For optimal experience with drinking water, just turn the tap. For electricity, just flip the switch, but ….what about the Network?
This is a picture of me skyp’ing with my parents in India, where I am showing them snow in my back ward. It was an emotional moment for them seeing snow for the very first time in their lives. In just a little while however, the video froze. The network connection coming into my home was just not able to adapt, on-demand to the higher bandwidth requirements of the skype call.
Now envision Hospital Networks, Clinical Data Networks. Telemedicine. When streaming data, voice, video over those networks from bed-side monitors & infusion pumps or a tele-health session with a patient, network threat, latency, a poor quality telehealth video is simply not an option.
One can argue of course, that by physically keeping the clinical networks, separate from the non-clinical there is more controlled sharing and hence less threat of a network attack or a slow-down…however every CIO & a Network Administrator in the room will agree that this is his/her nightmare in terms of Manageability, Scalability, Efficiency, & Costs. Hence, integration is a beautiful thing as long as its done right Performance isolation between different usersSecure & highly-availableGuaranteed and On-Demand Quality of Service for more critical usersFundamentally, we are asking for a network that adapts on-demand to provide the Optimal End-User Experience.
And this trulyis a very interesting time in Networking where multiple different inflection points in Technology are coming together to make that vision a reality. If the Network were to be Homer, this would be the beginning of its Apotheosis from the dumb fat pipe that it used to be as it write its own Epic in Networking with the aid of a paradigm-shifting technology called Software-Defined Networking.
Seeing is believing, and we have put together a demo of an application of Software-Defined Networking called Medelight. As you walk in to the hospital with this app on your tablet or smart-phone, it will sense and authenticate who your are – doctor, admin or guest, curve out multiple network slices from the same physical network each with its own quality-of-service guarantees and finally connect the right user to the right resources over the right network slice. In the demo we will emulate a particularly bored guest who is streaming a lot of You Tube over the Hospital Network. You will see that other guests on the network will experience a significant slow-down while the doctor or admin network will experience no slow down at all.
This is our demo set-up. The application is running on an Android Tablet. An end-user – doctor, admin or guest is given access a resource emulated by a virtual machines – a doctor VM, an admin VM or a guest VM. Each VM is servicing an mp4 video via apache web service. The access to the VMs is over the 3 switch network emulating a hospital network. Each user is authenticated via a wireless AP using 802.1x authentication mechanism. A guest access to the network requires no authentication. After the AP has authenticated the user, it communicates that to the centralized OpenFlow Controller designed by Big Switch. BigSwitch programs our switches running OpenFlow 1.0 to create the network slices with the right QoS over the same physical path. At this point the android tablet is able to stream a video that the user is authorized to access. A doctor user can stream the video from the doctor VM and the guest VM but not the Admin VM. A guest user can only stream the video from the guest VM. We use IXIA to bombard traffic on the guest network slice and display the topology and network flows using HyperGlance tool. The scenario we depict is that a doctor authenticates himself over the network, he then stream the video both from the doctor VM and the guest VM. We then bombard traffic on the guest network slice. This slows down the video on the guest network slice but doesn’t impact the video on the doctor slice.
A very interesting time in Networking, where we are in the middle of multiple technology inflection points. In this talk we will share some thoughts on the future of Networking when we take some of these inflection points coming together.
If you look at what we have in the networking industry – we are in a very similar situation as the mainframe market back in the 1970s including being at the beginnings of a major transition. Networking for the most part consists of specialized HW, control planes (IOS, Junos) and specialized features (CDP) . The broader market is essentially tightly integrated and closed.With the evolution of the merchant switching chips and the drive to scale we are starting to see a lot of activity in the SDN market especially in the open protocols and network application market. Companies readying themselves for the next transition that is occurring in this market - a large number of startups and acquisitions in the market. Most industry experts are expecting large amounts of innovation in this market. Its going to be an exciting time.
Policy Optimized Healthcare Networks - US Ignite Application Summit 2013