Systems Integrator Perspective – Transcript

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John Furrier of theCube talks with Systems Integrators World Wide Technology (WWT) and DXC Technology

>> Announcer: From Santa Clara, California in the heart of Silicone Valley it’s theCUBE covering Altitude 2020 brought to you by Aviatrix.

>> John: Okay, welcome back to Altitude 2020 for the digital event for the live feed. Welcome back, I’m John Furrier with theCUBE with Steve Mullaney, CEO Aviatrix. For the next panel from Global System Integrated, the folks who are building and working with folks on their journey to multi-cloud and cloud-native networking. We’ve got a great panel, George Buckman with DXC and Derrick Monahan with WWT, welcome to the stage.

(Audience applauds)

>> Hey

>> Thank you

>> Groovy spot

>> All right

(upbeat music)

>> Okay, you guys are the ones out there advising, building, and getting down and dirty with multicloud and cloud-native networking, we just heard from the customer panel. You can see the diversity of where people come in to the journey of cloud, it kind of depends upon where you are, but the trends are all clear, cloud-native networking, DevOps, up and down the stack, this has been the main engine. What’s your guys’ take of this journey to multi-cloud? What do you guys think?

>> Yeah, it’s critical, I mean we’re seeing all of our enterprise customers enter into this, they’ve been through the migrations of the easy stuff, ya know? Now they’re trying to optimize and get more improvements, so now the tough stuff’s coming on, right? They need their data processing near where their data is. So that’s driving them to a multi-cloud environment.

>> Yeah, we’ve heard some of the Edge stuff, I mean, you guys are–

>> Exactly.

>> You’ve seen this movie before, but now it’s a whole new ballgame, what’s your take? Yeah, so, I’ll give you a hint, our practice is not called the cloud practice, it’s the multi-cloud practice, and so if that gives you a hint of how we approach things. It’s very consultative. And so when we look at what the trends are, like a year ago. About a year ago we were having conversations with customers, “Let’s build a data center in the cloud. Let’s put some VPCs, let’s throw some firewalls, let’s put some DNS and other infrastructure out there and let’s hope it works.” This isn’t a science project. What we’re starting to see is customers are starting to have more of a vision, we’re helping with that consultative nature, but it’s totally based on the business. And you’ve got to start understanding how lines of business are using the apps and then we evolve into the next journey which is a foundational approach to–

>> What are some of the problems some of your customers are solving when they come to you? What are the top things that are on their mind, obviously the ease of use, agility, all that stuff, what specifically are they digging into?

>> Yeah, so complexity, I think when you look at a multi-cloud approach, in my view is, network requirements are complex. You know, I think they are, but I think the approach can be, “Let’s simplify that.” So one thing that we try to do, and this is how we talk to customers is, just like you simplify in Aviatrix, simplifies the automation orchestration of cloud networking, we’re trying to simplify the design, the plan, and implementation of the infrastructure across multiple workloads, across multiple platforms. And so the way we do it, is we sit down, we look at not just use cases, not just the questions we commonly anticipate, we actually build out, based on the business and function requirements, we build out a strategy and then create a set of documents, and guess what? We actually build it in a lab, and that lab that we platform rebuilt, proves out this reference architectural actually works.

>> Absolutely, we implement similar concepts. I mean, they’re proven practices, they work, right?

>> But George, you mentioned that the hard part’s now upon us, are you referring to networking, what specifically were you getting at there when you said, “The easy part’s done, now the hard part?”

>> So for the enterprises themselves, migrating their more critical apps or more difficult apps into the environments, ya know, we’ve just scratched the surface, I believe, on what enterprises are doing to move into the cloud, to optimize their environments, to take advantage of the scale and speed to deployment and to be able to better enable their businesses. So they’re just now really starting to–

>> So do you guys see what I talked about? I mean, in terms of that Cambrian explosion, I mean, you’re both monster system integrators with top fortune enterprise customers, you know, really rely on you for guidance and consulting and so forth, and deploy their networks. Is that something that you’ve seen? I mean, does that resonate? Did you notice a year and a half ago all of a sudden the importance of cloud for enterprise shoot up?

