Infoblox Announces Tapestry, an Innovative Open-Source Tool For Measuring Network Complexity

Infoblox (NYSE:BLOX), the automated network control company, today announced Tapestry, an innovative open-source software tool for measuring network complexity, expected to be available next month as a free download through the FlowForwarding.Org project (www.flowforwarding.org).

Stuart Bailey, Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Infoblox, and his research team developed Tapestry as a contribution to the IT community – not as an Infoblox product – that gives businesses a new framework for understanding the complexity of networks and controlling network costs.

Bailey and his long-time research collaborator – Prof. Robert Grossman at the University of Chicago – have developed a formula for complexity that accounts for the number of endpoints on a network and how they interact to perform key business functions, rather than the traditional approach of counting the number of network infrastructure devices such as routers, and mapping the wires that connect them. Bailey and Grossman describe their approach and their equation in an article posted at FlowForwarding.Org.

The Tapestry software, which can be run on virtually any computer or set of computers, harnesses the Bailey-Grossman equation to generate a Network Complexity Index (NCI) number based on endpoint interaction data from network-wide control systems such as the Domain Name System (DNS).

By monitoring changes in NCI data over time, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) can better understand their network’s complexity growth curve and more effectively guide strategic spending on solutions to address increasing network demands.

“For the first time in the history of the networking industry, it is becoming clear that complexity rather than bandwidth is the barrier to network growth,” said Bailey. “Today, discussions about network complexity focus on the tangle of wires and boxes, rather than the relationship of business processes to an increasingly large, dynamic, and shared global IT infrastructure.

“The rapid change in network technology – including virtualization, cloud, big data and machine-to-machine communications – make it essential to look at a bigger picture,” Bailey continued. “We hope Tapestry and the ideas on which the NCI is built will start a vigorous conversation on the future of IT networks. Network complexity is a CIO-level issue that needs to be both quantified and understood.”

Tapestry is designed to be easy to deploy and is expected to be compatible with almost all existing IT networks. A software-defined network (SDN) application, Tapestry will run on a free, open-source SDN control plane from FlowForwarding.org called Loom. Loom in turn will control SDN white boxes, built on inexpensive programmable Ethernet processors and available for as little as $300, to collect the NCI data. These white boxes can be deployed in front of a network’s DNS servers without disrupting existing infrastructure or operations.

Tapestry is also intended to help IT organizations evaluate the potential benefits and gain hands-on experience in moving from hardware-defined networking to SDN. New, low-cost SDN devices can instantly transform themselves from monitors to routers to switchers to firewalls to load balancers as needed. Being able to quantify network complexity for the first time with measurements such as NCI is an early example of how SDN applications may help CIOs cope with the increasing pace of business processes and the movement to virtualized, cloud and software-defined infrastructure.

For more information: http://www.infoblox.com/company/news-events/press-releases/2013/tapestry-open-source-tool-measuring-network-complexity

 

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