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HP ProCurve CTO Paul Congdon on enterprise networking in 2015

Post-cloud computing era will drive additional service opportunities for partners

Channel partners can expect to have plenty more service opportunities as the cloud computing model continues to evolve, but by 2015 they should also have the ability to better compete with the large providers that offer to host everything for their customers.

The cloud computing era is still in its infancy but is much better understood than it was even a short while ago, said Paul Congdon, CTO of HP ProCurve. As usual, though, people are asking “what comes next?” With infrastructure convergence, Congdon said the next big thing is the rapid increase in distributed computing models as they pertain to the cloud.

“There are a couple of important things worth considering here when we think about that,” he said. “One of the first things is in this whole area of convergence, where we’re bringing all of these technologies together. We’re creating an environment that is needing to be highly orchestrated.”

To deploy services and do service delivery, there’s a lot of orchestration going on. Congdon mused on how that might evolve into future activities.

“One of the things that I tend to think about is the need for what I’m calling an increasing collaboration between the users of the network and the network itself. In the cloud world, you have this provider/subscriber model, but what’s changing going forward is going to be more of a collaborative model, more of a peering model,” he said.

The reason for this has to do with the massive amounts of compute power being embedded in everything from smartphones to enterprise switches. With that increase in computing power – in and out of the cloud – there is a need for an architecture for service delivery in a distributed model, Congdon said. Compared to the cloud computing model of today, the future distributed model will need to enable more collaboration between endpoints than the existing provider/subscriber model offers, he said.

As we’re already seeing in the market, there will continue to be more sharing of information about location and identities, and computing power will be used more for analytics and to create customized services. That requires a lot of information being exchanged, which in turn requires an established trust between the user, the network and the services, he said. Privacy, integrity and encryption security needs are going to increase to establish the high level of trust necessary to make it work, he added.

“A lot of people look at the cloud today as reinventing the mainframe with more standards-based objects. … The next phase is distributed computing, and with all this orchestration and all this trust establishment … we’ll start to move back to this kind of distributed model and we’ll have a lot more need for this collaboration,” Congdon said. “You kind of see this occurring already with the whole converged infrastructures like in the data center as we converge storage and network and servers. We have a need for all those IT departments to collaborate together to facilitate it.”

Channel partners can expect this to accelerate their ability to deploy and provide new services and solutions to their customers, Congdon explained.

“I like to think of the cloud almost as a mainframe model, but in a distributed model, what it means is there’s a much easier ability to create, deploy and offer services and offer platforms that deliver those services without requiring the whole centralized procurement management model that exists in these large Internet data centers. It gives the channel partners a great opportunity to deploy incremental solutions that will nicely fit into this architecture instead of having to become part of a very large data center cloud roll-out,” he said.

Additionally, it will also mean smaller partners will be better capable of handling the challenges of competing with one-stop shops that host every kind of service. While smaller channel partners today may find it very difficult to compete, the change to a distributed computing model via the cloud will alleviate some of their headaches in the future.