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Redefine IP Storage Networking

Don't settle for a legacy IP network

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The New IP: Transforming Networks

Revolutionizing business models for the Third Platform

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An Application Boost For The New IP

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Since people began talking about the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s been fun to think about potential applications. A refrigerator that automatically reorders items when inventory drops to a pre-set level? Wearables that continuously interact with health monitoring systems? Vehicles with all sorts of connectivity, from engine status to music updates?

While IoT applications are still being explored on a use-case-by-use-case basis, the foundational infrastructure die has already been cast. We know what network technology is necessary to support the IoT at the platform level. It’s called the New IP. The supporting products are here, and we’re building IoT-capable enterprise and service provider networks today. We can do that because we understand the network requirements for the categories of applications that will eventually drive the IoT.

Supporting IoT applications

IoT applications will fall into four mobility rate and traffic throughput use case categories. The devices that use these applications will range from equipment that rarely moves and generally transmits small amounts of data, to devices that move quickly and regularly send large amounts of data.

Within these use cases, traffic characteristics will vary. For example, the end of a work day might signal an added bandwidth requirement to remotely monitor devices when a day shift goes home. Traffic from devices such as remotely monitored electric or gas meters might spike once a month when data is collected for billing. And the traffic characteristics of streamed music or video to a vehicle will fluctuate dramatically with the vehicle’s speed.

The high disparity in mobility and throughput traffic models requires a network infrastructure that can dynamically adapt to the predominant traffic load at any given time. That’s where the software-driven, highly virtualized network environment of the New IP excels.

A dynamic network foundation

Imagine a network traffic profile for a device such as a utility meter, which is characterized primarily by multiple sessions that are not data intensive. An administrator can support this device with a virtual machine (VM) that has sufficient compute power to process the transactions, but limited network capacity. If the traffic pattern shifts, or needs expand with different priorities, the next VM can feature a lot of networking power with limited compute capability. When managing an IoT infrastructure, massive efficiency requires massive flexibility.

We deliver that flexibility through our extensive network functions virtualization (NFV) platform, which includes products for routing, load balancing, application delivery, and visibility and analytics. It also includes our open standard-based Brocade SDN Controller, which is the first commercial edition of the OpenDaylight software-defined networking (SDN) controller.

Our support for SDN, through the Brocade SDN Controller and many of our switches, is also an important element of an efficient IoT foundation. The network-wide traffic control that SDN provides administrators will be vital to keeping a rein on IoT resource use. Just imagine sitting in your car, in your driveway, and realizing that you’d like to change the setting on your home thermostat before you leave. This is easily done through an app on your mobile phone. But normal traffic from that device in that location would go through a particular server in a particular data center, and if that server happened to be overloaded at that moment, the network might automatically route it through another server halfway across the country. That sort of waste, at scale, would make the IoT impractical. Keeping local traffic local will be an important principle of the IoT. SDN allows administrators to take geography and many other factors into account, and create policies that efficiently direct traffic flow.

Supporting SDN through the OpenFlow standard provides an added benefit. Open SDN simplifies programmability, and allows our technology to be easily leveraged without developing capabilities on a use-case-by-use-case basis.

diagram-possibilities-inline-iot-image

A real IoT   

The user-facing element of the IoT is hovering on the edge of reality, waiting for the collective universe of users to decide what applications they really want. And that’s fine with us. At Brocade, we’re not in the business of predicting what the IoT use cases should or could be, or developing nifty applications to implement them. We’re in the business of making sure that you can deliver your use case over the network. And we can do that today, practically and economically, with a flexible foundation of standards-based, software-driven networking and NFV technology.