The Cloud Native trend typically focuses on the developer scenario - How they can become more productive through Continuous Deployment practices, microservices software architecture, and so on.
However considering the broader IT needs of the enterprise as a whole including networking, also highlights just how impactful, valuable and lucrative the trend will be.
Software Defined Everything: Harnessing Application Containerization
On Forbes.com, Jason Bloomberg eloquently describes the broader market trend this represents, the shift to "Software Defined Everything" as an overall strategy for Enterprise IT, design and management.
In short, if you can achieve a common virtualization approach then you can greatly simplify much of your IT management challenges that arise from the complexity of legacy and vendor platforms. With all forms of enterprise software, including networking, available via containerized packages, and deployable and manageable to providers like AWS and Azure via common management methods, then much of this stress and workload can be lifted from the enterprise IT team.
Why maintain multiple vendor relationships and proprietary technologies like Cisco / MPLS for networking, VMware and IBM for the data center, and so on, when you can standardize around a common and universally agreed Cloud Native approach of 'Application Containerization'.
From Chaos to Containers
InfoWorld covers this theme and its potential in this article from Editor in Chief Eric Knorr: From Chaos to Containers.
With much of the 'plumbing', automation, billing, and other common functions delegated to the 'container layer', then developers (including vendors) can focus at more abstracted, value add layers of innovation, and commoditized IaaS leveraged for global scale and resilience, harnessing the emergent ecosystem of adoption tools and innovations surrounding population platforms like Docker and Kubernetes.
The critical challenge that Eric highlights is legacy modernization — every large enterprise has an existing IT estate that features all makes and models of technology invented, highlighting the example of Ticketmaster who operate an emulated VAX mainframe. It also spans across new delivery models — SaaS is now widely used multiple times across most enterprise organizations, from simple project tools through to Google Apps for the entire email, as well as revenue critical apps like CRM or ERP.
So developers creating new microservice apps for cool new web functions is but one part of an overall spectrum of IT needs that containers can address, and that are still essential, including equally critical but not as complex requirements like networking, offering 'low hanging fruit' opportunity areas for applying the technologies now, with considerable benefit. Additional areas like legacy integrations can then be factored in too over time, maximizing the investment yield.