Aviatrix, the winner of this month's Network Innovation Award, aims to answer a question of growing import in the...
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enterprise: How to enable multiple clouds to communicate with each other?
SearchNetworking sat down with Sreekanth Kannan, senior director of marketing at Aviatrix, to learn more about the company's enterprise cloud-defined networking platform.
Editor's note: This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
What problem does the Aviatrix platform solve?
Sreekanth Kannan: As distributed applications migrate to the cloud, enterprise IT managers must factor in new network complexities. The cloud network is based on the promise of isolation -- isolating resources based on a logical network definition or a logical network architecture.
So, in the terminology of Amazon Web Services, or AWS, those isolated resources are called virtual private clouds, or VPCs. There can be multiple VPCs within the same availability zone, and multiple VPCs spread across multiple availability zones in multiple regions across the globe.
In the lingo of Microsoft, Microsoft Azure uses the term virtual network. The concept is exactly the same: They want to isolate distributed applications based on virtual networks. For example, if you are part of a sales organization, all of your team members -- whether on the West Coast, East Coast, Europe or Asia-Pacific -- want to be on a single virtual private group or a virtual network where all of your sales applications are located.
Similarly, if you are part of the Europe group, which uses a particular set of internet applications, you want to be part of one virtual private network. So these are the logical constructs. When you migrate applications to the cloud, you migrate them to these logical isolated networks. What network managers forget is how to network these VPCs together.
So you need to make the VPCs talk to other VPCs. The highest form of this is when a VPC in one availability zone in a given region that belongs to AWS can speak to a virtual network in a different availability zone of a different region that belongs to Microsoft Azure.
How do you network them in such a way that all of them can talk to each other at any given point in time? That is essentially the problem Aviatrix is solving.
And how does the technology work?
Kannan: Aviatrix's platform uses a secure, intercloud, multicloud network overlay that extends back to the enterprise sites and data centers.
The traditional way everybody has done this is to extend the enterprise network to the cloud. As a cloud-defined network, Aviatrix differentiates itself by originating in the cloud and connecting the enterprise. The center of gravity today is no longer in the enterprise data centers, but in the public cloud infrastructure that is built and managed by the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Google.
What does deployment look like?
Kannan: Aviatrix is a 100% software company. We do not have any hardware infrastructure that you need to buy, deploy or manage.
Our software has two components. The first is a control function -- the Aviatrix Controller. The second is the secure overlay endpoint, which is the Aviatrix Gateway. Both are available in the AWS marketplace, the Azure marketplace and the Google marketplace.
The customer's network can be Amazon and Azure; or Amazon and Google; or just Amazon; or just Azure. They can build the cloud network within the cloud provider’s data center and then connect their enterprise sites by extending the secure overlay. You can do this by instantiating a gateway as a virtual machine in the data center and campus sites, or we can terminate the gateway on your security endpoint, like Cisco, Juniper or Check Point.
What kinds of organizations use enterprise cloud-defined networking? Who are your customers?
Kannan: Our customers include Hyatt, GREE and Fortune 1000 companies. We also have several software-as-a-service customers.
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