This featured interview with CloudGenix CEO, Kumar Ramachandran, is a part of the ongoing ONUG CEO Corner Series.
In the last few years, the rise of cloud computing and its complexities has given rise to a crop of precocious start-ups, causing a gradual but dramatic shift in the networking industry.
Most enterprises, typically tied to older, hardware-based networking architectures, are weighed down by vendor lock-ins, computing silos, and exorbitant operational costs. The mix of cloud computing into this equation has raised serious security, scaling and monumental network management issues. This climate has made for a great opening for the start-ups rolling out comprehensive, secure, scalable, yet simple software defined networking solutions that work with hybrid cloud computing environments.
These companies, along with leading, established providers, are crucial to ONUG’s goal to bring SDN open solutions to the enterprise. In an effort to get a better understanding of the on-going vision of these start-up and incumbent providers, ONUG brings you the CEO Corner Series.
ONUG: What is the genesis of CloudGenix? What catalysts in the networking landscape fueled your start-up?
Ramachandran: We were seeing three major trends – first, new application delivery models, with the cloud and mobile driving new traffic patterns in the remote offices; second, a transition to hybrid network models that are agnostic to the underlying transports (MPLS/Internet/LTE); and, third, a demand for a security model that elastically delivers data-center class of security to the edge of the networks.
As an IT person myself, I had experienced first-hand how the legacy hardware model of fragmented control, routing protocols, and packet-based networking deny enterprise IT the agility needed to adapt to these changing business needs.
At CloudGenix, we transform the way the Wide Area Network (WAN) is built by using software, eliminating the need for fragmented routing protocols, and delivering an application-defined fabric for the network.
ONUG: What is your vision, and how do you deliver on that?
Ramachandran: Our vision is to transform networking so latencies between business intent and IT execution are eliminated. Using CloudGenix solution, for the very first time in the industry, networks can be built without having to learn about complex routing protocols, or deploying proprietary hardware to the remote offices. You can specify your application policies in a business- and IT-friendly language to build the network. This transforms not only the economics of the WAN, but helps businesses to rapidly roll out new services and applications.
Indeed, we reduce WAN costs and complexity by a factor of 10x to 100x by moving from hardware to software, from legacy networking models to application-defined fabrics, and delivering a location-independent model for security.
With CloudGenix, the network is built to accomplish three fundamental benefits: high end-user performance for business critical applications, delivering security and business policy compliance, and lastly, ensuring a rapid IT response for new business initiatives.
Importantly, we enable customers to quickly and safely try the technology in production environments. Customers can start by layering the CloudGenix solution on top of the existing infrastructure, take advantage of hybrid WAN cost savings, and over time, retire their legacy network infrastructure. The open APIs and other interfaces allow us to easily integrate with an enterprise’s existing operational processes such that the learning curve for customers is minimal to non-existent.
Our customers typically see 50 percent to 80 percent savings in WAN costs in their remote offices, and 50+ percent savings in operational costs in addition to gaining the ability to deploy in their remote offices new bandwidth-intensive applications from the cloud or data center.
ONUG: CloudGenix is emerging as an early leader in SD-WAN solutions. Can you describe your product portfolio and target audience?
Ramachandran: The CloudGenix ION (Instant-ON) solution is composed of two components: the controller, which is delivered as a cloud-based service, or hosted in the customer’s data-center and, second, a WAN edge software that can be hosted on the customer’s server or packaged as an appliance.
Our customers include a broad spectrum of large and medium-sized enterprises across multiple verticals including finance, banking, retail, manufacturing, service, healthcare, development, and service provider spaces.
ONUG: Going forward, what can enterprise IT customers look for from CloudGenix? And, what challenges does CloudGenix face?
Ramachandran: CloudGenix is changing the status quo of networking as it has stayed for 25+ years. Complexity, proprietary hardware and fragmented models of application delivery are being replaced by simplicity, software and, centralized control. CloudGenix uniquely provides a deployment model that allows customers to absorb this class of innovation in a gradual manner, working seamlessly with existing infrastructure.
SD-WAN has the potential for explosive customer growth, and we have to stay focused on both customer-satisfaction and customer-acquisition at the same time. This is a great challenge to have, and one that we have navigated very successfully.
ONUG: How are the new SD-WAN solutions affecting the traditional MPLS implementations and their demand?
Ramachandran: Many carriers have had to compete on margin points, because connectivity (MPLS or Internet) has become commoditized. With CloudGenix, service providers have the opportunity to offer an application fabric that offers high performance, security, compliance and resiliency to their customers. This new model enables them to provide differentiated offerings, rather than commoditized services. In fact, the service providers are following (and in some cases leading) the enterprise customer demand for such solutions.
ONUG: As you know, ONUG is about open solutions and interoperability. How can CloudGenix contribute to further those goals?
Ramachandran: Customers expect interoperability at three levels: ability to interoperate with existing infrastructure without rip-replace requirements; gradually introduce SD-WAN to parts of their organization while others are running legacy hardware networks; and, the ability to integrate easily with their operational systems and processes. We fulfill each one of these requirements and, provide open interfaces from our controller for programmability and data analytics. Our intent is to enable customers to embrace innovation in a safe and agile manner.