If everyone is thinking the same, someone isn't thinking

Lori MacVittie

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Related Topics: Cloud Computing, Telecom Innovation, Java in the Cloud

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Results of My Completely Unscientific Internet Survey on the word "Network"

Q: What do you think when you hear the word "network"?



Which is about what I expected - an emphasis on the lower layers (2-3) of the stack, some crossover at the transport layer (4) and diminishing mindshare at the higher layers (5-7).

That bodes somewhat poorly for technologies attempting to change "the network" because the focus ends up on the increasingly commoditized L2-3 space and the specialized, value-added network services at L4-7 drop off the map.

There's an inflection point in the stack at L4 that changes the economy of scale both technologically and financially, which is likely why cloud continues to focus on black-boxing network (l2-3) infrastructure and investing less and less up the stack where the value lies but requires more compute and interference (operational overhead) such that the customer cost must necessarily increase to compensate for investment in building the services.

And then there's a whole bunch of technical reasons why that inflection point is important, and why it's really hard to commoditize (and extract the same economy of scale) non-standardized traffic into general-purpose services.

In other words, we're just beginning to get to the good parts of cloud ... and SDN will gain faster maturation/adoption simply by virtue of being able to coattail on many of the same benefits and concepts.

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Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.