Tom Nolle
Tom Nolle is the president and founder of CIMI Corporation and the principal consultant/analyst. Tom started his career as a...
Read Full Bio >>

Tom Nolle | May 27, 2015 |


Is the Internet the Model for 'Everynet?'

Is the Internet the Model for 'Everynet?' Perhaps it's time to set aside the Internet model and instead look to a model of networking based on SDN and NFV.

Perhaps it's time to set aside the Internet model and instead look to a model of networking based on SDN and NFV.

Mobility already has driven profound changes in how we use the Internet, and it's in the process of driving changes in how enterprises empower workers. If we add in things like the personal digital assistants -- Siri and Cortana, for example -- and the Internet of Things (IoT), it's hard to see more than a shadow of the "old" days of browsing and searching for content. If things are really changing that much, does that mean the model of networking itself has to change? Are things like software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) going to make today's networking and the Internet "better" or are they going to end up replacing them with something else?

The Internet was a success in no small part because it became what many called "data dial tone," a fabric of connectivity that let any user access any resource. This connectivity has been essential to the World Wide Web and to evolving content and social-media applications. It's also been the source of hacking, denial-of-service, security and compliance headaches; address space problems; and declining operator profit per bit.

We can build the new contextual services, personal agency, and all of what I've called "information populism" on the Internet model, and hope that the benefits of open connectivity aren't overrun by the problems and risks. Or we could try something else. That might sound farfetched given how mature IP and the Internet are, but SDN and NFV do in fact open a new model and this is the time to ask how far the new model could take us.


Think Outside the Tunnel
We already know that NFV can build service features by deploying components onto what effectively are private subnetworks created via SDN. Think of an NFV deployment as a set of features inside a residential LAN -- you can create a gateway in and out but what's inside isn't accessible from the outside. That's essential if we're to keep hackers from attacking pieces of a critical service. It's also useful in building applications.

Imagine a data center with SDN/NFV-based applications, each on its own little private VPN. Now imagine branch offices from which users get tunnels to the application-specific networks they need. They get only what they're allowed to have, and the applications and their data are not accessible except through those little controlled tunnels. A lot of security is now intrinsic.

Mobile services could work similarly. You have a cloud based on private addresses where all kinds of location, social, and IoT data is collected as a bunch of microservices. You also have a personal assistant that lives in that cloud and talks to services over secure pipes. You can tunnel from your mobile device only to that assistant, and that assistant provides you with all your access to information, all your social connections. If the tunnel is secure, you're secure.

Pipe It Down
Enterprises (and service providers) can create this kind of tunneling using what's sometimes called "overlay SDN," the kind of thing Nicira (now VMware) made a name for itself by providing. Everyone gets connectivity from the overlay SDN network, not from the underlying real infrastructure. You can set up as many of these little service- or application-specific overlays as you like. They share common underlying resources, but those resources don't have to provide any universal connectivity. They're just pipes.

Pipes based on what? On agile optics, on groomed Ethernet, on pretty much anything. You could use OpenFlow and white-box gadgets to build pipes that have no direct user connectivity at all. You could also, of course, build them over traditional Ethernet or IP but you'd lose some of the security benefits.

How do the user tunnels get set up? Well, maybe what we do is to link the Domain Name Service (DNS) that decodes our URLs with an SDN controller. Somebody clicks on a URL and the DNS decides if that person is allowed to access the resource the URL represents. We then use the SDN controller to build the tunnels as needed.

This sort of thing is very different from the Internet today, but not as different as it might appear. You can still have universal connectivity; any resource owner could admit the "public" if it wanted. But you could also have resource security and control where needed, because the SDN overlay would only build tunnels for allowed connections. It does no good to fish for resources by scanning IP addresses and ports -- if you're not on the "permitted" list, you don't even see the address of the resource. Mobile apps and personal assistants could also shield us from all of the changes. If you ask Siri for something, do you know how the resources Siri uses are addressed, or care? I doubt it.

We don't have to get to this future in one swoop, either. Overlay tunnels and secure subnetworks can be applied to a single application or service, or to small groups of either. It's likely that the stuff that's most sensitive to security issues would convert first, and then the market would have to decide how far the idea could, or should, be taken.

We're at the point in networking where we can do the same things we do today, only differently and in many ways better. This is the time to ask whether exercising those capabilities makes sense for users, for over-the-top providers, and for operators. We have time and the opportunity to change.

Related posts:

Follow Tom Nolle on Google+!
Tom Nolle on Google+


March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.