At our Analyst Day in San Francisco on June 1, I followed Scott Fulton’s presentation on our product road map with a talk of my own on how we see the future of network services. It’s an exciting and energizing new era ahead of us. Here’s a condensed version of my presentation.
At Infoblox, we have a strong belief system about the future of networks and their services. We believe:
- Applications that started out in the data center will fan out to the Internet and become more distributed and analytics-driven.
- Networks will become increasingly application aware, especially with software-defined networks; applications will tell the network what they need to run.
- Hybrid clouds will become the dominant IT operating paradigm.
- Applications and network services – including ours, such as the Domain Name System (DNS) – will increasingly be delivered as a service.
- Security used to be about keeping the bad guys out; about it will shift to detecting problems quickly and taking action.
- Tomorrow’s networks will run on commodity CPUs.
What does that mean for Infoblox? As experts in core network services, we believe DHCP is the entry point to the network. We deliver our services in a highly available distributed architecture. That puts us in a good position to take advantage of emerging trends, whether in cloud, the Internet of Things, analytics, or security. Let’s look at what we’re thinking about in each of these areas.
XaaS. We’re looking to develop Infoblox in the cloud, creating and provisioning DDI and reporting services. Whatever the customer can do on-premises with DNS, DHCP and IP address management (DDI), we intend to do in the cloud. We intend to help manage installs, upgrades, patching, backups, restores, and capacity planning. The customer only has to manage their DNS, DHCP, and IPAM.
Internet of Things. There may be as many as 25 billion connected devices on the Internet by 2020. They will all need IP addresses. They will all need to talk to other things, so they’ll need DNS. We believe they’re going to rely on highly distributed services such as the Infoblox Grid.
Analytics. We believe customers are going to want to gather large amounts of data from diverse locations and aggregate it quickly, perform real-time analytics, and extract value from it. Some of the data they’ll want to analyze is core to our business. That’s why we’re developing capabilities for a big data platform, one that can benefit from machine learning and behaviorial analysis.
Security. We have developed prototypes of streaming analytics applications that process a stream of data from our own network grid to see who’s talking to whom. It allows us to detect anomalies, which may include shadow IT, malware and other malicious software. Based our position in the network, we have the ability to invoke remediation actions, or can partner with other security vendors to do so.
Given these capabilities, how are we thinking about our next-generation platform architecture? There’s a lot going on in the industry, so we expect to make some fundamental changes. We are looking to move towards a container-based microservices architecture, allowing us to scale quickly, with cloud-like behavior. We’ll have to have agility, so customers can reduce the time it takes to put applications on their network from weeks to hours. We will work to ensure security is baked in at the application layer, not added on. We will also make sure the architecture is open, so customers can take advantage of innovations much more quickly.
All this is necessary because of the explosion of IP addresses and greater reliance on the core services we offer. We’re going to build on the platform that got us to where we are today, using open-source and other emerging technologies, that will help enable us to continue to deliver value for our customers.
(If you want to watch my full 23-minute presentation, the replay is available here.)