If you’ve been following the networking world for a while, you’re probably getting sick of hearing the words cloud and fabric. The former is something of a nebulous term used to describe all manner of strange things. Hosted e-mail, hosted websites, hosted storage, infrastructure as a service (IAAS), software as a service (SAAS), virutal machine hosting, and so on. Every major networking and server player has some sort of cloud-based strategy. Yet, when I think of clouds, I think of the little white fluffy things I put on network diagrams when I denote a section outside my control that I don’t really care about, like a WAN frame relay section or the Internet. So when I hear about providers telling me to move “to the cloud”, I laugh. I think about hosted Hotmail account I’ve had for 13 years. Or the services like Dropbox that I’m starting to use for many things now. But I don’t think of them as cloud services, per se. Just software that is useful.
Fabric is another overused term, especially in the datacenter. Fabric is the term that describes connecting nodes in the network together in a meshed-type of environment, like a rug or a shirt. The resulting output is termed fabric. This term used to be very popular with the storage people back in the day. Now that the storage network has been unified with the server network the term seems to be leaking into our little world.
With all this in mind, I tweeted a little joke a week or so ago:
And then people came out of the woodwork. Someone suggested I make it borderless to be compliant with Cisco’s Borderless Networks initiative. A couple of people told me that I should send them one. Greg Ferro even thought it was a good idea. So, after a little shopping with my wonderful wife this past weekend, we came up with this:
Pretty, isn’t it? I thought the bears added a little something. Also, no stitching on the edges so it really is “borderless”. This is my Buzzword Security Blanket. I’m going to carry it with me everywhere I go. Anytime someone talks to me about “Cloud this” or “Fabric that”, I’m going to curl up with my blanket and wait until all the mean people leave me alone. I think of my nice secure data centers where my packets can cozy up with their Buzzword Security Blankets at night, safe and sound and right where I want them to be, protected from the evil in the cloud. And when someone carries on about the new exciting fabric options in their strategies, I’ll nuzzle my Buzzword Security Blanket against my cheek and remind myself that it’s all the fabric I’m ever going to need.
Who knows? If this takes off, I could do a whole line of baby-themed networking buzzword items. Let me know what you think.