Reinventing the internet: How do we build a better network?

In this part of our special report on reinventing the internet, a look at how its growth of the internet, in terms of connected devices, content and its importance, has researchers and analysts searching for new business models and technical ways to improve the network.

Today in Cloud

Networks. The basic plumbing that connects servers to storage, data centers to desktops, and web sites to the world is possibly the piece of the infrastructure puzzle that attracts the least attention. Since blue books and pink books and rainbow books went away (I may have made one of those up; it was a long time ago), the protocols and hardware have — at least from the outside — appeared to bed down pretty well, and just get on with the job of shipping packets from A to B. Recent developments, especially in the area of open source, appear to be shaking things up a bit, and some of this fresh activity has spilled over and begun to attract the attention of those outside the networking community. OpenFlow, for example, has been discussed on GigaOM for a while, and InformationWeek takes a look of its own today in which it describes the protocol as “the biggest thing since ethernet.” Elsewhere James Urquhart discusses the importance of the network to the cloud, and to efforts such as OpenStack. Might the world of networking be heading for a shake-up?