Improving Web-Scale Networks with Software-Driven Flexibility

A redesign of prospective web-scale networks irons out their wrinkles, automates operations and speeds up responses to preempt network outages.

Jul 31, 2017 2 minute read

Posted by Telco Transformation on July 21, 2017:

The hallmark of prospective global web-scale networks, with heterogeneous applications and multiple clouds, is endemic spikes in application use that degrades their performance. At its worst, the failure of an application has a domino effect on the network and a catastrophic collapse ensues.

A sweeping redesign of prospective web-scale networks irons out their many wrinkles, automates operations and speeds up responses with predictive algorithms to preempt network outages by deploying resources to keep pace with anticipated traffic.

Emergence of web-scale networks

The Twitter Inc.engineering team revealed the details of its redesign for web-scale operations that began following the 2010 World Cup when spikes in traffic disabled its network repeatedly for short periods of time. By August of 2013, Twitter’s infrastructure was robust enough that nothing untoward happened when the traffic surged 20 times over the normal rate during a similar Castle in the Sky event in Japan.

Investments in bandwidth alone are not enough to cope with traffic flows as they are increasing exponentially due to the growth of the Internet of Things, speech, image and video data. Web-scale networks streamline processes to avoid local choke points and to increase the overall availability of the network with optimization.

Software-driven performance improvement

Virtualization and microservices -- along with managed services platforms -- play a critical role in optimizing the network. Microservices are tools to wring out the inefficiencies by aligning processes with data flows to reduce latencies and increase availability in web-scale networks.

"Microservices are focused on building small services that provide a single piece of functionality," said Eric Peffer, cloud consulting practice lead, World Wide Technology. "You string several of these microservices together for more advanced functionality. Platforms such as Kubernetes, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Docker Swarm, Service Fabric and AWS Elastic Beanstalk provide the management and tooling to control the elaborate coordination of the strings of microservices. The data flows are speeded up by abstracting functionality for a series of processes that are aligned to data flows from their source to the destination."

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