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The Limits of Cloud: Gratuitous ARP and Failover
Understanding the limitations of cloud will better enable a successful migration strategy

Cloud is great at many things. At other things, not so much. Understanding the limitations of cloud will better enable a successful migration strategy.

One of the truisms of technology is that takes a few years of adoption before folks really start figuring out what it excels at – and conversely what it doesn't. That's generally because early adoption is focused on lab-style experimentation that rarely extends beyond basic needs.

It's when adoption reaches critical mass and folks start trying to use the technology to implement more advanced architectures that the "gotchas" start to be discovered.

Cloud is no exception.

whatclouddoesrightandwrong

 

A few of the things we've learned over the past years of adoption is that cloud is always on, it's simple to manage, and it makes applications and infrastructure services easy to scale.

Some of the things we're learning now is that cloud isn't so great at supporting application mobility, monitoring of deployed services and at providing advanced networking capabilities.

The reason that last part is so important is that a variety of enterprise-class capabilities we've come to rely upon are ultimately enabled by some of the advanced networking techniques cloud simply does not support.

Take gratuitous ARP, for example. Most cloud providers do not allow or support this feature which ultimately means an inability to take advantage of higher-level functions traditionally taken for granted in the enterprise – like failover.

GRATUITOUS ARP and ITS IMPLICATIONS

For those unfamiliar with gratuitous ARP let's get you familiar with it quickly. A gratuitous ARP is an unsolicited ARP request made by a network element (host, switch, device, etc… ) to resolve its own IP address. The source and destination IP address are identical to the source IP address assigned to the network element. The destination MAC is a broadcast address. Gratuitous ARP is used for a variety of reasons. For example, if there is an ARP reply to the request, it means there exists an IP conflict. When a system first boots up, it will often send a gratuitous ARP to indicate it is "up" and available. And finally, it is used as the basis for load balancing failover. To ensure availability of load balancing services, two load balancers will share an IP address (often referred to as a floating IP). Upstream devices recognize the "primary" device by means of a simple ARP entry associating the floating IP with the active device. If the active device fails, the secondary immediately notices (due to heartbeat monitoring between the two) and will send out a gratuitous ARP indicating it is now associated with the IP address and won't the rest of the network please send subsequent traffic to it rather than the failed primary. VRRP and HSRP may also use gratuitous ARP to implement router failover.   how-failure-lb-works

Most cloud environments do not allow broadcast traffic of this nature. After all, it's practically guaranteed that you are sharing a network segment with other tenants, and thus broadcasting traffic could certainly disrupt other tenant's traffic. Additionally, as security minded folks will be eager to remind us, it is fairly well-established that the default for accepting gratuitous ARPs on the network should be "don't do it".

The astute observer will realize the reason for this; there is no security, no ability to verify, no authentication, nothing. A network element configured to accept gratuitous ARPs does so at the risk of being tricked into trusting, explicitly, every gratuitous ARP – even those that may be attempting to fool the network into believing it is a device it is not supposed to be.

That, in essence, is ARP poisoning, and it's one of the security risks associated with the use of gratuitous ARP. Granted, someone needs to be physically on the network to pull this off, but in a cloud environment that's not nearly as difficult as it might be on a locked down corporate network. Gratuitous ARP can further be used to execute denial of service, man in the middle and MAC flooding attacks. None of which have particularly pleasant outcomes, especially in a cloud environment where such attacks would be against shared infrastructure, potentially impacting many tenants.

Thus cloud providers are understandably leery about allowing network elements to willy-nilly announce their own IP addresses.

That said, most enterprise-class network elements have implemented protections against these attacks precisely because of the reliance on gratuitous ARP for various infrastructure services. Most of these protections use a technique that will tentatively accept a gratuitous ARP, but not enter it in its ARP cache unless it has a valid IP-to-MAC mapping, as defined by the device configuration. Validation can take the form of matching against DHCP-assigned addresses or existence in a trusted database.

Obviously these techniques would put an undue burden on a cloud provider's network given that any IP address on a network segment might be assigned to a very large set of MAC addresses.

Simply put, gratuitous ARP is not cloud-friendly, and thus it is you will be hard pressed to find a cloud provider that supports it.

What does that mean?

That means, ultimately, that failover mechanisms in the cloud cannot be based on traditional techniques unless a means to replicate gratuitous ARP functionality without its negative implications can be designed.

Which means, unfortunately, that traditional failover architectures – even using enterprise-class load balancers in cloud environments – cannot really be implemented today. What that means for IT preparing to migrate business critical applications and services to cloud environments is a careful review of their requirements and of the cloud environment's capabilities to determine whether availability and uptime goals can – or cannot – be met using a combination of cloud and traditional load balancing services.

Read the original blog entry...

About Lori MacVittie
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.

