All public services will be cloud based. This means that public email, conferencing and collaboration systems, etc... these systems generally go across the public Internet anyway, there is no point claiming that you can secure it better at home. In addition, spam and virus protection doesn’t work unless the mail server is global, individual organizations running things like Cisco Email Security Appliance are screwed. Global providers can also work better together to secure the backbone. New providers will not be able to enter this market in the future due to locked down peering.
Private networks will become far harder to manage. Military and other government networks will lack access to proper solutions in the future since enterprise scale software will become a niche market for collaboration and messaging. This will probably result in a lot more open source solutions being deployed for private servers. Microsoft will probably make an Azure Stack solution for offline networks. NATO governments will adopt it and other governments will reject it.
Software defined is already universal in cloud providers. AWS, Azure and Google Cloud are already nearly 100% SDN. All their solutions are completely software based as well. Cisco doesn’t make a software define solution, so they missed out. They have policy based networking which is similar, but not scalable.
Storage will be back to non-enterprise. There is no reason in a software defined world to consider enterprise storage. Cloud storage doesn’t need it and it doesn’t benefit from it at all. Systems like NetApp, EMC, 3Par and others are already relics of the bad old days. As more systems are cloud based, we’ll focus on NewSQL, NoSQL, and object storage. These perform fantastically badly on scale-up systems like SANs and NAS. They also regularly have high risks of single point of failure. Their cost is 20-30 times higher per gigabyte than their alternatives. NVMe fabrics, FC fabrics, etc... are almost the worst possible ideas in cloud storage. All flash is a total waste and all these systems just don’t work well anyway.
As a matter of fact, Hyperflex from Cisco is among the worst solutions for cloud storage as it almost guarantees your data will suffer from high latency and poor performance. It’s great for VMware, but terrible otherwise.
Business systems will come back home. Using FaaS in a box solutions, we’ll see more systems come home. They will be much smaller and simpler. Expect to see entire enterprises running on clusters of computers that cost less than $1000. Now that we’re shipping our crap to the cloud, we’re learning that we don’t need VMs and containers and other wasteful tech to run our enterprises. We simply need better systems. The average Raspberry Pi 3 has substantially more capacity than most enterprises need for their systems.
Zero-trust networking (thank you Google for the name, been working on ZTN for 6 years and didn’t have a name for it) will eliminate the need for most corporate enterprise networking. By centralizing most services, we’ll no longer need east-west network traffic. As such, we can eliminate nearly all network equipment we use today.
In addition, whether you’re 5 users or 50,000 users, the cost of LTE and SIM cards at now cheaper than buying a Cisco or Aruba wireless network. Almost universally, it’s more cost effective to eliminate your enterprise network completely and move entirely to mobile services. With zero-trust, it makes perfect sense of to simply dump your Cisco enterprise network. After all, your company probably already pays for at least some of your cell phone bill today. The cost to cover the additional bandwidth needed would be $10-$20 a month per user. That is A LOT cheaper than Cisco networking and that’s not even counting the consultants or endless lost hours of business to silly meetings about things like Cisco DNA.
SDN in the cloud is accomplished through mostly open source virtual switches connected via IP. The cloud management platforms then integrate with things like Kubernets or Azure Resource Manager to handle the cloud networking. Because of how clouds, containers and FaaS works, generally single homes, gigabit, layer-3 connectivity is all the systems need. As such, Cisco data center networking and ACI fabrics just don’t belong there.
CPU capacity will decrease a great deal as well. The average FaaS (Lambda, Azure Functions, Google Cloud function) requires 1/10,000th the system capacity to run compared to containers or VMs. As such, as more systems are launched using less capacity. The clouds will shrink and not grow.
Sinc Cisco has nothing in the cloud server category to sell. The servers in my cloud are Raspberry Pi’s with 12TB spinning discs and LattePanda’s with 64GB eMMC. We have 9 of each (18 devices) we’ll run a million active users on. We’ll add more for geography not capacity. We are using 8 port Cisco c3560-CX switches for now.
So, let’s see what the problems are in 2021 :
- Enterprise networks are going to fizzle. Cisco never managed to gain presence with LTE and basically resells ASR-5000 but lacks their own product
- ACI was a no-starter and basically is on its way down.
- UCS has no real need to be upgraded or replaced. I have racks full of them turned off. We now use two chassis, 4 FIs, no switches, and we’ll shit those down too. We’re moving to cloud and Raspberry Pi.
- Zero-trust networking eliminates the need for about 85% of all Cisco security products.
- We just laid off 50 Cisco UC (phone and video conferencing) “experts” and shut down that division because of Skype and FaceTime. That business is dead.
- SD-WAN from Cisco is way too expensive and it’s cheaper (and better) to use LTE, Citrix, or Microsoft DirectAccess. If you’re going to waste money on SD-WAN, get VPLS instead.
- SD-ACCESS costs way too much and even if you have the $1.5 million to spend for the minimal safe implementation, it’s far too expensive to maintain and Cisco will probably lose interest before getting much further with it.
I think this research was basically “Please don’t forget us!!! Really... we can do stuff too!!!”
But in all fairness, I’m wearing a Cisco hoodie over a Cisco T-Shirt will sitting next to a rack of $200,000 of Cisco equipment I personally own... logged into a VM on a Cisco UCS blade server in a Cisco UCS data center I personally own. And next week I’ll train a national security agency on using Cisco. Oh and I work for a multinational massive Cisco partner.
And what I’m telling you is, I have no plans of using Cisco in my upcoming designs which surprisingly are to automate Cisco customers. Cisco just doesn’t really fit in the next generation enterprise.