Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Lori MacVittie, Andreas Grabner, Jim Kaskade, John Basso

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Linux Containers, SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

The Re-Emergence of the Operating System

Each of the major infrastructure silos has to operate with some fixed environment in mind

Compute started its major architectural transition several years ago with the introduction of virtualization. If you pay attention to any of the IT noise today, it should be clear that storage and networking are going through their own architectural evolutions as well. But another shift is also underway: applications are fundamentally changing as well.

An interesting dynamic in all of this is that it is near impossible for each of the four major IT areas to undergo simultaneous, coordinated evolution. Change is hard enough on its own, but changing multiple variable at once makes it difficult to anchor to anything substantial. And when change does occur along multiple fronts at the same time, the task of determining causation for new found results is challenging at best.

Understanding that business underlies much of the change, the best that the industry can collectively do is to take some things as fixed and then change around that. And so we evolve each of the silos somewhat independently, trying hard to keep in mind that the environment into which they plug is also changing. At our best, we try to intersect the various changes. But when we miss, we tend to aim towards slotting into current architectural paradigms, because that allows us the best chance to make a meaningful difference in production environments. Indeed, always playing out ahead of the horizon might be great for making future progress, but it makes building a business around the resulting innovation nigh impossible.

Moving forward

And so IT as a whole continues the trudge forward.

Each of the major infrastructure silos—compute, storage, and networking—has to operate with some fixed environment in mind. The most basic thing to attach to is application infrastructure. While virtualization has made compute containers that make applications portable (the reason dynamic and change are so prominent in most marketing materials), the applications themselves have remained largely static.

Except, of course, that they haven’t.

Application architectures

Anyone watching the major web-scale players (think: Facebook, Google, Twitter, and the like) will know that the architecture for their applications is actually significantly different than what most enterprises currently think of. Applications tend to be flatter and more distributed, typically running on bare metal to avoid some of the virtualization overhead that exists in a pure hypervisor environment.

This new breed of scale-out applications would appear to mark the beginning of the application evolution. If this is truly a trend that will only increase, how will it impact the evolution of the other silos?

Software-defined everything

The prevailing chatter across the whole of IT is about software-defined everything. The view is that compute, storage, and networking will all work in cahoots to meet application requirements. The rise of controller-based architectures is prominent in both networking and storage roadmaps, and the compute side of the house embraced central control awhile back.

But what happens if the underlying assumption that applications emerge largely unscathed turns out not to be true?

It could be that the future of datacenter architectures will hinge not on the supporting infrastructure but on the applications themselves. If this is true, we could see a re-emergence of something that we haven’t really talked about in quite awhile: the operating system itself. Sure, there is still talk about Linux and all the server tools that come with it, but the actual operating system hasn’t materially changed in quite some time.

Learning from web-scale applications

If we learn anything from the web-scale companies pushing the boundaries for application performance, it should be that the future is not necessarily about the containers in which applications run. It could be about the underlying OS itself. What if the reason massively scaled companies are embracing bare metal isn’t only about the cost? There is certainly a performance aspect to it as well.

One somewhat uncomfortable conclusion here would be that all the infrastructure work involved in handling application portability across a containerized infrastructure could be somewhat transient. I don’t mean to suggest that it is not useful; there will be a relatively long transition to any kind of new application architecture. And even if there is a transition, the persistence of mainframes should tell us all that no change is absolute or all-encompassing. But a scenario where pockets of new-era applications co-exist in data centers with legacy applications seems likely. We are already seeing this with Hadoop, but I would expect to see more applications built on new architectures.

But this does mean that future-proofing datacenter investments requires a bit more nuance than just buying and planning on scale. Highly-distributed application architectures are even more dependent on east-west traffic. For every 1 byte of traffic going in and out of the datacenter, close to 1 Gigabyte transits the datacenter fabric in some current applications. This ratio likely gets even more aggressive over time.

The bottom line

How all of this plays out is anyone’s guess. We will certainly end up with a hybrid environment supporting all kinds of application architectures making use of various underlying infrastructure architectures. But none of us should be surprised when the industry starts talking a bit more broadly about the role of the operating system going forward. And if you are making plans based on a set of assumptions anchored to current architectures, it might be worth expanding the strategic aperture some to consider how this impacts current plans.

And as a final thought, if the operating system changes, is it still defined by the server, or do we end up with large, distributed operating systems? Put differently, what is the definition of the underlying platform? Are we looking at a new era of platform that includes all of compute, storage, networking, and applications? The implications would be dramatic.

[Today’s fun fact: Potatoes have more chromosomes than humans. I wonder if that means Mr. Potato Head has the combined chromosomes or just a subset of a potato’s.]

The post The re-emergence of the Operating System appeared first on Plexxi.

More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

@ThingsExpo Stories
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web ...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. 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 sett...