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CN&C: Has Cloud Killed the Data Center? [webinar]


Recently, we launched a webinar series called Cloud Native & Coffee. In these conversations, the Mirantis team invites special guests to discuss cloud native concepts that are currently impacting the industry. Our inaugural session — "Has Cloud Killed the Data Center?" —premiered last month with special guest Jacob Smith, VP of Bare Metal Strategy and Marketing at Equinix.

Below you will find an excerpt from this session along with a transcript so you can follow along. To listen to the entire conversation, view this webinar on demand.


Did Cloud Kill Datacenters?

Jacob Smith: Well, so latency, proximity, and the other word I think we are kind of dancing around is ecosystems. Did cloud kill datacenters? I think it accelerated a move out of siloed infrastructure and siloed environments to more connected and ecosystem-driven ones. Cloud being a very rich ecosystem, each of the clouds actually, and all of the clouds together. And that’s what determines a lot of these things: I want access to Stripe, and I want access to my security vendor and my partners. They’re everywhere. That’s one part, and the other ones are, like, who are you trying to reach? You know, you’re trying to reach people through Verizon. You’re trying to reach people through whatever, Shaun, whatever you have in Berlin, these are all things that determine, in the end, why is Uber slow today? Or what kind of other thing I’m trying to do as a person.

Adam Parco: Jacob, would you say that Kubernetes bridges that gap a bit, with the private datacenter, where it could kind of bring along that ecosystem?

Jacob Smith: I think that Kubernetes—buzzword time, Kubernetes, Kubernetes—I remember talking a lot with Dan Kohn when he was just starting the Cloud Native Computing Foundation because we were in the same neighborhood in New York. And debating cloud native Kubernetes, is that a word? What are we gonna do? But I love it now because everyone understands it sort of to be like a control plane experience. It normalizes a lot of things. And I completely agree, will there be a next Kubernetes? Of course. But for now, I think Kubernetes, there’s a lot to it, it’s not easy. You guys know, you run Kubernetes for people, but the idea of Kubernetes as a sort of normalization layer, that abstracts just enough, I think is super relevant to that promise of, like, put it where you need to put it, and let it move at the speed it needs to move.

Adam Parco: Kubernetes is one thing, but even more, I guess, like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, and the ecosystem that comes along with it. Right? Like you said, if you want payments, or you want Ingress, or whatever. Just plug and play. Build your own cloud.

Jacob Smith: Absolutely. We have a little tagline internally, which is like your vision statement that everyone has tattooed on your arm or whatever? Or on your coffee cup, it could be your coffee cup. We say, "Digital leaders will consume on demand, globally, from an ecosystem of providers." They’ll assemble infrastructure and stuff from an ecosystem of providers. And it’s that exact cloud native promise which is, boop, boop, boop. Some of it I created, some of it I bought, some of it is open source, and you’re assembling that because you’re trying to differentiate. You’re trying to do something at scale, you’re trying to do something differently.

Public Clouds & the Datacenter

Nick Chase: So would you consider that as a place for sort of niche providers in a world where we tend to think of you know public cloud as, you know, AWS, Google, Microsoft? But what about, you know, so-called niche players?

Jacob Smith: I look at it as bell curve versus non-bell curve. You could call it niche, but most businesses that are really scaled are not homogeneous with others. You could probably pick any two mobile carriers and their architectures and the way they do business can be very different, but how many mobile carriers are there? Like five in the US, four, and so that’s an example to me about bell curve versus not.

And I think public cloud, as it currently is, and it’s evolving, and so we can’t just go on and say it’s the only way. Public cloud was designed for, I think, the 80 percent bell curve especially, and that doesn’t mean that the other stuff is not more niche for sure, but it’s also huge. It’s more about a “yes, and…” conversation rather than an “either, or…” That’s what we have to help make possible, and you can even see with the public clouds kind of reaching into private infrastructure and, in their own ways, trying to solve for that problem.

Custom Clouds

Shaun O’Meara: That’s an interesting one, because everything you’re talking about here is this idea of, okay, having an ecosystem of SaaS companies, and I say that meaning SaaS providers. If you’re building out in a more traditional model where you’re using containers, you’re using sort of a virtualization, you’re putting your own software down, you’re probably using one of those big three providers if you’re using cloud. So do you think that the cloud providers are likely to get to the point where they will allow you to have true portability across the three different companies that are competing with each other, or is it up to somebody else to create that abstraction layer across those cloud providers forcing them to become commoditized?

Jacob Smith: “Yes, and…” I mean, I don’t know. I have enormous respect for the public clouds and their ability to execute and prosecute business. It’s an amazing – they’re all amazing businesses. So we’ll give it that.

Shaun O’Meara: I’m not knocking them at all.

Jacob Smith: You wouldn’t plan anything out. Right?

Shaun O’Meara: Right.

Jacob Smith: I think that there are - I forget what our Silicon friends calls it - custom clouds, right? Expertise in mobility and autonomy. Expertise in media and entertainment. Expertise in the challenges that each company or industry faces. We’ll see a lot of verticalized solutions – I mean, look at Zoom. Zoom was a particular vertical until it became a whole thing. And that’s an interesting example of, well, what’s the infrastructure software and overall solutions that’s gonna enable that kind of vertical. I would think we’re going to have a lot of custom clouds going forward at a very big scale, and that number will grow as we find new workloads that need to suddenly be huge.

Save Your Seat

If you are interested in hearing more of this conversation, view the full webinar on demand.

Save your seat now for the next Cloud Native & Coffee: Migrating legacy applications to cloud native. Is it worth it? presented via LinkedIn Live on Thursday October 21st at 8:00AM PDT. Mirantis Field CTO Shaun O’Meara and CTO Adam Parco will be presenting along with a new special guest. We hope to see you there.

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