>> Yeah, I mean, we’re seeing it now.

>> Okay.

>> In our internal environment as well, ya know, we’re a huge company ourselves, customer zero, our internal IT, so, we’re experiencing that internally and every one of our other customers as well.

>> So I have another question and I don’t know the answer to this, and a lawyer never asks a question that you don’t know the answer to, but I’m going to ask it anyway. DXC and WWT, massive system integrators, why Aviatrix?

>> Great question, Steve, so I think the way we approach things, I think we have a similar vision, a similar strategy, how you approach things, how we approach things, at World Wide Technology. Number one, we want a simplify the complexity. And so that’s your number one priority. Let’s take the networking, let’s simplify it, and I think part of the other point I’m making is we see this automation piece as not just an after thought anymore. If you look at what customers care about, visibility and automation is probably at the top three, maybe the third on the list, and I think that’s where we see the value. I think the partnership that we’re building and what I get excited about is not just putting yours and our lab and showing customers how it works, it’s co-developing a solution with you. Figuring out, “Hey, how can we make this better?”

>> Right

>> Visibility is a huge thing, just in security alone, network everything’s around visibility. What automation do you see happening, in terms of progression, order of operations, if you will? What’s the low hanging fruit? What are people working on now? What are some of the aspirational goals around when you start thinking about multi-cloud and automation?

>> So I wanted to get back to his question.

>> Answer that question.

>> I wanted to answer your question, you know, what led us there and why Aviatrix. You know, in working some large internal IT projects, and looking at how we were going to integrate those solutions, you know, we like to build everything with recipes. Network is probably playing catch-up in the DevOps world but with a DevOps mindset, looking to speed to deploy, support, all those things, so when you start building your recipe, you take a little of this, a little of that, and you mix it all together, well, when you look around, you say, “Wow, look, there’s this big bag of Aviatrix. “Let me plop that in. That solves a big part “of my problems that I had, the speed to integrate, “the speed to deploy, and the operational views “that I need to run this.” So that was what led me to–

>> John: So how about reference architectures?

>> Yeah, absolutely, so, you know, they came with a full slate of reference architectures already out there and ready to go that fit our needs, so it was very easy for us to integrate those into our recipes.

>> What do you guys think about all the multi-vendor inter-operability conversations that have been going on? Choice has been a big part of multi-cloud in terms of, you know, customers want choice, they’ll put a workload in the cloud if it works, but this notion of choice and interoperability has become a big conversation.

>> It is, and I think that our approach, and that’s the way we talk to customers is, “Let’s speed and de-risk that decision making process, “and how do we do that?” Because interoperability is key. You’re not just putting, it’s not just a single vendor, we’re talking, you know, many many vendors, I mean think about the average number of cloud applications a customer uses, a business, an enterprise business today, you know, it’s above 30, it’s skyrocketing and so what we do, and we look at it from an interoperability approach is, “How do things inter-operate?” We test it out, we validate it, we build a reference architecture that says, “These are the critical design elements, “now let’s build one with Aviatrix “and show how this works with Aviatrix.” And I think the important part there, though, is the automation piece that we add to it and visibility. So I think the visibility is what I see lacking across industry today.

>> In cloud-native that’s been a big topic.

>> Yep

>> Okay, in terms of Aviatrix, as you guys see them coming in, they’re one of the ones that are emerging and the new brands emerging with multi-cloud, you’ve still got the old guard encumbered with huge footprints. How are customers dealing with that kind of component in dealing with both of them?

>> Yeah, I mean, we have customers that are ingrained with a particular vendor and you know, we have partnerships with many vendors. So our objective is to provide the solution that meets that client.

>> John: And they all want multi-vendor, they all want interoperability.

>> Correct.

>> All right, so I got to ask you guys a question while we were defining Day-2 operations. What does that mean? You guys are looking at the big business and technical components of architecture, what does Day-2 operations mean, what’s the definition of that?

