With 2018 right around the corner, we spoke with NTT Communication's Len Padilla on enterprise cloud trends such as how SD-WAN will impact the cloud market, where NTT is headed next year with its own Enterprise Cloud platform, and advice for enterprises in varying stages of their cloud migration.
Here's how he sees enterprise cloud trends shaping up in 2018.
SD-WAN in the multicloud
Padilla, vice president of product strategy for NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT), says SD-WAN is one important trend affecting the enterprise cloud arena. Gone are the days where enterprise customers utilized only one cloud provider. Customers utilizing NTT Enterprise Cloud platform are also working with public cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM, he says. SD-WAN is improving enterprises' abilities to manage their "complicated hybrid architectures" and the use of multiple cloud platforms by making the underlying connectivity more reliable, he adds.
Clifford Grossner, senior research director and advisor for IHS Markit, agrees: "The next important challenge for SD-WAN and for the [SD-WAN] vendors is to evolve their offering so that it becomes a fabric for the multicloud."
In April, NTT extended its Multi-Cloud Connect service to include connectivity to Oracle Cloud, in addition to cloud services such as AWS, Microsoft Azure Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online, and NTT's private cloud service through a private Layer 3 connection.
Ghassan Abdo, research vice president for IDC, says more enterprises are seeking multicloud environments as "the ability to port workloads from one public cloud to another is becoming a lot more important than it was in the past."
A multicloud gives an enterprise an integrated environment to migrate workloads between a private cloud and multiple public clouds, depending on the compute services required, says Grossner. In a survey Grossner conducted, 150 respondents from North American enterprises said they use an average of eight cloud service providers.
The cloud migration journey
Padilla also imparted advice for the various stages of an enterprise's cloud migration. For companies starting out, he explains, "Many people will say, 'You're too late if you're just going to the cloud now.' The flip side is, it's a good time to be going to the cloud for the first time because there are so many good offers."
He adds that businesses starting out on the journey to cloud should take their time looking at options and develop a good understanding of the cloud services they expect to use as well as the projected cost around those services.
One trend Padilla expects will gain steam in 2018 is the use of containers. He expects NTT will receive even more requests from customers to have container lifecycle management integrated into the overall management of their cloud platform. This summer, NTT announced a collaboration with Rancher Labs, a container management software provider, to provide that integration inside NTT Enterprise Cloud. The container management pilot program was launched in Japan, but is not yet generally available, says Padilla.
Padilla says there's also a strong managed services story for companies that have already made their first foray into cloud and are onto the second wave of their cloud migration journey. Maintaining compliance while having a strong service catalog and monitoring and managing use of the cloud platform is no simple task.
"There are a lot of things that need to be to be stitched together, a lot of compliance issues -- there's still a place for managed services in the cloud world," he says.
— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading