Many in the SDN world have been tracking the happenings of Plexxi and recently at a Network Field Day I had an opportunity to catch up on what they’ve been doing with the Data Services Engine (DSE). What I heard had be intrigued and excited to continue watching their progress.
What’s New With DSE
What I gained most from the presentation by Nils Swart, Director of Product Management, was that integration with API’s has been a huge part of what they’ve been working on. One point that he mentions in his presentation was the integration with HipChat. I have to admit that I didn’t quite get it at the time. Why integrate DSE with HipChat? What do I care about a chat program when I’m really concerned with the network? Well, that’s where it got interesting for me.
In my last post on DSE I discussed how Affinity Groups contain a great deal of information about data on the network, and that these affinity groups relate to the policy applied to a conversation. Communication between two devices in the network can be treated in a specific way using Affinity Links. Populating the affinity groups manually doesn’t scale, and this is where DSE comes in. DSE keeps certain information in a state that can be referenced by the Plexxi controller.
Now let’s fast forward to our recent presentation by Plexxi and the integration with HipChat. So HipChat has a number of integrations with applications such as Chef, Google Apps, Zapier, and ZenDesk. So how do any of these integrations have anything to do with the network and using it with DSE. Well there are two reasons pointed out by Nils.
- DSE can send information to a HipChat group, thus using HipChat as a window into what DSE is doing.
- DSE could potentially key off of anything that one of these integrated services sends to a room.
The second point has some interesting applications. Imagine a ZenDesk ticket being submitted for a certain network element and sending notification to a HipChat group. DSE then taking information from ZenDesk and performing something meaningful in the form of troubleshooting, be it a calculation of path, QoS details, or something to that effect, and then reporting it back to the HipChat room. That’s where I think you end up with some really cool actions being taken. Sky’s the limit when we start thinking in terms of a developer and not just a static network. The network now becomes something of a resource that can be utilized by and called by an application.
Seeing what can be done with HipChat as an intermediary to DSE made me wonder what else could be done with HipChat. Some things I found interesting were the integration with Google Apps, specifically email.. Another point of interest is the integration with Zapier. I decided to create my own integration with Zapier so I created a Zap that will change the name of an open chat room to my most recent post. This chat room is open to the public so if you want to discuss or just drop by to say hello you are welcome to. You’ll find the room here: https://www.hipchat.com/gAdFdMWkO
I don’t know that I have much of a Wrap-up other than to say that I really like the things that Plexxi does. They have some really smart people there and a lot of good ideas. As SDN progresses I can still see DSE being a big part of a lot of networks. If you’d like more information about DSE why not watch the video of Nils presenting to the Network Field Day 7 crew. I’m sure you’ll find the capabilities of DSE very interesting to say the least.
Plexxi was a sponsor of Networking Field Day 7. In addition to a presentation, Plexxi may have provided marketing material and a tasty unicorn burger (or happy socks, one of the two.). At no time did they ask for, nor where they promised any kind of consideration in the writing of this review. The opinions and analysis provided within are my own and any errors or omissions are mine and mine alone. For more information on Networking Field Day, or any other Field Day for that matter, please visit http://techfieldday.com.