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Infoblox’s open-source tool to measure network complexity
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Infoblox’s open-source tool to measure network complexity 


“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 Stuart Bailey, founder and chief technical officer of Infoblox. “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.” 

Tapestry was designed as an open-source tool for the IT community, not as an Infoblox product. It’s intended to help IT organizations evaluate the potential benefits and get practical experience in moving from hardware-defined networking to SDN. The software can be run on virtually any computer or set of computers, and is 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.

In addition, Tapestry uses an equation created by Bailey and research collaborator professor Robert Grossman from the University of Chicago to measure network complexity. Their Bailey-Grossman equation generates a Network Complexity Index (NCI), a number based on endpoint interaction data from network-wide control systems. The idea is that by monitoring changes in NCI data, CIOs can better understand their network’s complexity growth curve and guide strategic spending on solutions to address increasing network demands.

 

“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,” said Bailey. “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 expected to be available next month as a free download through the FlowForwarding.Org project.

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