Co-founder of Nicira, Martin Casado, gave a speech about the future of infrastructure. Once VMware acquired Nicira in 2012, he remained the senior VP and general manager of the company’s network and business unit. Today, he is a partner at one of the famous ventures in Silicon Valley, Andreesen Horowitz. When venture capitalists talk about the IT industry, they are generally interested in what will come in the next few years.
Casado started by describing the trends such as moving to public Cloud Desktop services and the reduced adoption of open source solutions, which requires vendors to innovate. He then highlighted that we are about to face a golden era of architecture, something no one would have imagined five years ago.
According to Martin, three trends are making it easier for enterprises to enter the world of infrastructure. One of which is the transformation from hardware to a virtualized environment, enabled by the functionality such as containers and hypervisors. This helps developers to not care about the hardware while they are focused on the development phase. Illumio, Cumulus, and Mesosphere are some of the companies providing software-based architecture components.
Casado also pointed out the fact that software-based development reduces the time and cost required for development. However, deploying software to a heterogeneous hardware set is not quite simple, which led to the second trend: infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Some of the reasons described by Casado why it was difficult for startups to compete with vendors are:
They have assigned sales rep to build a trust-worthy relationship
Certified programs, so a strong bond is developed among network professionals and the vendors
Analyst reports analyzing the added value
Now that people have started to provide IaaS, the third trend is developers’ freedom to choose frameworks for the functionality, said Casado. Gartner reports do not affect the application developers, or the sales rep, or certifications. The developers actually care about the APIs, active user community, open-source technology, low friction to adoption, and technical elegance.
Some of the IT industry’s important companies include Docker, Cloudera, and Databricks said, Martin.
It is not a smart idea to deny the facts stated by Casado and the impacts they will have on the industry. However, in terms does it mean that hardware is not important, it is and will continue to be in the future. What it means is that in the future, we will see new software-based applications and products. From the commercial point of view, we can expect these products to stay for a longer time, while most of them will likely get funding and become successful.
We notice the trend of using service to deliver functionality rapidly growing with a huge impact on infrastructure development as well. But it is not as important as the transformation from hardware to software-based development. While the developer has the choice regarding the frameworks, we don’t expect the trend to have a major impact in the future.
So, where does this leave the industry? If you are an infrastructure vendor trying to overcome the challenges of shifting to cloud desktops and adopting open source solutions.
But if you are working in an IT industry, rest assured that your job will not change significantly this year or the next one. However, if Casado’s theory is correct to some extent, you might feel the disruptive wave of infrastructure solutions. Moreover, the certifications and other things that established your professional value will lose their impact with time.