Virtualization of the application environment is on every business’ mind. Terms like hypervisors, virtual machines, and software defined [insert your own popular term here: networks|data centers|storage] are being thrown around the technology industry like hot potatoes. While IT organizations focus on virtualizing specific applications, they often forget to see how this component fits into the overall trend to virtualize the entire IT infrastructure.
Everyone is forgetting to virtualize the most important element within the IT environment – the humans. Virtualization through cloud, software defined networking (SDN), and software defined data centers (SDDC) is the latest craze with internet architectures. IT organizations are moving away from proprietary hardware towards common off the shelf (COTS) platforms that can perform a variety of tasks.
The hardware and software have been virtualized, but the “humanware” is racing to catch up to support the capabilities of the virtual infrastructures. Manually manipulating the virtual networks with manual processes is not efficient. Organizations lose much of the benefits of these virtualized application delivery architectures when human-driven manual processes are still used to support them.
In the world of cloud and virtualization, the buzz word of the day is ‘hybrid’. Everyone wants a hybrid cloud environment because they want to get the benefits of the cloud without relinquishing control of their applications and infrastructure. IT departments want the cost savings along with the agility and elasticity that cloud technologies bring, but they are not comfortable with the complete migration of their applications and data to a managed infrastructure.
Today, there are two primary use cases where companies are putting applications and data into the cloud. The difference between the two cases depends on whether it is an existing application or a new one that is being deployed. In the former, there is legacy infrastructure and support that has to be accounted for while the latter provides a greenfield opportunity to create an ideal infrastructure from the start.
Carriers converged on Singapore last week to discuss the state of the industry and plans for 5G. Singapore remained the same as ever. Hot and humid weather dominated the banking and shopping mecca in SE Asia. The global slowdown is being felt there, particularly in the continued slide in housing prices, which peaked here in 2013.
Amid this environment, most major APAC Carriers don’t plan to roll out commercial 5G services until 2020. Highlighting the need for continued technical trials, finding the elusive 5G killer app, and the continuing evolution of 5G standards, the APAC Carriers showed little resolve to push 5G commercially prior to 2020.
In the “Silicon Hills” capital of the deep South, the world of technology movers and shakers descended upon Austin’s Convention Center for Light Reading’s Big Communication Event to discuss the latest disruptive technologies ripe to revolutionize the way we communicate.
Meanwhile, in the streets of Austin, a prickly regulation battle forced ultra-hip transportation companies Uber and Lyft to move their businesses out of the metro area. As a result, community engineers rallied around the clock to create a new app, called Ride-Austin, to fill the void – and reportedly in only 2 weeks’ time! This is only fitting in a startup town like Austin, as modern businesses everywhere are confronted with the reality of offering services to consumers in a nimble, automated, intelligent, dynamic, and virtual manner.
The virtualized networks we build today are millennial networks for millennial expectations. I was talking to someone the other day about how the millennial generation expects instant gratification and rewards on demand. We can watch an entire television series in single night. We can order something online and have it delivered to our door the following day. In a way, we are providing access to applications and data in a similar way through virtualization strategies.
The IT industry is moving towards virtualization and software-defined [insert noun here]. IT architects are realize that management and orchestration systems are required to extract the full benefits of the virtualized architectures. The mobile service providers designed network functions virtualization (NFV) as the standard architecture to bring virtualization and cloud-like functionality to their networks.
Virtualization of existing technologies is an evolutionary step in the development of cloud designs. The cloud is supposed to be an architecture that delivers applications and data in a reliable and fault-tolerant manner. The benefits that we want to derive are not new. We are just applying them to a different business model. We created the cloud to deliver applications and data anytime, anywhere, and to any device. We need to reconfigure existing processes and technologies to support the evolving cloud architecture.
After all the meetings have finished, the jamon has been eaten, Rioja has been drunk and all the world’s Mobile Carriers have returned from Barcelona, what have we learned? And does it fit with what we expected? As predicted, Mark Zuckerberg chided the industry for focusing too much on IoT connections (who would not open new Facebook accounts), but he also spoke about spending more to connect to people in the developing world (who would open new Facebook accounts).
Once again another year has started and the Mobile industry will descend upon Barcelona to discuss the latest trends. There will be the obligatory talks about over-the-top applications. Tech personalities like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will discuss how all people on the planet need a fast mobile Internet. The Tier 1 Carriers will all discuss their plans for 5G. I do, however, expect to see some new themes this year that will add new dimensions to this yearly event.