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HPE Discover 2015: High level intents should coexist: a path forward for the Cloud



Discover blog banner.jpgBy Curt Hopkins, Managing Editor, Hewlett Packard Labs

Sujata Banerjee is leading a discussion forum at HPE Discover 2015 in London called, “DF6654 - A Hewlett Packard Labs conversation; specify, compose, deploy network policies in NFV, cloud, SDN.”

Banerjee, a distinguished technologist and research scientist at Hewlett Packard Laboratories, is a member of the Networking and Mobility Lab. She and her colleagues have identified a current limitation in how cloud providers and tenants (those who possess virtual machines on that cloud) communicate their requirements to one another or down to the infrastructure.  Typically, these requirements are specified in a low level infrastructure specific manner.

To mitigate the complexity of managing cloud and related technology, there is a strong push towards decoupling high level intent (the what) from the underlying infrastructure implementation (the how). “I want to place my web application on the cloud,” she said. “I want to load balance the user requests to the web servers. But there’s no ‘intuitive’ way to communicate that high level intent to the cloud.”

Sujata.JPGCurrently, Banerjee said, an SQL-like programming language is available for this type of “negotiation.” But it requires that you learn and write a complex query language to express the intent. In effect, it enforces a kind of folksonomy, which means you are still likely to wind up speaking a different language from your tenants.

If you wind up with thousands of virtual machines on a cloud, your choices boil down to shrugging your shoulders, or paying attention to each machine on a nuts-and-bolts level, something for which almost no one has the patience, time, or money.

“Intent should be intuitive to use and be composed and expressed through multiple domains!” said Banerjee.

So Banerjee and her colleagues have developed an alternative, a system that anyone can use – up to and including someone building on OpenStack – that automatically creates logical names for various infrastructure resources and their attributes. Users can intuitively express their intents in terms of the logical names. 

In other words, Banerjee and her group have designed a usable, intuitive way to express intent in different directions across all domains. It’s the computing equivalent of Star Trek’s universal translator. 

Learn more at HPE Discover 2015. Sujata Banerjee’s Discussion Forum, “DF6654 - A Hewlett Packard Labs conversation; specify, compose, deploy network policies in NFV, cloud, SDN,” will take place on Tuesday, December 1, between 10:30 and 11:00 AM in Discussion Forum 2.

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Managing Editor, Hewlett Packard Labs