Network Compute Fabric
Updated: Mar 14, 2020
When you shoot an arrow, one arm is pointing forward, and one arm is pointing back. This is what I keep in mind when I project some technical vision in the future. Technology evolution has a solid line from the past progresses.
Taking few steps back, I remember the exact time when my fascination for technology started, I remember the day, the school, the classroom, when the teacher explained the concept of a “bit” that could hold zero or one. It was amazing, the digit became the sole ingredient we needed to describe and process information.
Few years later I learned about waves and radio transmission, it was so beautiful, mastering the waves was the triumph of the man over nature I thought. I was equally fascinated by that
The unease I felt was that now I had two divide my world in two, one side was about processing, one was about transmission. One side was computing, one was network. Even the universities were training students in one side or the other.
Bringing Compute and Network Closer
The computing concepts entered the networking area and the networking concepts entered the computing and this exchanged continues.
Meanwhile to make use of bits holding to zero and one, we needed registers, transistors, logical circuit, VLSI, chips, hardware abstraction, operating system, compilers, programming languages and tools. On the waves side we needed antenna, modulators, transceivers, circuit switch among other things.
The point was though the movement of computing to the networking side and the movement of network concepts to the computing side.
An earlier entrance of computing for the network was digital signal processing, another was packet switching, internet protocols and lately specialised network protocols.
On the other hand, entrance of concepts of networking in the computing side started the concept of distributed system in computer science, distributed operating systems, client server programming, parallel computing, parallel processing. These were to make the computing more efficient. This is to the level we see parallel processing being the key element of the high performing accelerators.
Edge Compute one step forward
The most recent examples of merge of concepts have been network functions, software define networking, and programmable switches that each have brought more computing into the networks.
These movement are going to continue till we get the perfect combination of computing and networking to achieve the highest performance and ease for the end user, application, and developer.
The notion of edge computing and wide range of activities around that in both industry and academia alike, is a clear sign of the need for better and closer interaction if not merge of these two ingredients of technology based world.