>> Yeah, so I think from our perspective, with my experience, we, you know, Day-2 operations, whether it’s not just the orchestration piece in setting up and let it automate and have some, you know, change control, you’re looking at this from a Day-2 perspective, “How do I support this ongoing “and make it easy to make changes as we evolve?” The cloud is very dynamic. The nature of how fast it’s expanding, the number features is astonishing. Trying to keep up to date with the number of just networking capabilities and services that are added. So I think Day-2 operations starts with a fundamental understanding of building out supporting a customer’s environments, and making the automation piece easy from a distance, I think.

>> Yeah and, you know, taking that to the next level of being able to enable customers to have catalog items that they can pick and choose, “Hey I need this network connectivity “from this cloud location back to this on-prem.” And being able to have that automated and provisioned just simply by ordering it.

>> For the folks watching out there, guys, take a minute to explain as you guys are in the trenches doing a lot of good work. What are some of the engagements that you guys get into? How does that progress? What happens there, they call you up and say, “Hey I need some multi-cloud,” or you’re already in there? I mean, take us through how someone can engage to use a global SI, they come in and make this thing happen, what’s the typical engagement look like?

>> Derrick: Yeah, so from our perspective, we typically have a series of workshops in the methodology that we kind of go along the journey. Number one, we have a foundational approach. And I don’t mean foundation meaning the network foundation, that’s a very critical element, we got to factor in security and we got to factor in automation. So when you think about foundation, we do a workshop that starts with education. A lot of times we’ll go in and we’ll just educate the customer, what is VPC sharing? You know, what is a private link in Azure? How does that impact your business? We have customers that want to share services out in an ecosystem with other customers and partners. Well there’s many ways to accomplish that. Our goal is to understand those requirements and then build that strategy with them.

>> Thoughts George, on–

>> Yeah, I mean, I’m one of the guys that’s down in the weeds making things happen, so I’m not the guy on the front line interfacing with the customers every day. But we have a similar approach. We have a consulting practice that will go out and apply their practices to see what those–

>> And when do you parachute in?

>> Yeah, when I parachute in is, I’m on the back end working with our offering development leads for networking, so we understand and are seeing what customers are asking for and we’re on the back end developing the solutions that integrate with our own offerings as well as enable other customers to just deploy quickly to meet their connectivity needs. So the patterns are similar.

>> Right, final question for you guys, I want to ask you to paint a picture of what success looks like. You don’t have to name customers, you don’t have to get in and reveal who they are, but what does success look like in multi-cloud as you paint a picture for the folks here and watching on the live stream, if someone says, “Hey I want to be multi-cloud, I got to to have my operations Agile, I want full DevOps, I want programmability and security built in from Day-zero.” What does success look like?

>> Yeah, I think success looks like this, so when you’re building out a network, the network is a harder thing to change than some other aspects of cloud. So what we think is, even if you’re thinking about that second cloud, which we have most of our customers are on two public clouds today, they might be dabbling in it. As you build that network foundation, that architecture, that takes in to consideration where you’re going, and so once we start building that reference architecture out that shows, this is how to approach it from a multi-cloud perspective, not a single cloud, and let’s not forget our branches, let’s not forget our data centers, let’s not forget how all this connects together because that’s how we define multi-cloud, it’s not just in the cloud, it’s on-prem and it’s off-prem. And so collectively, I think the key is also is that we provide them an HLD. You got to start with a high level design that can be tweaked as you go through the journey but you got to give it a solid structural foundation, and that networking which we think, most customers think as not the network engineers, but as an after thought. We want to make that the most critical element before you start the journey.

>> George, from your seat, how does success look for you?

>> So, you know it starts out on these journeys, often start out people not even thinking about what is going to happen, what their network needs are when they start their migration journey to the cloud. So I want, success to me looks like them being able to end up not worrying about what’s happening in the network when they move to the cloud.

>> Steve: Good point.

>> Guys, great insight, thanks for coming on and sharing. How about a round of applause for the global system integrators?

(Audience applauds) (Upbeat music)