The Cloud and Security Track at TiEcon 2021 started with a keynote by Jason Zander, Executive Vice President of Microsoft Azure. He spoke on Cloud Trends and Innovations, and about Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more – through products and developer tools.
The Azure cloud was born out of a need to provide always available and at-scale solutions to enterprises across all devices. He walked us through several Microsoft applications including Flight Simulator, HoloLens (mixed reality), Mesh (to enable presence and shared experiences). Azure offers a healthy platform ecosystem. For every $1 of Microsoft-generated revenue on Azure, partners generate $9.58. Increasingly, organizations are employing Cloud-first strategies to enable organizational and end-user agility. Three of the biggest cloud trends that are creating compelling opportunities are:
- Hybrid Work (Gartner estimates that there will be 1.14b knowledge workers by 2023). Microsoft Teams has grown to 145m Daily Active Users by over 500k organizations.
- Artificial Intelligence. The opportunity to use AI and ML exists wherever data is created and stored. AI is transforming how businesses engage customers. Organizations need the technology and required tools to build and deploy successful machine learning models. Microsoft offers MLOps (taking experimental ML model to productions) and several AI tools from speech recognition to reading to translation to language understanding.
- Ubiquitous Computing. Microsoft sees a future where ubiquitous connected devices combine with data and ambient intelligence to interpret, reach and adapt meaningfully to power truly customized solutions for each industry. Microsoft acquired two companies Affirmed and Metaswitch to bring carrier grade communications IP to Azure.
He concluded his talk by saying that the greatest boon that entrepreneurs have today is that the Cloud provides you with the ability to be more efficient with your capital to realize your vision. The questions to ask yourself are where you want to spend your time and resources; are you spending your startup resources and venture capital dollars driving your company’s objectives; are you picking your partners based on the maximum impact they can help you achieve across technology, go-to-market, and global reach; are you dependent on a provider that sells you technology on one end and competes with you on the other.
Jason’s keynote was followed by a panel on Navigating Cloud Security Challenges of today. The panel was moderated by Diana Kelley, SecurityCurve. The panelists included Dan Gordon, Traceable AI; Prakash Sripathy, Cisco; Adrian Ludwig, Atlassian; Kirsten Newcomer, RedHat. They talked about the trend that while the number of breaches went down, the amount of exposed data went up. With almost the entire IT World working from home, new attack surfaces opened up. In fact, 2/3 of the attacks are happening on the edge. Security teams are inundated with volumes of data. API-driven automation is key. Zero Trust Architecture helps prevent data breaches by eliminating the concept of trust from inside or outside the network, and verification is required from everyone trying to gain access to resources on the network.
A fireside chat between Ray Wang, Constellation Research and Amit Zavery, Head of Platform, Google Cloud was next in the agenda.
Zavery stated that they are seeing 81% of enterprises are using two or more cloud providers. Google plans to elevate services to be industry-specific – beyond Network, Compute, Storage.
The topic of a 360o view of Cloud as a Strategy was discussed by Edith Harbaugh, LaunchDarkly; Manjula Talreja, PagerDuty; Archana Vemulapalli, IBM and Praveena Vajja, NetApp. This panel was moderated by Monti Kelly, 7.ai.
Focus on trust, security and resiliency, the panelists urged. Customer success is enabled by driving adoption and stickiness of the product. While entrepreneurs think about product and technology strategy, they also need to think about Go to Market strategy. The panelists reaffirmed the point that Amit Zavery made earlier that enterprises will continue to adopt multi-cloud deployments.
The closing keynote was a conversation between Rohit Dixit, SVP at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Greg Adgate, Equinix.
Their conversation was centered around the importance of delivering the quality of experience that must be brought by applications and data in a cloud world. Rohit opened the aperture of the discussion to include the interplay of the trends and what they mean for the end-to-end IT landscape – thus giving us a broader picture of the challenges and the opportunities.
Enterprises are looking at Cloud on a consumption model – only pay for what they use. Increasingly, Edge Computing (remote office, branch office, etc.) is becoming a major component of how we think about IT. This is resulting in a decentralization of compute and consumption. Compute is getting pushed out away from the Data Centers – so much so that most data will get created, analyzed and acted upon on the edge.
Rohit went on to elaborate on the operational and organizational model changes needed to be successful in this increasingly complex environment. For a digital transformation to be meaningful, it has to change the way the business operates. While most customers are prepared on the technology side, they are, sometimes, lacking on the skills and culture aspects.
In summary, Rohit provided five points to consider for a CIO, Entrepreneur or IT professional considering a hybrid cloud strategy:
- Start with a fact-based view of your current state – what apps are run, what are their requirements, etc.
- Based on this, determine what the end-state right mix needs to be
- Now the interoperability and interdependency in that end-state needs to be resolved and addressed
- Focus on the end-user – articulate the benefit that they will derive and what they need to do for adoption
- Recognize that change is constant. The right mix today will not be the right mix tomorrow. The Environment, requirements, ecosystem are all subject to change
The Track Chairs for the Cloud and Security track were Sandhya Gorman, StackRox and Preethy Padmanabhan, Freshworks. Leah McLean, Founder of Cyber Future Foundation was the Track Advisor.