Cloud WAN provider Pertino Networks introduced an app store of virtual network services that allows customers to add new capabilities to their networks with a click.
Pertino Networks' cloud: Bring your own WAN
Pertino's Cloud Network Engine is a simple alternative to VPNs for small companies. A company can create a virtual network within Pertino's cloud in minutes, and users can access that virtual network by downloading Pertino software onto their devices. With nodes located strategically in 35 cloud data centers across the globe, Pertino said it is able to deliver fast connectivity to its cloud in most markets. Users access their Pertino networks through an Internet connection. Once user traffic reaches Pertino's cloud, the provider applies customers' access and connectivity policies and settings. Then Pertino forwards traffic through its cloud so packets exit its network at an egress point that is geographically close to their destination. The result is faster and more secure than simply connecting via the public Internet, Pertino said.
"The idea behind Pertino is you have this integrated network connection capability that automatically binds a whole set of systems together on their own private network. It's managing interconnection, doing appropriate filtering and connectivity path management, and it does this through a set of nodes. It's kind of like a self-aggregating VPN that takes care of all the tricky parts of creating an interconnection plane," said Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at New York-based 451 Research.
Pertino Networks' app store for virtual network services
Pertino's app store, AppScape, lets customers add Pertino Cloud Network Services -- such as security, visibility, optimization and compliance -- with a few clicks.
For many smaller companies, adding network services and security to the WAN is nearly impossible because they lack the budget and the expertise.
"It's really challenging for these companies because you have to get an appliance," said Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research. "This is taking that complexity and putting it in the cloud and offering it as a service."
"We are taking the function and segregating that from policy and configuration," said Todd Krautkremer, Pertino's vice president of marketing. Pertino eliminates the operational headaches of configuring these services by replicating a customer's original network policies and configurations across multiple service functions, he said.
Pertino's first AppScape application is GeoView, a free, real-time network mapping tool. The company promises to roll out more Pertino and third-party apps on a quarterly basis, including a GeoFencing app that allows a customer to set up alerts if users log into the network from an unusual location, for instance if a user who has never left North Dakota suddenly logs in from Russia.
Pertino hasn't revealed what third-party vendors might offer services through AppScape, but Krautkremer said his customers will be looking for the best value, not necessarily the best of breed.
"We want [our partners] to have a very cloud-centric approach," he said. "There will be a set of products that will not be able to work with us because they are too hardware-centric. But we find there are players who have embraced cloud architectures, particularly in security."
The selling of services through a provider like Pertino highlights the conundrum that many network services vendors are facing as the industry migrates to a virtualized, cloud business model.
"All the network appliances have banked on the idea that hardware appliances are very sticky because of their physical nature," said 451 Research's Hanselman. "It's now much easier to switch vendors because you can click and have a new capability. The transition cost has dropped dramatically."
Without a box taking up rack space in a customer's infrastructure, these vendors will have to compete on brand and enhanced functionality, he said.