We Need Design Patterns in the Enterprise Cloud Era

In a world driven by rapid technological advancements, network engineers have found themselves traversing the unfamiliar terrain of cloud infrastructure and its integration with on-prem systems. For over five years, this journey has been likened to a trek through a vast, challenging desert, primarily due to the nature of cloud offerings by service providers.

The Unique Cloud Landscape

Most cloud service providers have presented us with proprietary methods to integrate with their platforms. While innovation is the lifeblood of progress, the unique approaches adopted by each cloud provider lack a universal playbook. This approach is much akin to every car manufacturer inventing their own way to operate a vehicle – the basic functionality remains, but the operations are vastly different.

Furthermore, the networking component in most cloud offerings is often “invisible” to its consumers. There’s limited observability, making troubleshooting a Herculean task when things go awry. And as any seasoned engineer will attest – things will inevitably go wrong.

The Comfort of Design Patterns

In yesteryears, we had well-established design patterns – blueprints if you will – for creating DMZs, campus networks, wide area backbones, data center networks, and even Wi-Fi networks. These patterns weren’t birthed in isolation but were collaborative efforts between vendors and consumers. These design patterns were more than just frameworks; they were a beacon of safety and predictability in the unpredictable world of network engineering.

The standardized nature of these design patterns offered two main benefits:

  • Reduced Risks: Following a well-trodden path meant fewer unforeseen challenges. It was a known, reliable method.
  • Market Growth: Design patterns expedited the vendor sales cycle and offered consumers a sense of safety. It allowed for flexibility in choosing vendors based on various factors like features, pricing, or even relationships.

However, in the dawning era of enterprise cloud, there’s a glaring absence of these design patterns. It’s disconcerting to see the slowdown in market adoption and cloud consumption. The striking revelation that over half the revenue growth of cloud service providers has dwindled in 2023 stands as a testament to this concern.

Whose Responsibility Is It?

While it’s tempting to point fingers at cloud providers for not offering design patterns, it’s essential to remember that traditionally, these frameworks were often delivered by the on-prem community. The onus is, perhaps, on them to craft these new-age design patterns tailored for cloud integrations.

A New Dawn at ONUG Fall

Recognizing the importance of these patterns and the role they play, ONUG Fall in NYC on Oct 24/25 aims to be a guiding light for network engineers. The event promises to equip professionals with the tools, i.e., design patterns essential for building enterprise cloud infrastructure effectively. In short, design patterns are empowering for network engineers to build and run cloud infrastructure and its integration with on-prem systems and controls.

The march towards an enterprise cloud-centric world is inevitable. There was a shift left, and now there’s a shift right; the bottom line: you need flexibility in the design pattern. But to make this journey smoother, more efficient, and less daunting, design patterns are not just helpful – they are crucial. By fostering collaboration between vendors, telecom/cloud providers, and the vast community of network engineers, we can pave the way for a standardized approach to cloud integrations, ensuring that the future of enterprise cloud computing is as bright as its potential promises.

Author's Bio

Nick Lippis