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The Human Body and Data Center Automation | @CloudExpo #AI #ML #DataCenter
The nervous system has two components: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system

The Human Body and Data Center Automation - Part 2

Disclaimer: I am an IT guy and my knowledge on human body is limited to my daughter's high school biology class book and information obtained from search engines. So, excuse me if any of the information below is not represented accurately !!

Human body is the most complex machine ever created. With a complex network of interconnected organs, millions of cells and the most advanced processor, human body is the most automated system in this planet. In this article, we will draw comparisons between working of a human body to that of a data center. We will draw parallels between human body automation to data center automation and explain different levels of automation we need to drive in data centers. This article is divided into four parts covering each of body main functions and drawing parallels on automation. This is the second article in the human body series. Please click here for the link for first article

The nervous system
The nervous system is a complex collection of nerves and specialized cells known as neurons that transmit signals between different parts of the body. It is through the nervous system that we communicate with the outside world and, at the same time, many mechanisms inside our body are controlled. The nervous system takes in information through our senses, processes the information and triggers reactions, such as making your muscles move or causing you to feel pain. The closest comparison to nervous system to what is in our data center is the network. Much like the network connects everything together in the data center, nervous system essentially is the body's network system.

The nervous system has two components: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The peripheral nervous system consists of sensory neurons, ganglia (clusters of neurons) and nerves that connect to one another and to the central nervous system. Imagine this as core network (central) and data center network (peripheral). However, what is so fascinating about our nervous system is the way it works. Let's take a deep dive inside our body and learn how can we make our networks more efficient.

Image Source: Livescience.com

The nervous system has two main subdivisions: the somatic, or voluntary, component; and the autonomic, or involuntary, component. The autonomic nervous system regulates certain body processes, such as blood pressure and the rate of breathing, that work without conscious effort. It is constantly active, regulating things such as breathing, heart beat and metabolic processes. It does this by receiving signals from the brain and passing them on to the body. It can also send signals in the other direction - from the body to the brain - providing your brain with information about how full your bladder is or how quickly your heart is beating.

Now can you think what system in our data center comes close to autonomic nervous system? It's our monitoring system. The function of monitoring system in data center is to monitor health of various components(hardware/software) in our data center and alert us when the thresholds are breached or an error has occurred. In most of the modern data centers today there is some tool which does this job. Alerts and error logs are collected at all layers and once an error has occurred or particular KPIs crosses certain threshold, an event is generated and humans are notified to take action. However, where the human body defeats any modern monitoring system is ability to take autonomic actions based on situation. Let's imagine you on a treadmill and running. When you are running and as the heart rates goes up, the brain is not just sending out alerts to you indicating your heart rate is going up but it also taking appropriate actions to ensure the body continues to function. The first action is to breakdown glycogen, a form of glucose to give you extra dose of energy.

The second action is to draw more blood towards your muscles which are under stress and away from non-needed functions like digestion (unless you are eating while excising). Since the body needs more oxygen for your muscles it signals your lungs to intake more oxygen and hence your breathing rate goes up. As the body burns more glucose and your body heats up, your brain sends signals to your sweat glands to release moisture to keep the body cool and hence maintains temperature inside the body. All these actions without you telling your body what to do to keep you healthy. Only if the thresholds crosses beyond certain rate and your body is not able to fix you, it will signal us to take action like resting or slowing down. This is exactly how our monitoring system should work. However, what happens in most of the enterprise is a sorry state of affairs.

Let's consider a very common issue most of the enterprise faces - a performance issue. Consider that the mission critical business application running on your server is experiencing performance issues and the users are complaining. In a typical organization, an application user will do first level analysis and based on his/her analysis he will open an incident ticket with command center. Everyone from systems engineer, storage engineer, network engineer and specialized performance engineers are paged to figure out what's happening. Hours are spent to detect where in the fabric there is contention which is leading to performance issue. Once the issue is detected another few hours are spent to finalize the action plan and finally the fix is put in place. Sounds familiar.

Now imagine we can learn from our human body and can design our data center in such a way that the system should automatically detect something is going wrong in the fabric and find out where in the fabric there is issue. Once the issue is detected it identifies appropriate fix and implements the fix. If the system detects performance issue is because of underlying CPU constraint on one of the VMs, the system should either scale up CPU capacity on the VM or automatically horizontally scale the application by adding another VM or container. If the issue was detected at network level, system should be in a position to move entire VLAN to another healthy leaf switch. If the issue happened at DC level, the system should automatically fail over all the impacted applications to another DC. While some of the modern cloud native applications works in similar fashion, the same level of maturity is not seen in traditional applications.

