26 January 2015

SDN linking Cloud with Fog

Fog Computing is (in a sentence) about executing services and storing data (at least some of them) in a “fog” of devices, terminals, machines, etc which are around the Users, at the edge of the current Telecommunication networks. So it’s about extending the Cloud Computing model, with a different density, to the edge.

Main characteristics of Fog Computing include: proximity to Users; highly dense distribution; support for mobility.  Apparently another buzzword, but in reality expression of a much broader technology trend transforming our terminals (smartphones, laptop, tablets, etc) in more and more powerful devices. Imagine also machines, smart-things, robots/cobots, vehicles becoming meta-terminals of the future.

This may have big impacts: Cloud will be soon complemented by the Fog, or even replaced for certain type of applications, when using local data! Also this floating “fog” of devices, terminals, machines at the edge will give rise to new biz models, based on various forms of competition and cooperation between existing Providers, and new ones, entering the arena. And the network – between the Cloud and Fog – will be fully virtualised (SDN-NFV).

So, ideally, it will be possible creating, programming, instantiating or migrating dynamically different types of virtual functionalities and services as well as alternatives of the same. No more ossified architectures. In other words a sort of an ephemeral virtual continuum will have the flexibility of plastically self-adapting to humans’ dynamics. This is the point.

Already today this is acquiring a growing interest in social networking: this is about modelling and predicting the dynamics of groups of people, the viral diffusions of certain ideas or concepts, use of resources, or even the potential adoption of products and ICT services. In other words, it’s about identifying emerging global behaviours, or ways to predict, trigger or incentive masses movements or markets. This will be rewarded directly by the market itself, which will be essential encouragement for further investments.

Imagine also the convergence of Internet and the social attitude of humans: beyond sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, Wikipedia, YouTube there is a broader process to form connections with others, to build groups, to engage communications, to exchange services.  A political message, or a piece of news or a meme, or a service are examples of "things"that can spread from person to person, enterprise to enterprise, etc in an epidemic way: in a while, millions of people can create and destroy ephemeral aggregations.

My take is that “softwarization” should look also this: how a“virtual continuum” of ICT resources could anticipate/adapt plastically to humans’ - and maybe also machines’ – needs and dynamics in the market.