Last three years have been the hell of a ride for me personally at Cisco. Ever since Cisco acquired Insieme, I had the privilege of working on this new approach for data center networking. In an extremely exciting moment in the network industry fueled by the SDN hype, it looked as if every network professional suddenly woke up to the long due transformation that the industry had been previously trying not to acknowledge.
In this context, Cisco ACI has been the lighthouse showing what the future of networking is:
- Centralized management, but distributed control and data planes
- Simplified configuration of complex functionality such as QoS, security filters or VXLAN fabrics, just to name three of my favourite ones
- Open integration with every other component in the data center, be it L4-L7 network services, WAN routers, orchestration tools, hypervisors or even hot technologies like Linux containers
- Designed for programmability and automation, with a modern API, GUI tools such as the API Inspector, and a myriad of SDKs and examples published out there in DevNet and Github
In my humble opinion, this is how networking will look like in a few years, and nobody will ever again think of configuring a network switch after switch. Not only for the data center, where it is already a reality with ACI, but for WAN and campus environments equally, where the APIC-EM folks are working very actively and successfully.
I have personally had the chance to work alongside very talented individuals with phenomenal skills, for which I am truly thankful to Cisco. If I started to write names here I would probably take too much writing space, so let us leave it at that: I am honoured and humbled for having been able to work with the folks at Cisco INSBU (especially its TMEs all around the globe), and the fantastic worldwide sales team around Cisco ACI.
At this point in time, I would safely conclude that Cisco ACI has already become mainstream, and nothing can prevent it from moving further on its path of success. That opens for me the question: What should be the next step in my career? What is the next cutting edge technology that I want to learn?
After considering multiple options, I have decided to move over to Microsoft and work in the Azure team. The same way that I am firmly convinced that Cisco is poised for success in the data center area, I think that Microsoft has a very good strategy and business model for public cloud, especially attractive (but not only) for enterprise customers all over the globe. I think that the economies of scale that the public cloud provides will make it inevitable that companies leverage more and more resources such as Azure, changing for ever the way we make IT. In case you have not seen it yet, there is a book that I read some time ago and has stuck to me: The Big Switch, by Nicholas Carr. Nicholas brilliantly compares the way we do IT today, to the way companies used to generate their own electricity in the 19th century, and how economies of scale changed that model.
So I have decided to change hats, and from now on you will probably see the themes of my blog entries shifting towards Public Cloud, and more specifically, towards Azure.
I wish Cisco a great success in the data center area, which I am certain they are going to enjoy in the coming months. After the success of ACI, I am sure we will hear a lot about Cisco CloudCenter, just to mention one of the exciting technologies in their portfolio.
All that remains me to say in this post is to thank you guys for reading down to here, to thank you too for giving me feedback, advice and guidance these past years, and to ask you to wish me good luck in my activities with Microsoft!