The somatic system consists of nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord with muscles and sensory receptors in the skin. The voluntary nervous system (somatic nervous system) controls all the things that we are aware of and can consciously influence, such as moving our arms, legs and other parts of the body. The nerves (like the network cables in our DC), starts at the brain and central cord and branches out to every part of our body. Neurons (intelligent code) send signals to other cells though thin fibers called axons, which causes chemical known as neuro transmitter to be released at junctions called synapses. A synapse gives command to the cell and the entire communication takes a fraction of a second. Such is the speed of transmission in our human body that our fastest router in the world cannot come close to this.

Let's take an example. Imagine someone tapping you lightly on your shoulder and your immediate reaction is to turn around and see who is doing that. The sensory neurons (cells) on our shoulder transmit the signals to your brain via the nerves at such a fast pace that you immediately react. Now imagine someone tapping at your shoulder and it takes few seconds to a minute for your body to react to the signal J . The way our body reacts to various form of sense (touch, smell, taste, etc.) and the fact we don't have to manage every action indicates how advance is our body's automation system. The body sensor systems are like the sensors in our data center. The role of sensors is to collect the data and send it for further processing. While we have lot of maturity to collect data what we lack is how fast can we analyze the data to take appropriate action. This is where our Brain checkmates even the fastest of all computers including IBM Watson. Our brain is a combination of Big Data system, e.g., Hadoop, the intelligence of IBM Watson and fastest super compute in the world all combined into one. Let's look at our brain.

Image Source: diseasespictures.com

Brain - Our Brain is the intelligence of our body. It controls all actions in our body. It acts as both CPU and memory for our body and without brains you are almost like walking zombie who has no control of his or her actions. Inside the data center, CPU/Memory inside our servers combined with the software which runs on top of these acts like brain. However, we are still far to match the amount of computing capacity our brain has and more important the learning and intuitive capabilities our brain has.

The fastest supercomputer in the world is China's Sunway Taihulight  and has a maximum processing speed of 93 petaFLOPS. A petaFLOP is a quadrillion (one thousand trillion) floating point calculations per second. Still this does not come close to processing speed of the human brain. It is postulated that the human brain operates at 1 exaFLOP, which is equivalent to a billion billion calculations per second. While the hardware which is, the muscular structure can be compared with chip set we have in our computers, it's the software which makes the difference.

Our brain controls the nervous system, the muscular system and other vital parts of our body. It also has tremendous learning capability. When a child is born, our brain is almost empty but is in a learning mode. It quickly learns how to interact with the outside world and starts to read data from the sense organs. This is how we react to taste, touch and sound. As we grow we learn how to talk, write and communicate. We learn how to walk, run and jump! In the software world, we call it as AI - Artificial intelligence. Humans have been trying for centuries on how to develop brain like self-learning capabilities and while we now have self-driving cars which is pushing the envelope, we are still far away from truly matching our brain's power.

Now the brain cannot work out of isolation. It gets all the data it needs from our sensory organs - eyes, nose, tongue. We interact with the world with the help of our sensory organs. Eyes gives us visual data , nose gives us smell related data while the tongue allows us to taste. Do you know that our tongue alone has millions of sensors which allows to distinguish various tastes from sour to sweet and from hot to cold! Imagine the status of all restaurants if we did not have these sensors. On the other hand, our nose has sensors to not only detect various smell but also acts as a self-defense organ.

In our data centers, we need similar capabilities. Inside the compute, we have sensors which tells us that the filesystem is getting full or inside the router we can tell if we have packet drops happening. We name them as alerts and in a given day millions of alerts are generated by all the systems running in an enterprise. The difference here is what do we do the alerts? If every alert is dependent on human to take manual intervention it will be as good as our tongue telling you that the coffee you are drinking is very hot and waiting for an action to be decided by you on whether you should stop drinking. Your tongue sends alert to your brain, your brain processes information and decides it's too dangerous and immediately takes action to control your actions. Now you may still drink it cause harm but the body takes immediate action to prevent the harm.

Similarly, with the alerts coming from our systems, we need to develop systems which can take immediate actions (self-heal) and not wait for human intervention all the time. If the filesystem is full, take immediate action to detect and fix what is causing it to be full. If the security intrusion detection system has detected malicious emails, block the emails immediately. If network port is dropping packets, isolate the port and move traffic to alternate port. The more autonomic actions we can take, the better we will be in managing our data center.

To summarize here's what we need in our data center: L-C-C-A

  • Lightning fast network of intelligent sensors across the data center stack
  • Central monitoring system which can monitor alerts/error logs at all layers from application down to the server
  • Co-relation engine which can correlate various alerts and error logs and pin points where in the data center there is issue
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) capable run-book automation engine which can trigger autonomous action (self-heal) based on the issue identified and implements the fix

In our next article on human body and data center automation we will focus on our circulator system which is responsible for flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients in our body and we will learn how our data center should learn from same. Until next time.

