Cloud at NetworkWorld IT Roadmap


“More than 300 IT decision-makers and leading IT vendors—including conference underwriters AT&T, Nuage Networks/Alcatel-Lucent and Ruckus Wireless Inc.—will gather in each city to listen to the advice and insight industry experts and analysts have on subjects such as big data, migration to the cloud, support of consumer mobile devices and security improvements, as well as exchange ideas with their peers.” – “Top IT Challenges Addressed at the 2014 IT Roadmap Conference & Expo Series” by NetworkWorld.


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This past Tuesday I attended NetworkWorld’s IT Roadmap. Chicago is the first stop of this conference series that will also be held in Denver, Boston, New York, San Jose, Dallas and Washington, D.C. later this year.

I was mostly interested in following talks on cloud technologies as well as telco related topics, namely:

  • “Network-Enabled Cloud Solutions: The Next Phase of Cloud” by Randall Davis, Director of Marketing at AT&T.
  • “Plan You Migration To Next-Gen Communications & Collaboration” by Ken Greene, Director of Enterprise Sales at Comcast.
  • “The Datacenter Network Future State: Dynamic & Responsive” by Houman Modarres, Senior Director of Marketing at Nuage Networks.

I first listened to Houman’s keynote, which grabbed everyone’s attention in the plenary session as seen above. We last met at Nuage Networks’ launch in the Silicon Valley this time last year and managed to reconnect and catch up after his presentation.

Nuage Networks involves SDN (Software Defined Networking) with a solution where programmability serves the purpose of automating network resources, which then become readily available and provisioned to meet applications’ needs. Here is a context where this is meaningful and relevant: network engineering and operations teams are often working under duress given highly dynamic requirements set by today’s data communications. Budgets, time, efforts and talent get literally consumed by figuring out patchworks and implementing upgrades. Unfortunately, when adding costly complexity the side effects are: little room to advance innovations and slow reaction times to necessary changes… digging an even deeper hole.

Therefore, programmability, policies and automation are of the essence. Houman also talked about the need for coupling these with “abstraction.” This is centered around how applications interact with and what they need from the network. The more network operation and development teams get to address the kind of constrains and trade-offs that stifle innovation, the more the need for a JIT (Just-in-Time) operational model optimizing for service delivery because “networks should follow at speed of cloud apps.”


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Left: Ken Green, Comcast. Right: Randall Davis, AT&T


AT&T’s presentation discussed NetBond in the scope of “network enabled clouds.” The service provider’s MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) private network can be part of a “cloud in the network” architecture. Security being a salient point as enterprise customers get to use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) instead of accessing cloud services over public internet infrastructure.

In turn, this also talks to SLA (Service Level Agreements) covering network and cloud infrastructure. That end to end approach implies centralized management and clear accountability. Comcast also highlighted the value that the network brings to cloud computing in a discussion focused on communication services for enterprises. 


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This event’s presentations will be available from http://www.itroadmap.net/Chi2014/agenda.

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