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How to Avoid the Cloud Trap

by Moderator Moderator on ‎05-11-2017 06:36 PM




Do you ever want something so badly that you might just fall into a trap trying to get it? That cheese looks awfully yum…whack! Oops Smiley Sad




When speed = haste, we blind ourselves to potential pitfalls. One area today of much haste in many enterprise IT organizations is, you guessed it, the move to the cloud. I was visiting a customer today, and I was told a familiar story: Their application team has built a new application proof-of-concept on AWS, and the line of business is going to fund this app to move ahead. The familiar part of the story line is that this was all achieved in X weeks instead of X months. With impressive results, developers are soon pulling the rest of IT to do cloud with an executive push.


Embracing cloud native is a great thing, but doing so with this haste is running right into the palm of AWS’s hand. Not to pick on AWS, this can happen anywhere, but it’s most likely to happen at AWS because they’re the incumbent choice, and there are so many services to help developers deliver something cloud-native quickly.


To developers, these AWS services look like candy to Garfield on halloween. Unsuspectingly, many will never see the trap. Why? Because the lock-in police within the IT organization are patrolling I&O, while the lock-in felons have cleverly gone to work over on the application developers.

 The new lock-in is targeting developers, not infrastructure." 


I often talk about the move to cloud being led by developers and the devops trend; however, I hadn’t put 2 & 2 together quite like I did today with respect to lock-in. Although, I do often preach about how 80-odd percent of enterprises are targeting the hybrid cloud model, and how to make hybrid cloud a true IT platform, there must be portability across clouds, I guess I didn’t see the inverse of that concern.


That brings us to discussing the solution. How to achieve portability and a hybrid cloud IT platform with, less but not absolutely no, lock-in.


First let’s just examine the main public cloud business models for their services.

  1. First, nearly everyone is very familiar with IaaS. It’s offered at almost all big clouds, certainly the main 3.
  2. Then, there is the managed service model, where the cloud provider will usually take the many popular open-source software projects and offer them as individual managed services.
  3. Finally, there are the services that are homegrown or customized by the provider and offered as a service.


This is a decent summary of the main service models, but certainly not the only things that cloud providers can offer. Some other interesting examples include: AWS offers Direct Connect; GCP differentiates with its own high-speed global network to interconnect regions; Azure has the broadest compliance coverage. Anyway, if you understand the 3 models above, you can probably easily grasp what’s coming next… That developers that use customized, homegrown services are clearly locking themselves in the most.




So should you never use these customized cloud services? Of course you should if it is really worth it, but do it consciously. Obviously, services that are unique prevent apps that touch them from being very portable across your hybrid cloud platform.


The good news is that most cloud services today, have an open source project that matches most of what any service can do. If not, there is still a good chance that you can achieve similar benefit with a combination of open source projects, or vendor products based on such projects.




Perhaps the main thing that enables IT to go from multi cloud to consciously building a universal hybrid cloud platform is a unified toolchain and unified policy. Some systems’ policy unification can be achieved with meta-orchestrators that work across multiple clouds like Red Hat CloudForms and RightScale, but they have their limitations. Using the many benefits of public and private cloud IaaS, you can still control the application and devops stack to achieve portability and mitigate lock-in by bringing your own full stack that sits atop of any IaaS.


Anyone can do multi cloud. Throw in a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. But the recipe for a happier hybrid cloud seems to be known to some organizations, but not to all, so let’s have a look at how to do cloud with less lock-in and more portability.


Embrace cloud IaaS as a base for your devops stack, but use other cloud services sparingly:

  • Bring your own IaaS automation and abstraction (such as Terraform and config management tools like Puppet, Chef, Ansible, etc.)
  • Lock in to cloud services consciously when they are unique and necessary for business advantage
  • For services that have open source tool equivalents, bring your own tool or at least use a managed service that has the generic API


Start with 2 clouds instead of one. This will…

  • Prevent you from tethering yourself to just one partner for cloud innovation & economics
  • Force the application cluster / stack to be portable
  • Force the DevOps workflows to be portable
  • Force designing for resiliency and scale early on




If your business case for cloud is that your developers’ new-found speed is knocking the socks off of your executives, then maybe have a closer look.