About Ashish Nanjiani
Ashish Nanjiani is a Senior IT Manager within Cisco IT managing Cisco worldwide IT data centers as an operations manager. With 20 years of IT experience, he is an expert in data center operations and automation. He has spoken in many inter-company events on data center automation and helps IT professionals digitize their IT operations. He is also an entrepreneur and has been successfully running a website business for 10+ years.

Ashish holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Electronics and a Masters in Business Administration. He is a certified PMP, Scrum master. He is married and has two lovely daughters. He enjoys playing with technology during his free time. ashish.nanjiani@gmail.com

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Solgenia

LOPEZ
Kurento

KIM
MapR

BROMHEAD
Instaclustr

LEVINE
CytexOne

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

GORBA-
CHEV

Intelligent
Systems

THYKAT-
TIL

Navisite

TRELOAR
Bebaio

SIVARAMA-
KRISHNAN

Red Hat
Cloud Expo New York All-Star Speakers Included

DE SOUZA
Cisco

POTTER
SafeLogic

ROBINSON
CompTIA

WARUSA
-WITHANA

WSO2 Inc

MEINER
Oracle

CHOU
Microsoft

HARRISON
Tufin

BRUNOZZI
VMware

KIM
MapR

KANE
Dyn

SICULAR
Basho

TURNER
Cloudian

KUMAR
Liaison

ADAMIAK
Liaison

KHAN
Solgenia

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

SUSSMAN
Coalfire

ISAACSON
RMS

LYNN
CodeFutures

HEABERLIN
Windstream

RAMA
MURTHY

Virtusa

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE MENO
CommVault

GRILLI
Adobe

WILLIAMS
Rancher Labs

CRISWELL
Alert Logic

COTY
Alert Logic

JACOBS
SingleHop

MARAVEI
Cisco

JACKSON
Softlayer

SINGH
IBM

HAZARD
Softlayer

GALLO
Softlayer

TAMASKAR
GENBAND

SUBRA
-MANIAN

Emcien

LEVESQUE
Windstream

IVANOV
StorPool

BLOOM-
BERG

Intellyx

BUDHANI
Soha

HATHAWAY
IBM Watson

TOLL
ProfitBricks

LANDRY
Microsoft

BEARFIELD
Blue Box

HERITAGE
Akana

PILUSO
SIASMSP

HOLT
IBM Cloudant

SHAN
CTS

PICCIN-
INNI

EMC

BRON-
GERSMA

Modulus

PAIGE
CenturyLink

SABHIKHI
Cognitive Scale

MILLS
Green House Data

KATZEN
CenturyLink

SLOPER
CenturyLink

SRINIVAS
EMC

TALREJA
Cisco

GORBACHEV
Systems Services Inc.

COLLISON
Apcera

PRABHU
OpenCrowd

LYNN
CodeFutures

SWARTZ
Ericsson

MOSHENKO
CoreOS

BERMING-
HAM

SIOS

WILLIS
Stateless Networks

MURPHY
Gridstore

KHABE
Vicom

NIKOLOV
GetClouder

DIETZE
Windstream

DALRY-
MPLE

EnterpriseDB

MAZZUCCO
TierPoint

RIVERA
WHOA.com

HERITAGE
Akana

SEYMOUR
6fusion

GIANNETTO
Author

CARTER
IBM

ROGERS
Virtustream
Cloud Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers

TESAR
Microsoft

MICKOS
HP

BHARGAVA
Intel

RILEY
Riverbed

DEVINE
IBM

ISAACSON
CodeFutures

LYNN
HP

HINKLE
Citrix

KHAN
Solgenia

SINGH
Bigdata

BEACH
SendGrid

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE SOUZA
Cisco

PATTATHIL
Harbinger

O'BRIEN
Aria Systems

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

BIANCO
Solgenia

PROCTOR
NuoDB

DUGGAL
EnterpriseWeb

TEGETHOFF
Appcore

BRUNOZZI
VMware

HICKENS
Parasoft

KLEBANOV
Cisco

PETERS
Esri

GOLDBERG
Vormetric

CUMBER-
LAND

Dimension

ROSENDAHL
Quantum

LOOMIS
Cloudant

BRUNO
StackIQ

HANNON
SoftLayer

JACKSON
SoftLayer

HOCH
Virtustream

KAPADIA
Seagate

PAQUIN
OnLive

TSAI
Innodisk

BARRALL
Connected Data

SHIAH
AgilePoint

SEGIL
Verizon

PODURI
Citrix

COWIE
Dyn

RITTEN-
HOUSE

Cisco

FALLOWS
Kaazing

THYKATTIL
TimeWarner

LEIDUCK
SAP

LYNN
HP

WAGSTAFF
BSQUARE

POLLACK
AOL

KAMARAJU
Vormetric

BARRY
Catbird

MENDEN-
HALL

SUPERNAP

SHAN
KEANE

PLESE
Verizon

BARNUM
Voxox

TURNER
Cloudian

CALDERON
Advanced Systems

AGARWAL
SOA Software

LEE
Quantum

OBEROI
Concurrent, Inc.

