SDN start-up targets enterprise WAN complexity

An SDN start-up this week emerged from stealth mode to propose a software-defined answer to challenges vexing administrators of an enterprise WAN.

Equipped with $9 million in Series A funding, CloudGenix is offering a software-defined enterprise WAN (SDEwan) designed for hybrid clouds and a mobile workforce. SDEwan is designed to virtualize enterprise networks and securely enable access to cloud and data center applications, while reducing remote office infrastructure requirements.

"The WAN or branch is ripe for disruption" through SDN, says Lee Doyle, principal at Doyle Research. "They're trying to simplify the mess we have with branch operations."

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CloudGenix officials did not discuss product or implementation specifics, merely concept and approach. But they said the market for their products is $5 billion in remote branch office WAN infrastructure and operations.

The CloudGenix platform is based on a business policy framework with cloud-based control, designed to automate the rollout of cloud-based applications to remote offices while maintaining regulatory and business practice compliance. SDEwan is intended to enable scale of enterprise WANs based on business intent rather than technology constraints, connecting users to applications rather than connecting locations only.

This is aligned with where Cisco is taking WANs with its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and InterCloud offerings for policy-based networking and hybrid, multiprovider clouds, respectively.

Another software-defined WAN start-up, Glue Networks, is focused on policy-based orchestration, configuration and management of Cisco WANs, and supports Cisco's ACI Policy Controller (APIC) Enterprise Module. CloudGenix says SDEwan supports Cisco and non-Cisco branch routers as well, including those from Adtran, OneAccess and HP.

SDEwan virtualizes networks and assigns application-specific business and IT policies, says CloudGenix CEO Kumar Ramachandran. As applications are delivered from public, private and hybrid clouds, SDEwan allows IT to enforce security, performance and compliance policies in a location-independent manner.

The CloudGenix product virtualizes a hybrid infrastructure of MPLS, best effort Internet and 4G/LTE networks, Ramachandran says. It also centralizes network functions such as firewalling, threat detection and data leakage prevention, while distributing enforcement of those security policies out to remote sites.

The idea is to reduce the amount of equipment and administration necessary at the branch office, ease management and optimize WAN utilization, Ramachandran says.

CloudGenix is staffed with officials from Cisco, Juniper, Facebook and Palo Alto Networks. Investors are CRV and Mayfield Fund. The company was founded in March 2013 and is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 28 years, 23 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

Tags networking hardwareSDNNetworkingCloudGenixLAN & WAN

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