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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV


Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
In this Cloud Expo Keynote, Danny Sabbah, CTO & General Manager, Next Generation Platform, will detail the critical architectural considerations and success factors organizations must internalize to successfully implement, optimize and innovate using next generation architectures.
Lisa Larson, Vice President of Enterprise Cloud Solutions of Rackspace Hosting Live From New York City
In the old world of IT, if you didn't have hardware capacity or the budget to buy more, your project was dead in the water. Budget constraints can leave some of the best, most creative and most ingenious innovations on the cutting room floor. It's a true dilemma for developers and innovators – why spend the time creating, when a project could be abandoned in a blink? That was the old world. In the new world of IT, developers rule. They have access to resources they can spin up instantly. A hybrid cloud ignites innovation and empowers developers to focus on what they need. A hybrid cloud blends the best of all worlds, public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers to fit the needs of developers and offer the ideal environment for each app and workload without the constraints of a one-size-fits-all cloud.

Keynote: Driving Cloud Innovation: SSDs Change Cloud Storage Paradigm
Cloud is a transformational shift in computing that can have a powerful effect on enterprise IT when designed correctly and used to its full potential. Join Citrix in a discussion that centers on building, connecting and empowering users with cloud services and hear examples of how enterprises are solving real-world business challenges with an architecture and solution purpose-built for the cloud.

Go Beyond IaaS to Deliver "Anything As a Service"
Many organizations want to expand upon the IaaS foundation to deliver cloud services in all forms—software, mobility, infrastructure and IT. Understanding the strategy, planning process and tools for this transformation will help catalyze changes in the way the business operates and deliver real value. Join us to learn about the new ITaaS model and how to begin the transformation.


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In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
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Top Stories for Cloud Expo 2012 East

In this Big Data Power Panel at the 10th International Cloud Expo, moderated by Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan, Govind Rangasamy, Director of Product Management at Eucalyptus Systems; Kevin Brown; CEO of Coraid, Inc.; Christos Tryfonas, CTO and Co-Founder of Cetas; and Max Riggsbee, CMO and VP of Products for WhipTail, discussed such topics as: Big Data has existed since the early days of computing; why, then, do you think there is such an industry buzz around it right now? How is Big Data impacting storage and networking architecture in data centers? How about the intersection of Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing - how big a sector is that and why? What's the difference between Big Data and Fast Data? ... (more)

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Cloud Expo New York
[June 11-14, 2012]

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Introducing Big Data Expo
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There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Get a jump on that rapidly evolving trend at Big Data Expo, which we are introducing in June at
Cloud Expo New York.

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Testimonials
Cloud Expo was a fantastic event for CSS Corp - we easily exceeded our objectives for engaging with clients and prospects."
AHMAR ABBAS
SVP, Global Infrastructure Management, CSS Corp.
 
With our launch at Cloud Expo, we successfully transformed the company from a relatively unknown European player into the dominant player in the market. Our competitors were taken by surprise and just blown away. We got a huge number of really high quality leads..."
PETE MALCOLM
CEO, Abiquo
 
We were extremely pleased with Cloud Expo this year - I’d say it exceeded expectations all around. This is the same info we got from partners who attended as well. Nice job!"
MARY BASS
Director of Marketing, UnivaUD
 
Cloud Expo helps focus the debate on the critical issues at hand in effect connecting main street with the next frontier."

GREG O’CONNOR
President & CEO, Appzero


Who Should Attend?
Senior Technologists including CIOs, CTOs, VPs of technology, IT directors and managers, network and storage managers, network engineers, enterprise architects, communications and networking specialists, directors of infrastructure Business Executives including CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, presidents, VPs, directors, business development; product and purchasing managers.


