|By Lori MacVittie||
|January 19, 2010 06:00 PM EST||
There’s been increasing interest in Infrastructure 2.0 of late that’s encouraging to those of us who’ve been, well, pushing it uphill against the focus on cloud computing and virtualization for quite some time now.
What’s been the most frustrating about bringing this concept to awareness has been that cloud computing is one of the most tangible examples of both what infrastructure 2.0 is and what it can do and virtualization is certainly one of the larger technological drivers of Infrastructure 2.0 capable solutions today. So despite the frustration associated with cloud computing and virtualization stealing the stage, as it were, the spotlight is certainly helping to bring the issues which Infrastructure 2.0 is attempting to address into the fore. As it gains traction, one of the first challenges that must be addressed is to define what it is we mean when we say “Infrastructure 2.0.”
Like Web 2.0 – go ahead and try to define it simply – Infrastructure 2.0 remains, as James Urquhart put it recently, a “squishy term.”
Right now, Infrastructure 2.0 is one of those "squishy" terms that can potentially incorporate a lot of different network automation characteristics. As is hinted at in the introduction to Ness' interview, there is a working group of network luminaries trying to sort out the details and propose an architectural framework, but we are still very early in the game. [link to referenced interview added]
What complicates Infrastructure 2.0 is that not only is the term “squishy” but so is the very concept. After all, Infrastructure 2.0 is mostly about collaboration, about integration, about intelligence. These are not off the shelf “solutions” but rather enabling technologies that are designed to drive the flexibility and agility of enterprise networks forward in a such as way as to alleviate the pain points associated with the brittle, fragile network architectures of the past.
Greg Ness summed it the concept, at least, very well more than a year ago in “The beginning of the end of static infrastructure” when he said, “The issue comes down to static infrastructure incapable of keeping up with all of the new IP addresses and devices and initiatives and movement/change already taking place in large enterprises” and then noted that “the notion of application, endpoint and network intelligence thus far has been hamstrung by the lack of dynamic connectivity, or connectivity intelligence.”
What Greg noticed is missing is context, and perhaps even more importantly the ability to share that context across the entire infrastructure. I could, and have, gone on and on and on about this subject so for now I’ll just stop and offer up a few links to some of the insightful posts that shed more light on Infrastructure 2.0 – its drivers, its requirements, its breadth of applicability, and its goals - to date:
- Greg Ness’ Virtualization, Clouds, and Meta Orchestration
Greg walks though where we are, how we got here ,and what we need for the future.
- Christofer Hoff’s “Cloudanatomy” and subsequent Cloud Taxonomy
Hoff’s ontology and taxonomy clearly shows just how large the problem space for Infrastructure 2.0 really is.
- James Urquhart’s Why virtualization is shaking up IT data centers
James offers a great analogy that illustrates well exactly why it is that virtualization is one of the primary drives of the need for Infrastructure 2.0.
- And a few of my own offerings to the cause:
- Infrastructure 2.0 Is the Beginning of the Story, Not the End
Understanding the means (Infrastructure 2.0) to the end (a dynamic infrastructure)
- Pursuit of Intercloud is Practical not Premature
Fred Cummins of HP believes Intercloud is premature, but standards take time and much of the technology that will be applied using those standards already exists.
- Cloud, Standards, and Pants
Why the creation of standards for Intercloud and Infrastructure 2.0 are so difficult
- Cloud Balancing, Cloud Bursting, and Intercloud
How Intercloud and Infrastructure will move hybrid architectures that leverage cloud computing to achieve a variety of business goals
- Intercloud: The Evolution of Global Application Delivery
The goal of Intercloud is essentially a dynamic infrastructure that comprises local and cloud-based services. It is an evolutionary process that relies heavily on global application delivery.
- Infrastructure 2.0 Is the Beginning of the Story, Not the End
James believes "Infrastructure 2.0" will “evolve into a body of standards that will have the same impact as BGP or DNS” and I share that belief. The trick is going to be in developing standards that allow for the “squishiness” that is required to remain flexible and adaptable across myriad architectures and environments while being able to standardize how that happens.
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