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Startup Puts WAN Twist on Software-Defined Networking

CloudGenix will apply SDN techniques to networks in distributed locations.

In the new age of hybrid cloud infrastructure and mobile-first computing, startup CloudGenix Inc. emerged from stealth mode armed with $9 million to put a wide-area networking (WAN) twist on the exploding arena of software-defined networking (SDN).

CloudGenix seeks to apply SDN techniques -- such as centralized policy and network management via abstraction of lower-level functionality -- to networks in distributed remote offices or data centers connected by a WAN, whereas most SDN solutions today target individual sites.

The company calls its SDN solution targeting remote offices "software-defined enterprise WAN" (SDEwan), adding yet another acronym to the networking industry lexicology. Its goal is to "unleash the benefits of software-defined infrastructure across the enterprise," according to CEO Kumar Ramachandran.

SDEwan features three main components: business policy abstraction, policy-driven hybrid network virtualization and network function projection.

Business policy abstraction aims to connect users and apps, rather than just locations. "As applications are delivered from dynamic locations, including private, public, and hybrid clouds, CloudGenix business-intent-based policy abstraction allows IT to enforce security, performance and compliance policies in a location-independent manner," the company said.

The CloudGenix SDEwan
[Click on image for larger view.] The CloudGenix SDEwan
(source: CloudGenix Inc.)

Hybrid network virtualization involves virtualizing WANs according to business and IT policies to deliver applications, rather than having to manage and configure traditional virtual private networks (VPNs), access control lists (ACLs) and quality-of-service (QoS).

Network function projection involves centralizing network services such as firewalls and threat-prevention systems and projecting their functionality to remote offices, in contrast to the traditional way of deploying hybrid WANs by separately deploying physical or virtual network services to each office. This reportedly results in a 5x reduction in remote office device footprints.

The SDEwan solution "virtualizes enterprise networks and securely brings together users and high-performance cloud and data center applications, while radically reducing remote office infrastructure requirements," the company said in a statement.

The CloudGenix pitch
[Click on image for larger view.] The CloudGenix pitch
(source: CloudGenix Inc.)

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup is privately held with $9 million in backing from Charles River Ventures and the Mayfield Fund. Ramachandran, who previously worked at Cisco Systems Inc., founded the company last year.

CloudGenix said its market opportunity is driven by two major trends: the transformation of resources in IT departments from hardware to software through means such as server virtualization; and hybrid cloud and virtualized applications.

"The traditional data center is being disaggregated by the hybrid application delivery model including public clouds, SaaS and virtualized data centers," the company said. "At the same time, remote office business initiatives for Omni-channel, bandwidth-intensive collaboration and support for new devices are growing. In addition, enterprises are looking to deploy policy-compliant hybrid WANs.

"Incumbent solutions for this new hybrid enterprise are not only extremely complex to deploy, they also need a large number of remote office physical or virtual machines to manage."

The company invited potential customers to sign up for a beta release of its software via e-mail. No specific release time-frame was given.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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