for containers.I see such modern capabilities as the new norm in container networking, which makes SDN fabrics an ideal architectural choice.Zeus: Is there any other advice you would like to offer network professionals regarding containers?Prashant: A successful container environment requires an ecosystem of technology to work together. It’s critically important that businesses use vendors that are built on open standards. Proprietary solutions may have worked in the past but now can significantly limit choice down the road.For example, when deploying containers on bare metal servers, there’s a large ecosystem of vendors that support OVS today. Choosing a network fabric supplier that is OVS-compliant gives the organization a large number of options in the future.

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