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Service Chaining and Unintended Consequences
Service chaining in a nutshell is basically orchestration of network services

Service chaining is a popular term today to describe a process in the network that's been done in the land of application integration for a long time. Service chaining in a nutshell is basically orchestration of network services. This concept is being put forth as the way future data center networks will be designed and execute in the future.

Its unintended consequence is, of course, that chaining can have a profound impact on performance, particularly when (or if) those chains extend across providers.

Let's consider an existing service chaining example that's challenging for SSL in terms of performance.

The Rest of the "SSL Performance" Story

Now, we're all aware that SSL handshaking introduces latency. It has to because in addition to the already time-consuming process of performing cryptographic functions, it requires additional round trips between the client (browser) and server (or intermediate network proxy acting as the endpoint, such as a load balancer or ADC) to exchange the information needed to encrypt and decrypt subsequent communication.

But that's not all it needs to do. The certificate offered up by the server-side device is increasingly suspect thanks to a variety of incidents in which basically forged certificates were used to impersonate a site and trick the user into believing the site was safe. As the SSL Everywhere movement continues to grow, so has the decision by browsers to properly validate certificates by querying an OCSP (Online Certificate Status Protocol) responder as to the status of the certificate (this is increasingly favored over the use of CRL (Certificate Revocation Lists) to address certain shortcomings of the technology).

What this means is that during the SSL handshake, the client makes a request to an OCSP responder. It's an additional service in the connection chain that adds time to the "load" process. Thus, it needs to be as fast as possible because it's counted in the "load time" for a page, if not technically then from the perspective of the user which, as we all know, is what really counts.

So the browser makes a request to the responder. It does this by choosing a responder from a list of those that support the CA (Certificate Authority, the issuer of the certificate in question). While there are a large number of global CAs, the actual number of global CAs for SSL is fairly small. Thus the responder is almost certainly very large and likely to see billions of requests a day, from around the globe. This "link in the chain" is increasingly important to the overall performance experienced by the end-user. Its impact on mobile users, in particular, is worthy of note given the impact of mobile networks and constrained device capabilities, as noted by Mike Belshe, one of the folks who helped create the SPDY protocol (emphasis mine):

But this process is pretty costly, especially on mobile networks. For my own service, I just did a quick trace over 3G:

  • DNS (1334ms)
  • TCP handshake (240ms)
  • SSL handshake (376ms)
  • Follow certificate chain (1011ms) — server should have bundled this.
  • DNS to CA (300ms)
  • TCP to CA (407ms)
  • OCSP to CA #1 (598ms) — StartSSL CA uses connection close on each!
  • TCP to CA #2 (317ms)
  • OCSP to CA #2 (444ms)
  • Finish SSL handshake (1270ms)

-- Rethinking SSL for Mobile Apps

The emphasized portions of the transaction indicate those related to the certificate verification process being carried out by the browser as a security precaution. Over a non-mobile network, one would expect the performance to improve, but the impact on "regular" browsers should not be underestimated, either. Early last year Adam Langley noted this and proposed to disable OSCP validation in Chrome: .

The median time for a successful OCSP check is ~300ms and the mean is nearly a second. This delays page loading and discourages sites from using HTTPS. They are also a privacy concern because the CA learns the IP address of users and which sites they're visiting.

On this basis, we're currently planning on disabling online revocation checks in a future version of Chrome.

http://www.imperialviolet.org/2012/02/05/crlsets.html

I'll save the security-related arguments for another time, but suffice to say that the impact of service chaining on performance in the case of SSL and certificate validation is significant enough at times to be noticed.

Key Takeaway

Now certainly service chaining in other contexts, say in the data center network, would not experience the same magnitude of delay based purely on the fact that we're talking about LAN speeds rather than what often end up being inter- or cross-continental communications. Still, the very real impact of service chaining, particularly when such chains are comprised of a long string of services, should not be ignored or underestimated. Such chains introduce  additional latency, often in the form of unnecessary, duplicated functions as well as the possibility of failure. Load and utilization monitoring and scaling strategies of individual (dependent) services is a vital to the overall success of any architecture which employs an orchestrated (chained) services strategy.

And while technologies like SDN and cloud offer corrective action in the face of failure, it should be noted that such corrections tend to be reactions to failure. That means at least one user experiences a failure before a correction is made. In some cases that failure will go unnoticed except for a lengthier response time, but the key takeaway there is that it is noticeable.

And when it comes to web application performance, noticeable degradations are not something the business or operations, for that matter, likes to see. Not even for a single user.

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.

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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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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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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..."
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@CloudExpo Blogs
The term DevOps is not well defined, and you'd be hard pressed to get the same definition of "DevOps" from everyone you ask in your enterprise. Developers in your organization may equate DevOps with a specific approach to software builds and the use of popular tools such as Chef, Puppet, Jenkins, Git, and Docker. IT management might see DevOps as a continuation of existing processes with an emphasis on faster time to market and lightweight release procedures. Without a common definition of the term you'll have teams arguing over what is DevOps and what is not DevOps. If your software relea...
DevOps is all about removing barriers to rapid, safe delivery of new experiences to your customers. Much of this revolves around automating error-prone, human-driven processes so that processes can be standardized, scaled, and varied programmatically. Some of the types of tools used in a DevOps-minded organization might include version control systems, automation servers, and configuration management systems. Many tools can be used across categories, with varying amounts of success. Some vendors offer products that claim to address all of these needs with one solution – most rarely deliver on ...

