Internets of Interest for 21st April 2012


Collection of useful, relevant or just fun places on the Internets for 21st April 2012 and a bit commentary about what I’ve found interesting about them:

RFC 6307 – Encapsulation Methods for Transport of Fibre Channel Traffic over MPLS Networks – I’m speechless. FibreChannel over MPLS ( which runs over IP over Ethernet over SDH || SONET in most cases) is way to sweat old assets for carriers. Wrong in several directions at the same time and proving that dumb ideas will always have their day in the sun:

MPLS networks can be provisioned and operated with very low loss rates and very low probability of reordering, making it possible to directly interconnect Fibre Channel ports over MPLS. A Fibre Channel pseudowire (FC PW) is a method to transparently transport FC traffic over an MPLS network resulting in behavior similar to a pair of FC ports that are directly connected by a physical FC link. The result is simpler control processing in comparison to FCIP.

That’s a very big “can be provisioned“. Note that the only advantage over FCIP is lower control overheads – the downside is plenty of revenue opportunities for unsuspecting customers who could easily be duped into thinking that this is someway better than using FCIP. FCIP has better resilience, visibility, works with WAN accelerators, is compliant with existing MPLS services and requires only latency guarantees from the carrier. FCoM will need latency guarantees from your carrier (who you cannot trust as a general principle) and you will lose all visibility into the network. Not good.

The Sad State of Data Center Networking – Cloud Toad escapes from his research pond again. I swear we improved the security since last time we spoke :

Something about next-generation Data Center networking has been bothering me lately. For a while now, there has been this nagging sensation somewhere in the back of my mind telling me that its just not adding up. While I was at Network Field Day 3, I was able to connect some of the dots and form a picture of what it is thats been scratching away in my mind.

I, Cringely » Blog Archive How to fix IBM in a week – Cringely on technology – Cringely is talking about how IBM outsourcing is a negative outcome in the long term. Personally, I’ve seen a number of outsourcing contracts being terminated and brought back inhouse after serious offshoring failures with big IT companies so there is some factual basis here.

Mostly, though, I like his checklist for what managers should be checking about their IT Infrastructure. It is really comprehensive and within the capabilties of senior executives. Worth reading.

the origin of the <blink> tag –

The bar was the St. James Infirmary and it had a 30 foot wonder woman statue inside among other interesting things. At some point in the evening I mentioned that it was sad that Lynx was not going to be able to display many of the HTML extensions that we were proposing, I also pointed out that the only text style that Lynx could exploit given its environment was blinking text. We had a pretty good laugh at the thought of blinking text, and talked about blinking this and that and how absurd the whole thing would be.

Some ideas don’t need alcohol to get started but hey, bad ideas usually start somewhere. Great war story.

Browser extensions, bookmarklets and PDF help files – DEVONtechnologies – Devonthink ( The tool I use for knowledge management) has published their manuals in ePub format. Which is cool for me. I use Bookle to read them instead of the using Preview. I’m not sure why this impresses me, but it seems easier to read.

Google describes its OpenFlow network – EETImes writes about Google at the ONS2012 conference where they talk about their SDN/OpenFlow enabled network for managing their WAN. Probably signals the death of MPLS TE.

HP Blogs – The Beginning of the End for CLI? Introducing IMC … – The HP Blog Hub – HP is orchestrating the network with their IMC Management platform. This is good news because the alternative of using HP OpenView is unusable in my opinion. HPOV is a multimillion dollar solution and we need practical answers today and HP IMC looks like practical and useful management platform for networking

With IMC’s VAN Manager, we can envision a world without CLI.  Through IMC’s ability to orchestrate and automate networks, the scale by which we measure the deployment of applications will change. Instead of using weeks, now minutes can be used. Is this the beginning of the end for CLI? I think so.

[nvo3] Draft NVO3 WG Charter

Draft charter from the IETF for yet another tunnelling protocol for software switches in virtual hypervisors ( also called overlay networking). After the proprietary innovation such as VXLAN, NVGRE, vCDNI etc comes the standards based initiatives.

Enter the whining from server admins who haven’t had to work with standards before who are confused by all the virtual switching tunneling protocols – VXLAN, NVGRE, vCDNI, STT and now NVO3.

US slams Australia’s on-shore cloud fixation | Delimiter – Australian Government is blocking the use of offshore cloud business for privavcy fears (meaning the US government wants to get access to the data)

The United States’ global trade representative has strongly criticised a perceived preference on the part of large Australian organisations for hosting their data on-shore in Australia, claiming it created a significant trade barrier for US technology firms and was based on a misinterpretation of the US Patriot Act.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), recently released “The 2012 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE),” that surveys significant foreign barriers to US exports. The issue of cloud computing was a major barrier, it was felt.

Currently my view is that US Government intervention in legal cases (which are usually done on correct grounds, but some are not) is slowing Cloud adoption and will cause geographical splits.

Big Switch’s Open Invocation | Twilight in the Valley of the Nerds – I don’t agree. OpenFlow is barely ready for study purposes in University papers. Mainstream adoption is still a long way off.

But time, as always, is a critical factor. Big Switch must establish and maintain market momentum, providing evidence of customer wins as early and as often as possible. It’s about inertia and perception, which tend to feed off one another. The company that makes perceptible progress will be well placed to make further perceptible progress, but the company that is seen to stumble shortly after leaving the gate might never recover.

  • Brad C.


    On Big Switch, just to clarify, I think the strategy they’re pursuing is the only one that will give them a fighting chance — they need an ecosystem to form around their controller — but, as I wrote in my post, I also think they’ll have a difficult time capturing the hearts and (especially) minds of enterprise buyers. 

    It’ll be a tough slog for them. Thanks for the shout out. 

    Best Regards,

  • Julien Goodwin

    “FibreChannel over MPLS ( which runs over IP over Ethernet over SDH || SONET in most cases)”

    You know better then that.

    MPLS runs over the raw L2 protocol, so either Ethernet or PPP (for SONET/SDH), sure the control plane runs over IP, but you’re not paying the cost of that in the data plane.

    Also SONET/SDH is pretty much dead, with 40g [OC768] essentially stillborn, 100g Ethernet is clearly the transport of the future (over DWDM of course)