There is a better way to “do cloud” with portable apps, automation, and software-defined infrastructure atop of any IaaS, and even better, there is actually plenty of help. Check out the cloud-native computing foundation that Juniper and many other vendors recently joined and for your unified toolchain check out some of Juniper’s cloud software portfolio that can fit equally well across your public/private/ hybrid cloud venues such as AppFormix, vSRX, vMX and Contrail Networking built from OpenContrail.

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About the Author
  • Prior to Juniper acquisition, Ankur was the Founder and CEO of Contrail Systems Inc - a pioneer in standards based network virtualization and scale-out networking software. Ankur has over 15 years of experience in building world-class networking products and leading high performance teams. Prior to Contrail, Ankur served as Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering at Aruba Networks, where he played critical roles in the rapid expansion of team, products, and global businesses. Before Aruba, Ankur helped drive Juniper’s initial entry into and expansion of the Ethernet Switching market. Ankur received his MSEE from Stanford University & BSEE from the University of Southern California.
  • David Noguer Bau is the head of Telco Vertical Marketing at the SP Strategic Marketing team in Juniper Networks. He has extensive experience in Service Provider network evolution and regularly runs executive sessions with technical and marketing teams of important telecom operators to accelerate the adoption of virtualisation. David is based in Barcelona and has over 15 years of experience in the telecommunications sector. Prior joining Juniper Networks, Mr. Noguer Bau spent seven years at Nortel where he was a Business Development Manager specializing in Carrier Ethernet and Broadband areas. Before Nortel he worked at Eicon-Dialogic as Technical Manager in Spain. David has been the Country Marketing Chair at Metro Ethernet Forum for Spain. Mr. Noguer has wide experience speaking at international Conferences. He was graduated as Computer Engineer by Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) and has an executive MBA from EADA Barcelona and executive education at the Thunderbird School of Global Management (Arizona) and the Henley Business School (UK). The views expressed here are my personal opinions , have not been reviewed or authorized by Juniper Networks and do not necessarily represent the views of Juniper Networks.
  • Donyel Jones-Williams is the Director of Service Provider Product Marketing Management overseeing all of Juniper's Service Provider Products for Juniper Networks. In this role, he leads all of the internal and external marketing activities for Juniper with respect to routing, automation, SDN and NFV. Prior to joining Juniper Networks in January 2014, Donyel was a Senior Product Line Manager for Cisco Systems with in the High End Optical Routing Group managing product lifecycle for multiple products lines helping telecom providers operate efficiently and effectively including; ONS 155xx Product Family, ONS 15216, ONS 15454 MSTP, Carrier Packet Transport Product Family, ME 2600x, & ASR 9000v. He also negotiated favorable agreements with 3rd-party vendors furnishing components and parts and conducted both outbound and inbound marketing (webinars, case study-development, developed and delivered both business & technical at Cisco Live 2005-2012). Donyel graduated from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. While attending Cal Poly SLO he was a collegiate student athlete playing football as a wide receiver and a key member of the National Society of Black Engineers. Donyel is now an active volunteer for V Foundation.
  • Remarkably organized stardust.
  • Jennifer Blatnik is vice president of cloud, security and enterprise portfolio marketing at Juniper Networks with focus on enterprise deployments of security, routing, switching, and SDN products, as well as cloud solutions. She has more than 20 years of experience helping enterprises solve network security challenges. Before joining Juniper, Jennifer served multiple roles at Cisco Systems, Inc., including directing product management for security technologies aimed at small to medium enterprises, as well as supporting managed services, cloud service architectures and go-to-market strategies. She holds a B.A. in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley.
  • Jerry oversees all aspects of OpenLab which serves as a catalyst to spark the development of new innovative software applications or solutions that leverage the power of SDN/network programmability and intelligence. OpenLab is unique within Juniper and with its polished facility, globally accessible lab, and educational programs – such as the SDN “hackathons,” it serves as a tool for customer, partners, and academia. Prior to this position, Jerry led the development, management and marketing of the company’s strategic partnerships for video/unified communications, optical networking, and content/media delivery. In addition to handling the day-to-day oversight of the partnerships, he established new cross-partner go-to-market processes to drive and manage joint field opportunities. Before joining Juniper, Jerry led the Lucent Technologies application hosting/service provider marketing organization. He has over 25 years of experience in the data networking field with a focus on strategic alliance development, marketing, and technical field support. Jerry possesses a BS degree in Computer Science from St. John’s University in New York. He is active as a Juniper ambassador within the technology and academic community which includes advisory board positions with both NJIT and Rutgers in New Jersey.