HATEM
Verizon

GALEY
Autodesk

CAUTHRON
NIMBOXX

BARSOUM
IBM

GORDON
1Plug

LEWIS
Verizon

YEO
OrionVM

NAKAGAWA
Transparent Cloud Computing

SHIBATA
Transparent Cloud Computing

NATH
GE

GOKCEN
GE

STOICA
Databricks

TANKEL
Pivotal Software


Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
General Manager of Window Azure
 
How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
Yasser Khan
CEO of @Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Peak_Ten


Who Should Attend?
Senior Technologists including CIOs, CTOs & Vps of Technology, Chief Systems Engineers, IT Directors and Managers, Network and Storage Managers, Enterprise Architects, Communications and Networking Specialists, Directors of Infrastructure.

Business Executives including CEOs, CMOs, & CIOs , Presidents & SVPs, Directors of Business Development , Directors of IT Operations, Product and Purchasing Managers, IT Managers.

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SYS-CON Media has a flourishing Media Partner program in which mutually beneficial promotion and benefits are arranged between our own leading Enterprise IT portals and events and those of our partners.

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@CloudExpo Blogs
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogger and is a frequent speaker on the use of Big Data and data science to power the organization's key ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Dez Blanchfield joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Dez is a strategic leader in business and digital transformation with 25 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries developing strategies and implementing business initiatives. He has a breadth of expertise spanning technologies such as cloud computing, big data and analytics, cognitive computing, machine learning and the Internet of Things.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogger and is a frequent speaker on the use of Big Data and data science to power the organization's key ...
HyperConvergence came to market with the objective of being simple, flexible and to help drive down operating expenses. It reduced the footprint by bundling the compute/storage/network into one box. This brought a new set of challenges as the HyperConverged vendors are very focused on their own proprietary building blocks. If you want to scale in a certain way, let's say you identified a need for more storage and want to add a device that is not sold by the HyperConverged vendor, forget about it. This meant that up to now the HyperConverged vendors were in charge of the requirements.
The cloud wars rage on. The room is full of 800lb gorillas that have been battling over market share and supremacy for several years now. You know who the key players are - Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM – all still standing. Three year ago, Gartner described the market as ‘still evolving and maturing’. However, last year, they described the market as ‘in a state of upheaval’ with many providers shifting their strategies as they struggle to obtain market share.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: implement always-vigilant DNS security
In this presentation, you will learn first hand what works and what doesn't while architecting and deploying OpenStack. Some of the topics will include:- best practices for creating repeatable deployments of OpenStack- multi-site considerations- how to customize OpenStack to integrate with your existing systems and security best practices.
Evan Kirstel is an internationally recognized thought leader and social media influencer in IoT (#1 in 2017), Cloud, Data Security (2016), Health Tech (#9 in 2017), Digital Health (#6 in 2016), B2B Marketing (#5 in 2015), AI, Smart Home, Digital (2017), IIoT (#1 in 2017) and Telecom/Wireless/5G. His connections are a "Who's Who" in these technologies, He is in the top 10 most mentioned/re-tweeted by CMOs and CIOs (2016) and have been recently named 5th most influential B2B marketeer in the US. His social media "Klout"​ score is 81 and rising!
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Jenny Hung, E2E Engineer Manager at Yahoo Gemini, Haoran Zhao, Softw...
"Venafi has a platform that allows you to manage, centralize and automate the complete life cycle of keys and certificates within the organization," explained Gina Osmond, Sr. Field Marketing Manager at Venafi, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also received the prestigious Outstanding Technical Achievement Award three times - an accomplishment befitting ...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Many organizations are now looking to DevOps maturity models to gauge their DevOps adoption and compare their maturity to their peers. However, as enterprise organizations rush to adopt DevOps, moving past experimentation to embrace it at scale, they are in danger of falling into the trap that they have fallen into time and time again. Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before, and we know how it ends: badly.
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science, marketing innovation and future tech.
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Software-defined storage is a big problem in this industry because so many people have different definitions as they see fit to use it," stated Peter McCallum, VP of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.