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From networking to connectivity

In 1965 Gordon Moore gave his now famous prediction that “The number of transistors on a chip will double approximately every two years”. Famously, Moore’s law was only supposed to be a 10-year prediction, and yet it has proven to hold true long beyond that original boundary.

 

Compute power is no longer the bottleneck in balancing the resources of our modern platforms. Computerworld reported in October last year that Intel is working on a 48-core chip for Smartphones and Tablets … although that is a 5-10 year ambition it certainly fuels the imagination. Data doesn’t get as many headlines until recently, but in fact the data explosion outstrips even Moore’s law, with worldwide data growth increasing from 1,227 Exabytes in 2010 to 7,915 Exabytes in 2015 (IDC Digital Universe, June 2011). This has given rise to the science of data analysis and the impact and revelations exposed through the application of Big Data solutions.

 

As data explodes, so too do the storage systems designed to cope with it, and it was exciting at HP’s Discover event in Frankfurt last December to see HP unveil a universal storage architecture – as 3PAR continues to attract more and more customers to the platform.

 

My reason for laying out the changing landscape of compute and storage is to bring attention to just how little the network has changed in line with its infrastructure siblings. We still deliver over-provisioned, under-utilized, rigid, proprietary-based networks that require massive amounts of human middleware to interact with the command line interface.

 

Most networking teams I speak to still think of the application owner as their customer (not the end user). And yet with virtualization and the shift to cloud computing models the patterns of workloads demanded of the network are even more unpredictable. Services can be owned or brokered, application servers provisioned in minutes, and end users are connecting billions of devices: “Mobiles 'to outnumber people next year', says UN agency”, reported the BBC last week. The network has been found out – as the laggard in our infrastructure trinity.

 

And so the stage is set for a major change. Enter two enablers that hold the promise of moving from networking to connectivity, and from rigid to elastic.

 

First, of course, is the shift towards a Software Defined Network (SDN). A network that understands the flow of data and responds in real-time. A network which is logically controlled centrally and embraces the power of open standards. A network which enables a new era of “apps” designed to exploit new .API’s and techniques to deliver an optimized user experience. You may recently have seen Microsoft and HP demonstrate this using Lync at the ONF Open Networking Summit (if not, Google it … and be inspired).

 

But in a world in which devices (and increasingly sensors) are growing exponentially, we have exhausted our supply of IP addressing, and so the shift towards IPv6 unlocks another crucial capability to respond to this new world. IPv6 represents a new business frontier, in which millions of connected “things”, all generating and consuming data, all universally connected, create a new playground. I watch with interest to see what types of companies emerge from this new connected world ahead of the pack.

 

And so with SDN and IPv6 we move beyond the networks of the past and into an era of “Connectivity”. The good news is that moving into this new future doesn’t require wholesale rip-and-replace strategies. Domains of connectivity can be constructed within your current network to prove out new HP hardware, management and software solutions.  If you want to see how your company can tap into this change, seek out HP's Connectivity Transformation Experience Workshop at HP Discover 2013 in Las Vegas. This workshop enables your organization to establish a vision for the future and create a transformation roadmap. Take the first step! You can sign up for a one-hour experience of the HP workshops at Discover here.

 

You can read more about the HP Connectivity Transformation Experience Workshop in our recent press release and this service brief.

 

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About the Author
Craig Partridge is the WW strategy lead for HP Technology Services Networking group. His role now covers strategy for consulting, profession...
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