Application experience aficionados take note: you have choices now. No longer are you constrained to just HTTP/1 with a side option of WebSockets or SPDY. HTTP/2 is also an option, one that like its SPDY predecessor brings with it several enticing benefits but is not without obstacles.

In fact, it is those obstacles that may hold back adoption according to IDG research, "Making the Journey to HTTP/2".  In the re...

This is my first blog post at AppDynamics, and I have to say that it’s great to be aboard. It’s been a hectic first couple of weeks, but the energy, enthusiasm and friendliness of everyone I have met has made me very excited about 2015! AppDynamics has a market leading APM and analytics platform but it also takes great people to make a great company – and AppDynamics has a wealth of talent! So to start my blogging life at AppDynamics I want to focus on something that is a red-hot buzzword in IT at the moment – DevOps! For the last couple of years, every conference I attended and nearly every ...
It’s become easy to monitor applications that are deployed on hundreds of servers – thanks to the advances in application performance management tools. But the more data you collect the harder it is to visualize the health state in a way that a single dashboard tells you both the overall status as well as the problematic component. Eugene Turetsky (Dynatrace) and Stephan Levesque (SSQ Financial Group) shared their solution for monitoring large IT infrastructures that contain several hundred components that support SSQ’s most-critical applications running on a variety of technology stacks incl...
A large US insurance carrier, based in the Midwest, has improved its applications’ lifecycle to make enterprise mobility a must-have business strength. This five-part series of penetrating discussions on the latest in enterprise mobility explores advancements in applications design and deployment technologies across the full spectrum of edge devices and operating environments. Our next innovation interview focuses on how a large US insurance carrier, based in the Midwest, has improved its applications’ lifecycle to make enterprise mobility a must-have business strength.
Immutable infrastructure, which I think is more appropriately called disposable infrastructure, has been enjoying a reinvigorated life with the success of Dockers and containerization over the past year. Too, DevOps has played a role in resurrecting the notion of disposable infrastructure with its association with automation and the use of templates to automate everything from the acquisition to configuration to provisioning of, well, just about everything in the application data path.
Creating global change that is actually good for the entire world is a mammoth task. With a population of almost 7 Billion people as of 2015, the planet is taking a toll with surviving the brunt of keeping the works going. What role can Cloud Computing play in making it easier for all of us?
Without question, the rise in cyberleaks, nation-state cyber terrorism and the beach of consumer data across multiple industry domains has led to a heightened awareness of the enterprise and personal responsibilities associated with cybersecurity. The consumerization of IT and the adoption of cloud, mobile and social media by enterprise organizations is opening a new threat landscape and new threat vectors. Everyone is affected and everyone is talking about it, from senior executives to teenagers.
The cloud has transformed how we think about software quality. Instead of preventing failures, we must focus on automatic recovery from failure. In other words, resilience trumps traditional quality measures. Continuous delivery models further squeeze traditional notions of quality. Remember the venerable project management Iron Triangle? Among time, scope, and cost, you can only fix two or quality will suffer. Only in today's DevOps world, continuous testing, integration, and deployment upend the time metric, the DevOps cadence reinvents project scope, and cost metrics expand past software ...
One important differentiator between what passed for digital back in the dot-com days and today’s notion of digital is the role mobile plays. Yes, this company had a mobile site, and they had what the AVP claimed was a “mobile first” plan for their web content, but as yet they had yet to roll out any responsive design. In the final analysis, their digital effort up to this point boiled down to little more than better brochureware, a la 1990s web redesigns. But more significantly, what was entirely missing from their digital achievements (although the AVP did indicate that it was a roadmap i...
Network visibility and access to real-time data surrounding your infrastructure is pretty important, don’t you think? With Boundary, users can identify problems quickly, and ensure their applications and supporting infrastructure are running smoothly and at peak efficiency. We are happy to announce that our integration with Boundary, providers of IT monitoring for DevOps teams, is now available. Getting the Boundary integration up and running is as easy as copying and pasting an API key, which can be found in your VictorOps admin interface. Just click on the Integrations tab and choose ‘Bou...
CIOs are increasingly concerned about cloud security. And they should be: with the recent outbreak of visible breaches at high-profile organizations like Target, Anthem, and others, and the subsequent damage they cause, corporations are scrambling to make sure their cloud applications, whether on private, public, or hybrid clouds, are safe. But cloud security is complex. With ephemeral applications and services springing up around multiple data centers, with dozens or hundreds of independent microservices each with their own access mechanisms, with the widespread adoption of virtualization an...
Then I’ve received an LinkedIn email from this woman stating that she had a business proposition for me, and if I was interested, she was ready to explain. She also provided her email that ended in outlook.com. I checked her LinkedIn profile again. Looked legit. She even had a Twitter account with recent tweets in two languages. I responded that I was ready to hear about this business proposition. Next day I’ve received a long email from her explaining how she had a private client named Lewis Fain who initially deposited €19M in their bank and she helped him to grow the wealth to €22M, but...
Do you like the idea of Agile software development, but you don’t think it’s a fit at your organization? Perhaps your enterprise is too rigidly hierarchical, or maybe your projects are too large and complex for Agile? Think again. Agile is well on its way to becoming the standard approach for developing software, even for immense, complex applications for enterprise use. Just ask the United States federal government. That’s the news from this week’s Agile in Government: Mutual Adaptation conference, put on by The Association for Enterprise Information (AFEI), a government IT-focused nonp...
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Past SYS-CON Events
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2011west.sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo East
cloudcexpo
2011east.sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2010west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualization
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