Top 5 Takeaways from ONUG Spring in Dallas

First, a huge thank you to everyone who participated at ONUG Spring in Dallas this past May. It was the ONUG Community’s largest spring gathering yet, bigger than ONUG Spring 2018 in San Francisco by 20+% with some 300 new IT executives joining the community. The ONUG Board decided that Dallas is the new home for ONUG Spring moving forward. But not only was the Dallas ONUG successful in terms of community response, there were at least five major industry topics that everyone should know about as you’ll be hearing about them over the next several years. First, ONUG was about the challenges of designing, building and running hybrid/multi-cloud infrastructure.

It was the ONUG Community that drove the cloud providers to start offering private cloud stacks that sit within private data centers as gateways between private and public clouds. Remember, the ONUG Community spends north of $350 billion annually on IT, and we have been calling for large enterprise grade cloud solutions. ONUG finally got through as the figure below didn’t exist last year. It was ONUG’s economic and engineering influence that drove Google to offer Anthos, Amazon to offer Outpost, Microsoft to offer Azure Stack, and IBM to offer IBM Cloud private stack into the market. At ONUG Fall, all of these private stacks will be on full display in proofs of concept and demonstrations as the community engages with the cloud providers to provide use case requirements and needs for the large enterprise.

So, what were the top five takeaways from ONUS Spring in Dallas?

Hybrid/Multi-Cloud Infrastructure: This market is just starting to materialise, and it will be the organizing principle for the IT industry. In the figure above, there are three distinct markets: public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud. The private cloud providers are all working with public cloud providers to fit into and add value to their private stacks because if they are not, then they become an island unto themselves or a dead end. All roads will pass over the hybrid cloud.   

No Interoperable Clouds: Dr. Douglas Comer of TCP/IP fame and Purdue Computer Science professor delivered a keynote where he viewed the IT market today from an open and interoperability point of view. The future is not pretty for anyone. Cloud providers are building closed systems and locking customers into their services. There are no standards organizations helping. The open source community is not addressing openness, and academics are not focused on building the post-cloud world. Many IT business leaders feel enormous pressure of business units to design and build cloud applications that they throw caution to the wind. But offering closed solutions is not in the cloud providers best interest. Dr. Comer offered the mobile carriers as an analogy. The mobile providers offer closed services, and with the market nearly saturated, the only growth they have is to steal customers from their competitors. This, too, could be the fate of the cloud providers.  

AI for IT Ops Automation: At ONUG Spring, we organized an exploratory meeting that brought vendors Atscale, Juniper/Mist, Palo Alto Networks, Microsoft, VMware, et al., together with IT business leaders from GE, Intuit, Cigna, BofA, Gap Inc, Kaiser Permanente, etc. The purpose of the meeting was to collect a few IT operational use cases to drive collaboration between the vendor community to apply AI in the automation of IT ops. The result is that it is all about vendor data and being able to share it so that correlation can occur and AI algorithms can be applied.  The result? This was a standing-room-only session, and ONUG is being asked to organize a working group on this topic. The first meeting is scheduled for June 19th at 11:00 am ET. If you want to join the kick-off, then email

Lack of Cybersecurity in the Cloud Era: At ONUG Spring, the ONUG Board offered eight use cases for the community to vote upon. The use cases that receive the largest number of votes become candidates for a working group. The top three use cases were cybersecurity. Needless to say, ONUG Fall and London will have a large cybersecurity focus.

IT Is a Business Engineering Function: From an organizational, skills and culture point of view, the ONUG Community expressed that digital transformation projects are fundamentally changing IT into a business engineering function. Many stated that discussions with executive management have shifted toward status on the design and building of digital products and services. The organizations of Chief Digital, Chief Technical and Chief Information are now in question as separate organizations. The Chief Digital Officer’s organizations seldom are staffed with “Digital Doers” and as such, rely heavily upon Chief Technical Officer and Chief Information Officer organizations, to the point that all three may merge into a Chief Transformation Officer organization. More on this at ONUG Fall in NYC and Europe in London.

Please don’t miss ONUG Fall in NYC on October 16-17, hosted by Cigna, and ONUG Europe, December 4-5 in London, hosted by Skills Matter and Bank of America — it’s where everything and everyone comes together for 2 days of intense learning, sharing and networking. Register by July 24 and save 50% on conference admission.

Author's Bio

Nick Lippis

Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, ONUG