The Year Ahead: Into 2023

2022 Was a Launching Pad for the Programmable Network Cloud Ecosystem at ONUG 

As a community, we have so many 2022 accomplishments to be proud of. We laid the groundwork for a new multi-cloud era where infrastructure and developer teams gain greater choice and options to deliver business value creation. We focused on multi-cloud connectivity, automation and security with a special emphasis on Network and Security Operational Centers (NOCs and SOCs) automation through AI/ML. We started to define the programmable network cloud market that promises to unleash innovation and creativity for a whole new category of applications. We added controls to our framework via Policy as Code to automate enterprise cloud infrastructure configuration with guardrails based on business intent. In the aggregate, each community member is building their version of the Digital Enterprise upon these, and other, initiatives, which prioritizes business performance and customer experience.  This is a fundamental shift from the previous generation’s IT goals of application performance focus.  

In 2023, ONUG’s resources will be applied to delivering multi-cloud infrastructure that enables digital business performance. We started this process in 2022 by reorganizing ONUG’s Board. I want to thank Ernest Lefner and Harmen Van der Linde for their contributions as ONUG co-chairs over its first 10 years. With Ernest and Harmen transitioning to the vendor side of the community, we rebuilt the co-chair committee with Yesim Akdeniz of Citi, Chris Moretti of Cigna, Mick Currey of Fidelity and myself, with a special focus on reorganizing the ONUG Board to service the community for the next 10 years and starting to deliver on our promise to increase women executives on the board. Dr. Alex Shulman of E&Y and Amarjeet Kaur of Edward D Jones were voted in as new board members in Q4’22. We all welcome their participation and perspectives. There will be additionally impressive board members announced in Q1’23!

The ONUG Collaborative, which organizes and runs ONUG’s Working Groups, was founded by Gene Sun of FedEx, James Beeson of Cigna, Daniel Conroy of Raytheon Technologies and myself. They have guided the development of the Cloud Security Notification Framework or CSNF, which is a key open source technology that standardizes cloud security telemetry and logs. Its value is to operationalize cloud security in the SOC by automating incidence response and playbooks.    

In addition, the Collaborative’s Steering Committee, consisting of these founding members as well as Fidelity, Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Google, voted to establish a new Policy as Code (PaC) Working Group that adds controls to multi-cloud environments. The PaC Working Group is now established and working with excellent contributions from Bank of America, Citi, FedEx, Cigna, etc. In addition, all five working groups will report to the Steering Committee in 2023 and beyond. As such, we’ll expand the Steering Committee in 2023 by inviting companies with deep interest in programmable network cloud.  

The programmable network cloud initiative spans the Network Cloud, PaC and Hyperautomation Working Groups. In 2023, ONUG invites all service providers to the community as we offer a home and gathering place for service providers to build out, showcase and educate the industry as to the innovation and economic activity unleashed through programmable network cloud. This massively new market is based upon API driven programmable connectivity and the applications that sit on top of these networks. ONUG is the home to this marketplace ecosystem. Use cases span new enterprise wide area networking, B2B and C2B applications. 

Network Cloud: One of the most exciting 2023 initiatives is within the Network Cloud Working Group where the group is reimagining networking for the enterprise cloud era.  ONUG defined the $5B SD-WAN market and over the past two years, has focused on defining the Network as a Service (NaaS) market which promises to be a $25B+ market over the next several years. This working group will provide thought leadership and a framework to guide the community as they build the next generation of service provider and corporate networking. 

Automated Cloud Governance (ACG): The members of the ACG Working Group were amazing this year. They converged on the definition of an open and standard Canonical Data Model (CDM) supported by GCP, Azure, Oracle, IBM and Cisco, all of which are now mapping their cloud security telemetry and logs into CDM. The CDM’s use cases expand well beyond cloud security and well into programmable network cloud telemetry and log to automate NOCs. This is a major milestone and a first for the industry to have Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) collaborating to operationalize cloud security in the SOC by increasing efficacy at the expense of toil. Other major achievements are the production of a starter kit and the creation of consumption patterns to guide pilots starting in Q1’23. 2023 is the year of pilots and adoption for CSNF.

Hyperautomation: Management of networks is becoming telemetry oriented and thus data driven. The NOC workflows are moving beyond what humans can control, thanks to the massive amount of telemetry now streaming into them. The Hyperautomation Working Group is delivering on the automation of the NOC as networking evolves toward the programmable network cloud plus NaaS. Of significant import is the role of hyperautomation to interconnect “nerve clusters’  of microservices-based applications.

Policy as Code: In 2023, the Policy as Code Working Group will provide the playbook or blueprint for how business intent will be codified into policies that are enforced within infrastructure, independent upon where that infrastructure is, that is on- or off-prem, physical or virtual. The work has a lifecycle management approach as business imperatives change so too does policy. This policy-as-code work will be an integral part of the programmable network cloud initiative.

DevSecOps: ONUG is now the largest gathering place for DevSecOps discussions in the industry, thanks to James Wicket and myself chairing that track over the past three ONUGs. James has brought in industry thought leaders on both the supplier and consumer side to help the community understand best practices on building applications securely. DevSecOps is central to securing multi-cloud infrastructure and will play a big role at ONUG in 2023.

Multi-cloud connect, secure, automate and control are critical elements for IT to deliver and be measured on digital business performance. When Ernest and I founded ONUG, we knew that IT executives needed a gathering place to network and for IT suppliers to hear directly from consumers. This partnership of suppliers and consumers sharing requirements and product roadmaps has expanded in ways we never anticipated.   That road is now leading to the service providers as key players in the enablement of digital business through programmable network clouds. 2023 is the start of our next 10 years of being the voice of the large enterprise as we all work collaboratively to build a better industry that supports all the brands in the global economy. 

In 2022, we finally got back to in-person meetings that were bigger than 2019. 2023 promises to be bigger, yet intimate gatherings where the industry’s movers and shakers meet to define the digital enterprise. Get ready for an exciting year. 

Author's Bio

Nick Lippis