UPDATED 11:46 EDT / JANUARY 28 2020


The Game of Cloud 2: The cloudification of networking

Over the past decade, enterprise has been playing “the game of cloud” as digital transformation has swept across every industry and sector. As-a-service has become the expected model. And the demand for agility and speed has driven innovations in infrastructure, compute and even workplace culture.

But as the rest of the world has been swept up in cloud craziness, networking has managed to stay, pretty much, out of the fray. Now the game is moving from its first phase, compute, into the second phase: networking. That means telecoms and networking companies are facing some big changes.

“More and more of the network traffic is moving from the enterprise into the cloud, or to reach the cloud. And that’s changing what’s important in a network. It’s changing how the network’s going to operate,” said Saar Gillai (pictured), an independent board director and chief executive officer adviser and former senior executive at Cisco Systems Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.

Gillai joined John Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, at theCUBE’s Palo Alto studio for a CUBE Conversation on the evolution of networking.

The data center is the cloud; the LAN is the WAN

In a classic data center, the back and forth traffic was, for the large part, confined on-premises. But as businesses adopt cloud-based models, data has became much more mobile.

“You’re seeing the whole traffic pattern change, where your mission-critical network now is from where you are to the public cloud over the WAN. And this is what’s driving the evolution of SD-WAN,” Gillai said.

The network is on the path to becoming automated and software-centric, Gillai predicted: It is the “cloudification of networking.” Defining the term, Furrier tweeted: “WAN is the new LAN; Cloud is the new Datacenter; This changes everything and networking will be at the heart of it.”

“The public cloud itself now has become such a super-compute system that it’s like a massive computer,” Gillai said. “And of course, a massive computer has massive networking.”

Challenges for Cisco

Just as the move to cloud threw challenges to the incumbents in the compute industry, so the ramifications of the shift in networking is going to affect traditional industry giants, such as Cisco Systems Inc.

“The move to cloud-native architectures is mostly a move to public cloud and Cisco, among others, must not be cloud-naïve. It has to remain relevant in the cloud,” Dave Vellante, chief analyst at SiliconANGLE Media Inc.’s sister market research firm Wikibon and co-host of theCUBE, said in a recent analysis.

The first challenge is moving to as-a-service, according to Gillai. And that means adopting a strategy that embraces mergers and acquisitions: “Ultimately, they’re going to have to figure out how to own some networking assets if they truly want to be a player,” he said. “If you want to control the experience, you need to own it.”

Here’s the complete video interview, one of many Cube Conversations from SiliconANGLE and theCUBE:

 Photo: SiliconANGLE

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