Plexxi Data Services Engine

Derick “Cloudtoad” Winkworth presented to us another gem from the vaults of Plexxi. Previously with Juniper Derick has presented on Development Operations (DevOps) and “How to navigate out of the broccoli forests of despair” which gained much traction within the community.  DevOps is designed to enhance workflows by building context and metadata combined with pro-active application integration and a dash of automation. By gathering information from the network, compute and application nodes DevOps can imprint business intelligence on to the data centre fabric.

Plexxi views DevOps to be from the ground up an operational tool that is aided by strong metadata. This has led the development of the Data Services Engine (DSE) that aims to standardize and normalize the vast quantities of information present within a data centre. Take the image below for an example and note the various tools that have unique articles of information relating to the Node webserver-16.Four different technologies – OpenStack, Plexxi, sFlow, and Chef – all have different information but nothing glues and binds them together.


After spending a little time in a architecture role you gain insight into what executives need and what and this is coupled with the knowledge of what you have. Systems that talk different languages – input in one language output as another. Devices that integrate based on dependencies due to legacy or unplanned growth. DSE breaks this down and delivers a common operating picture.

This normalization and standardization is where an Enterprise Services Bus (ESB) allows for a common operating language to ensure inter-operability.  In a virtual environment you abstract a homogeneous environment from heterogeneous systems and with the DSE you can have a homogeneous communication system from heterogeneous systems.

Imagine pushing configuration to a firewall through DSE. Picture a request from a hypervisor to enact a rule change based on new communication. Two different languages being ‘massaged’ by DSE. I see this as clever parsing, automation, and a dash of Skynet rolled into one. I think we are only glimpsing what is behind the beard at Plexxi.

There is an element of facemelting behind Derick’s beard.

DSE is going to be open-sourced and Plexxi are committed to this. There was a round of applause of peppered the live stream. Exciting times are ahead and Plexxi has brought an element of cool to the party. Couple this with their Photonic data centre and my oh my I wish I had shares! Plexxi is going places.

Disclaimer: I attended Networking Field Day 6 as a delegate, but was not compensated to attend. I am free to write (or not write) about any of the presentations as I see fit without fear of censorship by the vendor or Tech Field Day. My general disclaimer is here

I also won a Star Wars Lego X-Wing. “Lock S-foils in attack position.”


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