Networking as a Service Beats Not Working as an Alternative...

So, we’ve had number of standalone elements emerge in recent years: cloud, SD-WAN, virtual anything and everything that- together – create what you could readily term a next generation network, as well as SASE players such as Cato Networks with a menu of networking and security options which you can neatly combine to create the bigger picture…

Alkira – AKA the next generation Viptela (as in the Khan boys, formerly of the founding team of Viptela, have leapt from the Cisco mothership and formed Alkira) – are going for a different, all-encompassing approach, in the form of the Network Cloud. If you think of it simplistically as Network as a Service, then that kind of sums it up. Why spend months and years building networks when you can create one in hours onscreen, just using drag and drop, rather than unbox and install, followed by forklift upgrades every few years. I spoke recently at a webinar for a client in the network service management space, and spoke about SPEED being the single most important thought right now. We have no idea where the world is really heading, other than the “Lockdown” series will contain more sequels than Star Wars (the prequels could be fascinating!). So, speed of deployment, speed of change – that “A” word that is oft over-used in modern IT parlance, but is more relevant than ever for businesses right now – AGILITY.

Companies are not simply having to worry about keeping their IT infrastructure – which itself is changing in every shape and form (and ownership) contemporary, but they are readily having to change their entire business, or risk going out of business – as we’ve seen again this week in the UK with major brands falling by the wayside in the retailing world. I’m just glad my mother passed away last year bless her; not sure how she could have coped without Debenham’s sales… So, it’s change or bust for many businesses; making the network a fully-configurable service then has to be a GOOD thing. I can see all manner and means of mergers between technically disparate companies emerging over the next couple of years and beyond and they seek to consolidate to survive. I’ve been involved in such merger scenarios back in the early 90s when one company had Ethernet and the other had Token Ring – that was painful!

In the proverbial nutshell then, here is what Alkira is about, noting that this week it has added cloud to cloud Backbone as a Service to its rapidly developing list of options. This company has achieved more in a couple of years that it used to take a decade for most vendors. I guess that’s a perfect compliment to the service it’s offering! So, the Alkira Network Cloud has been designed to eliminate the traditional network infrastructure, instead allowing companies to deploy a cloud service onscreen, so creating and provisioning fully secure networks – working in tandem with a longstanding client of mine in the security space, Palo Alto Networks – anywhere. Well, it’s currently limited to this planet – I’ll check if universal expansion is on the roadmap. Mars looks quite appealing right now… From OnPrem then, to core and edge DCs, to and via any hybrid, public or multi-cloud infrastructure element, from one laptop screen – that’s the new generation Network as a Service that Alkira has defined. Definitely most interesting! Watch this space…

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