Spotlight on Key Trends and Insights from ONUG Spring 2023

The recently concluded ONUG Spring 2023 in Dallas was a resounding success, marked by insightful discussions, vibrant networking, and a deep dive into emerging trends and practices. The keynotes by Merck and Cigna were standout moments of the conference. Merck’s talk provided unique insights into leveraging technology to optimize operations within the pharmaceutical sector, while Cigna gave a compelling presentation on the power of data analytics and personalized customer experiences in the health services industry. Nick Lippis and Dr. Alex Shulman kicked off the conference with three major points:  

  1. This is the year of optimization and assessment of the past five year’s cloud consumption journey.
  2. This is also a year of cyber integration into all aspects of IT lifecycles integrated into our planning and designs, and we are seeing a big push on this from the White House and CISA.
  3. Network and security teams are taking on cloud infrastructure build and run responsibility. At ONUG, we’ll encourage this expanded role and empower these teams with tools, knowledge and best practices.  

Dr. Douglas Comer, Computer Science Department Purdue University delivered a sobering keynote on AI in the computer networking industry.  He asked the question can AI could run your network better than your networking team? Check out the keynote to find the answer here.  

Among the many notable highlights were key themes that dominated the discourse, four inspiring keynotes, and an interesting shift in cloud infrastructure design. Here’s a recap of the top takeaways:

  1. Rise of Network and Security Engineers in Cloud Infrastructure Design: A trend gaining significant traction is the rise of network and security engineers assuming pivotal roles in cloud infrastructure design and build. In an era where data security is paramount and the cloud forms the backbone of businesses, their expertise is invaluable in creating secure, robust and efficient cloud systems. It is clear that the once siloed disciplines of networking, security and cloud are now converging, a trend exemplified and explored during ONUG Spring 2023. Two underlying requirements were loud and clear: 1)  integrate cloud and on-prem infrastructure, and 2) integrate Network and Security Operational Centers’ (NOCs/SOCs) tools and workflows.
  2. Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure: As expected, hybrid cloud technology was a central theme at the conference. Sessions highlighted the importance of hybrid cloud in ensuring business agility, resilience and growth, with real-world examples of successful deployment and management strategies.
  3. Cybersecurity: In light of the ever-evolving threat landscape, cybersecurity remains a top priority for all enterprises. The conference shed light on the latest trends in AI-based threat detection, zero-trust security frameworks, and maintaining robust security in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. The call to integrate cybersecurity in all IT lifecycles was made.
  4. Public Cloud Value Proposition Questioned: A large survey of the ONUG Community found that the public cloud does not offer cost savings, nor does it offer operational efficiency. Public cloud offers scale up, but not scale down services. SaaS offerings are on the rise while IaaS/PaaS future investments are mixed.  
  5. Emerging Technologies: With the pace of technology innovation quickening, discussions around edge computing, AI/ML and 5G were high on the agenda. The potential of these technologies to revolutionize industries was a hot topic, sparking dynamic debates and ideas.

  6. Workforce Transformation: A focus on people, as crucial drivers of digital transformation, led to engaging discussions around cultivating digital skills, managing change and fostering a learning culture within organizations.

The ONUG Spring 2023 conference, with its diverse and enlightening discussions, reinforced the importance of embracing change and innovation in the digital era. As we look forward to the ONUG Fall conference in NYC, we anticipate further exploration of these trends, as well as new insights into the evolving landscape of the enterprise cloud. If you’re a network and security engineer then mark your calendar and get ready for the biggest and best ONUG of all time this October in NYC. We’ll provide you the tools, know-how and best practices to take on cloud infrastructure and integrate with your on-prem systems. See ya there.

Author's Bio

Nick Lippis