Faced with the challenges brought by the digital economy, businesses need increasingly agile networks and data centers. While Software Defined Network solutions have emerged, their adoption is still complex and slowed down by the disparate approaches followed by software and hardware vendors. Praveen Vengalam, one of three founders of the startup Anuta Networks, explained how Anuta has set to provide immediate agility to the network in a simple to use package.
Startups play a role as accelerator of the digital transformation. Startups are riding high, making those big corporations, which are entangled in their infrastructures with no time to modernize, envy their creativity and agility. Some of them are revolutionizing practices in their field while others, like Anuta Networks, are actually enabling infrastructures to support new ways of doing business. They provide agility to large enterprises and Cloud providers while taking into account their constraints. They complement the portfolio of the current vendors rather than forcing a big bang.
Praveen Vengalam, VP Engineering, co-founded Anuta Networks in 2010 together with Chandu Guntakala as President, CEO and Srini Beereddy as CTO. The trio had already demonstrated its ability to build products that address market needs. In 2003 the same team founded Jahi Networks, acquired by Cisco the following year. That experience gives the founding team the right experience to address demanding market needs in transforming IT needs including simplifying the design and automation of networks.
Applications can no longer afford to cope with network constraints. The digital transformation is leading companies into creating new practices and optimizing their processes. At the heart of this transformation are applications, lines of code that give body to new offers and services. Application requirements such as multi-tenancy, segmentation, network services are more and more common while the time to market has become even more shorter. In this sprint, not all IT organizations are equipped to innovate in the orchestration and automation to deliver services quicker. Not surprisingly, agility has become the buzz word and the cloud with its flexibility appeals to more and more companies. All this is not so simple, because making these applications work fine requires co-ordination among physical infrastructure, servers, storage and networking. Agility doesn’t necessarily mean virtual services or SDN, it’s being able to deliver services quicker irrespective of the underlying infrastructure, technology and architectural choice.
The path to SDN is long and full of pitfalls still.Great progress has been made thanks to virtualization for bringing in more agility to the servers. The network remains however a particularly sensitive area. It is critical because it connects applications and their infrastructure to users. It is complex because it consists of many components that are used to transport information (switches, routers) and provide services (security, load balancing, quality of service.). Many components that need to be configured separately. With the advent of Software Defined Network SDN, we are hoping to overcome the physical constraints of the hardware and align closely with the needs of applications in near real time. But as often as it is, good ideas come up against harsh reality! Each vendor is developing its own approach: VMware NSX (born out of the acquisition of Nicira in 2012), Cisco ACI (with the acquisition of Insieme) or HP VAN SDN controller. A variety of approaches that rarely allow to make comfortable choices and more often than not determine the type of physical equipment to be used.
Streamlining automation within business constraints and deadlines. Anuta Networks’s primary objective is to simplify Network Service Delivery with their NCX orchestration software. The software creates an abstraction layer that allows to dispense of knowing the physical characteristics of the hardware devices. It is based on several principles:
- Facilitate network design with a simple “drag and drop” on a GUI
- Quickly define network services via templates regardless of physical devices. In case devices change, templates remain valid. A “reconciliation” mechanism recreates the link between the service template and the new equipment.
- Orchestrating services via a service portal
- The NCX solution is able to support virtually all network devices regardless of the vendor and all environments whether physical, virtualized or in SDN mode. The software implements YANG data modeling standards for modeling network equipment and services. Anuta Network empowers the user or integrator to model network devices that are not already supported. Using YANG, DevOps teams can develop device packages and write applications using a standard data modeling language.Companies or cloud providers can take advantage of agility now and plan their SDN evolution according to their technical and organizational constraints. Anuta Networks develops partnerships with the majority of network and IT vendors to make the task even simpler (see the list of technology partners ).Appealing simplicity. The flexibility brought by Anuta has already attracted big names. The Australian telecommunications operator Telstra is already working with Anuta Networks to automate their cloud networks. NCX integrates with Telstra cloud service portal using the REST APIs. With NCX, one of the top three canadian universities, University of British Columbia UBC makes available all the services of its campus network via a self-service catalog.– Kiran Sirupa, October 15th, 2015.