September 27, 2013, 2:56 PM — Enterprise infrastructure company Infoblox announced this week that it plans to release a free and open-source software tool called Tapestry aimed at generating a hard measurement of any network's complexity.
The idea is to move beyond simple mapping of the network's switches, routers and wires, and toward a more meaningful index of how complicated it actually is, according to Infoblox. Tapestry rates complexity based on an algorithm created by Infoblox founder Stuart Bailey and University of Chicago professor Robert Grossman, producing a measurement called the Network Complexity Index.
The index should help businesses get a better understanding of how their networks could be made more efficient, as well as a spur to greater SDN uptake.
The Network Complexity Index is "based on endpoint interaction data from network-wide control systems such as [DNS]," Infoblox's statement said. Essentially, it's a measurement of the complexity of network activity, rather than a measurement of its basic nodes.
The algorithm itself, dubbed the Bailey-Grossman Equation, was based originally on something called the h-index, a calculation generally used to measure a scholar's productivity through citations and published papers. Further scholarly details are available here.
Tapestry, which is not officially an Infoblox product, will be distributed via FlowForwarding.org, an open-source community aimed at promoting SDN use via OpenFlow and the Open Network Foundation's specifications. It will be available as a free download next month.
As an SDN application, however, Tapestry requires a control plane and FlowForwarding will provide one of its own, called Loom. Also free and open-source, Loom will be designed to run on white-box hardware, which Infoblox said can be as inexpensive as $300.
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