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@CloudExpo Blogs
SaaS companies can greatly expand revenue potential by pushing beyond their own borders. The challenge is how to do this without degrading service quality. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Adam Rogers, Managing Director at Anexia, discussed how IaaS providers with a global presence and both virtual and dedicated infrastructure can help companies expand their service footprint with low “go-to-market” costs.
Continuous testing helps bridge the gap between developing quickly and maintaining high quality products. But to implement continuous testing, CTOs must take a strategic approach to building a testing infrastructure and toolset that empowers their team to move fast. Download our guide to laying the groundwork for a scalable continuous testing strategy.
After many years of research, misfires and frightening Hollywood plotlines, artificial intelligence (AI) is finally coming into its own and beginning to demonstrate significant business value. The combined forces of big data, human expertise and AI are being used across industries as diverse as healthcare and manufacturing, as well as within all aspects of business. IT operations is one area that AI is beginning to contribute to enormously. IT infrastructures are changing rapidly today, particularly hybrid cloud environments. While they are increasingly dynamic and agile, they are also ext...
A data breach could happen to anyone. Data managed by your company is valuable to someone, no matter what the data is. Everything has a price tag on the dark web. It is especially true when it is customer data, such as personal and payment card details. When your customers’ data turns up somewhere unexpected on the Internet, you may feel the world is collapsing around you. People start tweeting about the hack, angry customers phone in, and Brian Krebs publishes his first article. Your organization switches to an emergency mode to handle the situation. It is the time when your incident respons...
This is a no-hype, pragmatic post about why I think you should consider architecting your next project the way SOA and/or microservices suggest. No matter if it’s a greenfield approach or if you’re in dire need of refactoring. Please note: considering still keeps open the option of not taking that approach. After reading this, you will have a better idea about whether building multiple small components instead of a single, large component makes sense for your project. This post assumes that you have experience with software architecture and services (you’ll find some words about my experience...
Tapjoy’s data-driven business of serving 500 million global mobile users - or more than 1.5 million add engagements per day, a data volume of a 120 terabytes - runs with extreme efficiency. The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer big data case study discussion examines how mobile app advertising platform Tapjoy handles fast and massive data - some two dozen terabytes per day - with just two part-time database administrators (DBAs).
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development process, accelerating application delivery times, and ensuring that developers will become her...
IDC estimates that the digital universe is doubling every two years. That means the need for data storage is increasing at the same rate. This exponential demand is no match for traditional vertical-scaling storage architectures. The resulting bottlenecks significantly reduce performance, and trying to store so much data would require prohibitively expensive server scale-out.
Before becoming a developer, I was in the high school band. I played several brass instruments - including French horn and cornet - as well as keyboards in the jazz stage band. A musician and a nerd, what can I say? I even dabbled in writing music for the band. Okay, mostly I wrote arrangements of pop music, so the band could keep the crowd entertained during Friday night football games. What struck me then was that, to write parts for all the instruments - brass, woodwind, percussion, even keyboards - I had to have an overall score to work from. Or at least a sketch of one. Otherwise, I'd ...
IT planning is an imprecise science that allows IT experts to increase the flexibility and agility of IT environments while reducing the bottom line. In an ideal world, where time and budget are not limiting factors, upgrading an organization's infrastructure happens on an ongoing, as-needed basis. In the real world, IT administrators have to make decisions about the hardware they put in place and how to maintain acceptable service levels over the course of the equipment's expected life. Most businesses do not have the luxury of replacing their current storage systems when IT demands outpace ...
Microsoft took another step toward being king of the cloud hill when it announced in January that it was releasing its Azure stack to the public. There are many technical reasons why this is cool, but more importantly, it's the psychological advantage this gives Microsoft. Google has always had the ability for developers using its stack to develop locally on the same tools that run in Google App Engine. It recently forked its environments, so now the local and cloud environments are slightly different for some of the configurations -- I can't tell you how many nights I have lost sleep becaus...
Early adopters of IoT viewed it mainly as a different term for machine-to-machine connectivity or M2M. This is understandable since a prerequisite for any IoT solution is the ability to collect and aggregate device data, which is most often presented in a dashboard. The problem is that viewing data in a dashboard requires a human to interpret the results and take manual action, which doesn’t scale to the needs of IoT.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, 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 today!
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior to VenueNext, he spent over 35 years as a founder, CEO or executive leader of product and engineerin...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Sagi Brody, Chief Technology Officer at Webair Internet Development Inc., and Logan Best, Infrastructure & Network Engineer at Webair, focused on real world deployments of DDoS mitigation strategies in every layer of the network. He gave an overview of methods to prevent these attacks and best practices on how to provide protection in complex cloud platforms. He also outlined what we have found in our experience managing and running thousands of Linux and Unix managed service platforms and what specifically can be done to offer protection at every layer. He o...
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2010west.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2010.
sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo East
cloudcomputingexpo
2010east.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo East
virtualizationconference
2010east.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2009west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualizationconference
2009west.sys-con.com
    GovIT Expo
govitexpo.com
 
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2009.sys-con.com
 

Cloud Expo 2011 Allstar Conference Faculty

S.F.S.
Dell

Singer
NRO

Pereyra
Oracle

Ryan
OpSource

Butte
PwC

Leone
Oracle

Riley
AWS

Varia
AWS

Lye
Oracle

O'Connor
AppZero

Crandell
RightScale

Nucci
Dell Boomi

Hillier
CiRBA

Morrison
Layer 7 Tech

Robbins
NYT

Schwarz
Oracle

What The Enterprise IT World Says About Cloud Expo
 
"We had extremely positive feedback from both customers and prospects that attended the show and saw live demos of NaviSite's enterprise cloud based services."
  –William Toll
Sr. Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
Navisite
 


 
"More and better leads than ever expected! I have 4-6 follow ups personally."
  –Richard Wellner
Chief Scientist
Univa UD
 


 
"Good crowd, good questions. The event looked very successful."
  –Simon Crosby
CTO
Citrix Systems
 


 
"It's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen."
  –David Linthicum
CTO
Brick Group