Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure Trends And Startups To Watch
(Author’s Note: This is the second in a multipart series based on our Futuriom 50 research series on promising cloud technology startups. The first part is here.)
You might have read the news about a potential business slowdown and layoffs. This has given technology managers reason to deeply evaluate their future cloud strategy and will likely increasingly point them to hybrid and multicloud infrastructure.
Why hybrid and multicloud? In our discussions with cloud technologists, they say they want a cloud infrastructure that can more efficiently manage and integrate the myriad applications, data, and infrastructure in the cloud, including their own infrastructure. They also want to take back some control, rather than handing all the keys to the public cloud giants.
Hybrid and multicloud technologies are also the perfect trends for the current environment, because they are about building better operational efficiency into the technology infrastructure. This is something Mark Zuckerberg talked about yesterday on the Meta earnings call. Look for this to evolve in 2023.
Many of the startups in this area offer direct return on investment (ROI) by offering more efficient ways of operating in a downturn that appeals to technology managers and chief financial officers (CFOs) alike. Let’s dive into individual trends and some promising young companies to watch in hybrid and multicloud infrastructure, as identified in our recent Futuriom 50 report.
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More Clouds Means Hybrid Infrastructure
The first stop: cloud networking. If you want to boil it down, more cloud means hybrid and multicloud infrastructure. As data from our 2022 multicloud networking (MCN) survey shows, most of those surveyed (63%) are now using 2-3 cloud services, with 17% using more than three. In addition, 87% of the 102 director-level and above IT and networking managers surveyed see MCN investment over the next 1-5 years.
To connect all these clouds, you need MCN. The cloud providers themselves have built enormous amounts of infrastructure that can be used to span the globe, but you may also want to connect a private data center, branch offices, or applications running on partners’ infrastructure.
A wide range of MCN tools are emerging to help managers build dynamic networks connecting both private and public cloud infrastructure, including leveraging their installed traditional infrastructure. Typically, MCN solutions use network abstraction and overlays to tie together public and private cloud networking infrastructure.
Some startups to watch in the MCN area:
MCN pioneer Aviatrix has a networking platform designed to help managers build and manage multicloud and hybrid cloud networking in one place, including helping with visibility, compliance, and security. Aviatrix has raised $340 million at a multibillion-dollar valuation.
Prosimo is focused on multicloud networking at the application level, supplying tools designed for connecting cloud networks and workloads with zero-trust security and better operational visibility. Cofounder and CEO Ramesh Prabagaran is a veteran of the networking industry with experience at Cisco, Viptela, and Juniper Networks.
Graphiant is looking to solve the headaches of maintaining security and quality of service for apps with a “stateless core” approach that moves networking control to software at the edge.
There’s also a lot of innovation happening in cloud-based networking and operations. DriveNets has built the first cloud-native, megascale networking platform for the telecommunications industry, which can also run analytics and monitoring functions using a scale-out architecture based on whiteboxes. Cofounder and CEO Ido Susan has a track record of innovating in the communications industry, and the company has raised almost $600 million, which makes it a promising initial public offering (IPO) candidate.
Arrcus provides open networking solutions for 5G, edge, and access networks with a highly scalable, ultra-low latency, and carrier-grade network operating system and services platform. Founded by an experienced team from Cisco and Broadcom and headed by former VMware executive Shekar Ayyar, Arrcus promises to lower the cost of operating multicloud networking at scale.
The open networking movement, which started in the public cloud, is moving to the enterprise on-prem market to enable hybrid infrastructure and private cloud networks. Aviz Networks is developing a full suite for managing and orchestrating open networking using SONiC, focusing on orchestration and visibility. The Aviz team has decades of experience in the networking and application domains and comes from the likes of NVIDIA, AWS, Cisco, F5, and LinkedIn.
Hedgehog is building an automation and networking stack for SONiC and Kubernetes environments, focusing on bringing better ease-of-use to the cloud-native world with an open-source networking platform.
NetDevOps for Hybrid Cloud
As you can see, there is a lot of innovation going on in networking for multicloud and hybrid cloud. That’s going to require better management and integration with myriad cloud platforms and applications.
Another key trend in cloud is the infrastructure-as-code (IaC) approach, which enables infrastructure to be programmed and automated with code and orchestration programmed into the applications. We believe this trend will be integrated into NetDevOps to use monitoring and analytics to drive more automation into cloud infrastructure.
Several of the companies in the monitoring and analytics space for NetDevOps include Kentik and NetBrain. Kentik unifies app, user, and customer data with network traffic in real time. The goal is to tie every network event or analysis to something that matters – revenue and costs, customer and user experience, performance, and risk. NetBrain’s Problem Diagnosis Automation System (PDAS) is a no-code, multivendor network operations platform designed to address the cost of Day-2 operations at scale.
Itential, another interesting private company to watch, has built a suite of low-code and no-code automation tools to help managers operationalize complex network configuration and orchestration tasks using an IaC approach. Blending data with actionable management of networking is also gaining momentum and will be part of the NetDevOps movement.
Managing Code and APIs in a Multicloud World
Modern hybrid and multicloud infrastructure means more application programming interfaces (APIs) as well as the need for better management of code in general. Code and APIs will need to be managed and secured. There are several intriguing private companies in this space with the potential for IPO.
Kong provides a cloud-native API platform designed to help create better ways to manage and connect with APIs. Wib, led by veteran entrepreneur Gil Don, aims to be the world’s most comprehensive API security platform, providing detailed API inventory and security management.
EngFlow’s tools help developers work more efficiently by providing a platform for managing and sharing code for builds and testing. Another interesting company in the code management space is SonarSource, which provides a DevOps platform designed to examine and analyze code to ensure that it is clean and secure.
SASE Reaches Out to the Cloud
The trend toward hybrid and multicloud will also spur more activity in the secure access service edge (SASE) and software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) areas. These technologies started as ways to automate and secure enterprise edge networking platforms but now can become tools for multicloud and hybrid connectivity. Many companies in this space that Futuriom tracked over the years have already been acquired (CloudGenix, Silver Peak, Viptela, and VeloCloud), but the remaining leaders have developed into strong independent companies with IPO potential.
Aryaka Networks provides managed SD-WAN and SASE services with zero-trust security features, including private layer 2 and layer 3 networking options for middle-mile connectivity.
Cato Networks provides global connectivity across a private network of 65+ points of presence (PoPs) with a full security suite, routing, and service-level agreements.
Versa Networks provides an artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML)-powered SASE and SD-WAN platform with true multitenancy and sophisticated analytics via the cloud, on premises infrastructure, or a blended combination of both. It has also recently focused on solutions to enable MCN.
As you can see, there is a wide range of interesting companies spanning many aspects of multicloud and hybrid cloud infrastructure. We’ll continue this series next week to talk about startups in the unified cloud security space.