Trends in Multi-Cloud and Cloud Native Networking

So, for once on this blog I thought I’d leave the “talking” to someone else or, more to the point, someone “elses”.

My old mates at Netevents have soldiered on through this increasingly bizarre, abstract and random period of pseudo-isolation with a series of online events, in place of the physical ones (ooh, er and missus). I wasn’t able to make last week’s event on the subject of the title of this blog; nor could I send my fridge, David Niven style (if you don’t get that reference, Google Monty Python), so I sent some questions instead, one of which got use, thank you, so I am faithfully repeating the transcript here.

It involves the age-old question re: any disruptive tech in IT – how quickly is it being embraced and deployed? In this case, we’re talking cloud-native applications and a general shift to cloud-based everything. “Attending” the event in the form of chairperson and panel were: Analyst Chair: Scott Raynovich, Chief Technology Analyst, Futuriom, Amir Khan, President, CEO & Founder, Alkira, Vijoy Pandey, VP & CTO, Cloud, Cisco and Galeal Zino, Founder & CEO, NetFoundry, the latter being a company I’ve references many times over the past couple of years in this columnesque blog. Please make some allowances for the transcript, which I have tidied to some extent, but not to the point of completely changing the meaning, and I won’t name any sub editors I’ve, er, worked with, at this point, but I shall play the as inobtrusive as possible role of editor or “Ed”…

My question – posed and paraphrased by Scott to the panel was: “In IT we’re always talking about evolution versus revolution. Moving enterprise applications to a cloud native platform sounds more like the ladder, you know, a revolution. What are the realistic timescales for companies trying to make this transformation like what are they doing it overnight, is this something that takes years?  What are your thoughts on that?”

Amir Khan, President, CEO & Founder, Alkira: “So in talking to our customers as they mentioned earlier – very few of them have already abandoned their data centres and are sitting in the public clouds now, and I was surprised that there’s one bank who has done that and, you know, they’re very traditional companies and to have taken on the cloud and made it a corporate priority to digitise and go through that digital transformation and completely sit in the cloud. But the majority of the customers are in some, you know, transition phase where some applications reside in the in the clouds and other applications are still residing on prem, and these are the large enterprises that I’m talking about. If you’re talking about the midsize companies they are a bit more aggressive in certain cases, but in a lot of cases they also lack the expertise, so you have to provide very simple solutions to them, and some applications, you know – which legacy applications will take much longer. So, I would say it all depends upon the type of customer, and what is their internal prioritisation from the internal strategy perspective as to how quickly they will move into the cloud environments and what the newer age companies like ours are, doing is making that transition much easier for these customers to migrate into the cloud and create a seamless experience.”

Scott: “Great. Any other thoughts on this how fast is it happening?”

Galeal Zino, Founder & CEO, NetFoundry: “So, similar to our customers, I would only divide between greenfield and brownfield (for the record, these are not small villages in Surrey: Ed). The reality is, you know, customers don’t make changes just because there’s new technology. It doesn’t matter that we have some great technology for them. What matters to the business – what matters to our customers is: do I have either a new problem to solve, that the old technology simply can’t do at any cost or with quality. Those are the greenfield ones. Those are like multi-cloud IoT edge distributed applications – that continuum of compute that Vijoy mentioned. That’s where we see the adoption first. The brownfield is more difficult as the question implied. There’s existing people processes culture systems, etc. That’s a gradual evolution over time. So, I would separate that for Scott between the greenfield and brownfield part of that answer.”

Scott: “Makes sense. Yeah, it’s always more complicated in a brownfield environment.  Vijoy thoughts – how fast are we doing this?”

Vijoy Pandey, VP & CTO, Cloud, Cisco: “Yeah, I think I would actually up level that a little bit (no, I don’t know what that means either: Ed) – I mean I know again we are networking people here but customers are actually struggling with the entirety of that transition right, so customers are struggling with applications being broken down into composable elements:  what that does to the infrastructure is what we are talking about here, especially on the networking side. But then what that does to the operational complexity is another element that customers are struggling with because you can’t have a database admin remain a database admin. You have to go towards an SRV (that’s presumably not Stevie Ray Vaughan they’re talking about: Ed) model you have to go towards teams that are responsible for sub-components of an application. So, a database could be thousands of microservices. And I thought it might be responsible for a subset of that. So that entire organisation – the skill set all of that is changing. So, the answer to that question is a little bit more complicated; it’s not just what networking transitions are we seeing, it’s how the cloud native transformation is happening within these organisations and how skill sets and organisational structures are also a part of that. And that is the one that is the most difficult problem to solve.”

Ed Roundup (no, not a gardener specialising in weed killing, but me): Looking at the above, and referencing a reference that I’ve referred to (enough of that; Ed – hold on, I’m typing to myself…) re: London event on migration back in January – Vijoy’s comments on the difficulties being primarily to do with the staff infrastructure within companies and the changing skill sets – i.e. who does what nowadays? – is the most important consideration here. The aforementioned migration event continually fell back into that line of conversation and it is clearly a major concern for enterprises. So, I guess, that makes deciding what the next event should focus on!!!!


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