  • I have been in the networking industry for over 35 years: PBXs, SNA, Muxes, ATM, routers, switches, optical - I've seen it all. Twelve years in the US, over 25 in Europe, at companies like AT&T, IBM, Bay Networks, Nortel Networks and Dimension Data. Since 2007 I have been at Juniper, focusing on solutions and services: solving business problems via products and projects. Our market is characterized by amazing technological innovations, but technology is no use if you cannot get it to work and keep it working. That is why services are so exciting: this is where the technology moves out of the glossy brochures and into the real world! Follow me on Twitter: @JoeAtJuniper For more about me, go to my LinkedIn profile:
  • Mark Belk is the National Government Chief Architect at Juniper Networks
  • Mike Marcellin is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, leading the global marketing team responsible for marketing Juniper’s product and services portfolio and stewarding the brand, driving preference for Juniper in the market, training our partners and account teams, and developing a differentiated information experience for our customers. Before joining the global marketing organization, Marcellin led business strategy and marketing for Juniper’s industry-leading portfolio of high-performance routing, switching and security products. Prior to joining Juniper in 2010, Marcellin served as Vice President of Global Managed Solutions for Verizon, where he oversaw product development and marketing of its managed IP networking, hosting, security and IT solutions for businesses around the world. He also served as Vice President of Global Product Marketing for Verizon Business, executive director of Verizon Business’ IP and Ethernet portfolio as well as leading the company’s eCRM marketing division. Marcellin began his career with MCI in 1994. Marcellin is a Board Member for the Telecommunications Industry Association and a Board Member of US Ignite, an NSF-sponsored initiative. Marcellin holds two patents and was a Rodman Scholar at the University of Virginia, where he received a bachelor of science degree with distinction in systems engineering. He is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • I love the intracacy and intimacy of succesful communications. Why and how people engage with each other is fascinating. I am also consumed with the way IT changes behaviours, values and expectations in society. I bring this sense of wonder to my role in EMEA Service Provider Marketing Programs at Juniper Networks. Down time: My passions are music, reading, politics, Derby County and playing the guitar (and the harmonica). You can follow me elsewhere: twitter: @neilpound my personal blog: my LinkedIn account: Neil Pound
  • Paul Obsitnik is Vice President of Service Provider Marketing for Juniper Networks Platform Systems Division (PSD), responsible for the marketing of Juniper’s portfolio of high performance routing, switching, and data center fabric products to Service Providers globally. Paul's team is responsible for marketing strategy, product marketing, go-to-market planning, and competitive analysis worldwide for the Service Provider segment. Obsitnik has extensive experience in marketing, sales and business development positions with a proven track record in creating technology markets. He has served in senior marketing and sales management positions at several companies including BridgeWave Communications, ONI Systems, NorthPoint Communications and 3Com. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Obsitnik is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Praful Lalchandani is a Product Manager at Juniper Networks focussing on the Data Center portfolio. Praful is a seasoned veteran in the networking industry, with experience spanning over 15 years building networking products and helping service providers, cloud providers and enterprises with their networking requirements.
  • Pratik Roychowdhury currently leads product management for Juniper's SDN and Cloud Software product namely Contrail. He has been with Juniper Networks for the last six years, leading product management activities for Juniper’s Network Virtualization and Network Programmability products and taking some of these products from concept to release. Overall, Pratik has spent 16+ years in the hi-tech industry assuming various roles including product development at Citrix, strategy & product management at early stage start-ups, and technology investment banking at UBS. Pratik has a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA from Univ of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross School of Business).
  • VP of engineering, Juniper Networks & founder, AppFormix Entrepreneur and founder with successful exits from two networking startups. Sumeet holds more than 20 patents with technologies implemented in shipping products and has received numerous awards from organizations as diverse as MIT and Interop. His AppFormix team at Juniper Networks is shipping an automated, real-time monitoring environment that uses AI and machine learning to autonomously mitigate application and network function issues before they impact QoS or user experience.