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AWS ushers in new era of cloud-native applications

This week, bloggers explore the arrival of cloud-native applications and platforms, as well as recap the 2016 RSA Conference and assess a new SD-WAN security offering that says no to MPLS.

In a recent blog post, Gartner analyst Yefim Natis compared today's cloud application platforms to "radio on TV"...

-- the early days of television that featured a radio announcer reading off of a script. But that could be changing. The introduction of Lambda, Amazon Web Services' new architecture, is ushering in a new era of what he termed cloud-native applications. Lambda, he said, goes beyond platform as a service frameworks that placed basic service-oriented architecture in the cloud, or in the case of OpenShift and Cloud Foundry, introduced some cloud elements to the architecture.

In context of cloud-native applications, Natis reminded IT professionals about a Gartner report from 1997 that highlighted the emergence of Java. Now, he said he believes it's time for a new report on "Born-on-the-Cloud Microevent Application Platforms," as AWS kicks off born-in-the-cloud, cloud-native applications and microservices-based platforms to support them. In fact, he pointed to the arrival of Lambda as a watershed event, spurring other vendors to launch similar services, such as IBM OpenWhisk and Google Cloud Functions. Natis said he anticipates similar releases soon from Oracle, SAP, Red Hat, Microsoft and others.

Read more of Natis' thoughts on cloud-native applications.

Revisiting the 2016 RSA Conference

Jon Oltsik,  an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., recapped the 2016 RSA Conference in San Francisco to highlight a few of the key trends that emerged. Above all, he said it's time to go beyond product categorization. With budgeting and tasks structured around specialized products, Oltsik reminded professionals of the need to find interoperability, citing the integration between endpoint and network security offered by vendors, such as Hexis Cyber Solutions, Cisco, Fidelis, Symantec and Trend Micro.

Oltsik also warned about spending too much time focusing on technology functionality and buzz -- terms such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and threat intelligence -- as opposed to what outcomes those systems actually offer. In the search for better results, and in light of the massive cybersecurity skills gap, he said he believes companies should find as many opportunities as possible to offload workloads and reduce costs through managed security services. He added that cybersecurity professionals need to become accustomed to working with the cloud control plane to ease deployment and avoid complicated configuration for servers and software.

Explore more of Oltsik's comments on the 2016 RSA Conference.

Mixing SD-WAN appliances and security

Drew Conry-Murray, a blogger with Packet Pushers, recently reviewed Cato Networks' new SD-WAN appliance offering for unified security. The new service hosts firewalling and URL filtering in points of presence through Amazon's cloud. It calls its 1 Gbps deployed physical or virtual SD-WAN appliances "sockets." Each socket can support multiple links. Interestingly, Cato does not support MPLS. "We want MPLS to die," Cato co-founder and CTO Gur Shatz told Conry-Murray. Instead, connectivity relies on 3G and broadband. Conry-Murray added that the new service, although focused on security, does much more. For instance, he said customers gain visibility into traffic, Web usage and applications.

Conry-Murray noted that some commentators are skeptical, seeing potential SD-WAN tradeoffs. Nevertheless, the ability of startups, such as Cato, to begin with a clean slate means potential for tighter integration and better performance. He added that Cato's system uses a unique routing algorithm, instead of standard network protocols, to navigate nodes and topology.

Read Conry-Murray's review of Cato Networks.

Next Steps

Understanding cloud-native apps

Special coverage of RSA 2016

SD-WAN provides hybrid network security

Dig Deeper on Cloud Computing Architecture

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Do you think we are just beginning to see the arrival of true cloud-native applications? Why or why not?
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Yes, it's very early days. Around Silicon Valley, the talent depth is growing. But outside the Valley, it's a 3-5 lags in the skills. The good news is that much of it is being developed in open-source and the community is actively sharing examples, experience and best-practices. 
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