Aviatrix Simplifies Public Cloud Networking
Networking is hard. It’s been hard since the early days of computing. It was hard with the rise of the x86-based data center, when commodity servers became a thing and moved into racks by the tens, dozens and hundreds. Having servers and other computers talk to each other is difficult enough when each wire is connected to a physical device, whether it’s a server or desktop or router or switch.
Virtualization only added to the complexity. Now virtual machines (VMs) needed to talk to each other, too. And these VMs, thanks to virtualization, could move anywhere in the network, including onto different hosts. They could be created and destroyed easily. And because of this, VMs proliferated like crazy. It’s a situation that has gotten even harder in the cloud era, where VMs (and other virtual constructs like containers) can leave the data center, and even leave the cloud they’re on.
So when I hear a company say that they specialize in “software-defined cloud routing,” I think to myself, “They have set themselves quite a task.” At Cloud Field Day 4, Aviatrix explained how they’re handling that task. Aviatrix Vice-President Frank Cabri said during the presentation that they want “networking to be simple in the cloud,” and they “don’t want to bring the complexity of the on-premises environment to the cloud.”
Aviatrix Gateways are deployed in virtual private clouds (VPCs) to support cloud networking use cases that include AWS global transit networks, remote user VPN and VPC egress security. Basically, the gateways are cloud routers that serve as the bridge between the various bits of an organization’s infrastructure – an infrastructure getting more dense and complicated all the time. Aviatrix currently works with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Public Cloud (GPC).
The magic that ties all this together is the Aviatrix Controller, and it’s just gotten an upgrade. In June 2018, Aviatrix announced its Hosted Service, and claims that it’s the first-ever “Networking-as-a-Service” offering. This can be a big help if you’ve got a lot of VPCs floating around and staffers that are already overworked or not networking specialists; handling the setup, configuration and maintenance of the Controller on-premises could be challenging, especially if you’re spinning up new VPCs on a regular basis.
I think the Hosted Service will be a hit with customers, since it offers relief for a major pain point for many companies. As said at the beginning, networking is mysterious to many admins, even those who are very experienced with it. It’s filled with frustration, from fat-fingering IP addresses to tracking down latency problems to trying to monitor it all, especially as VPCs take on more importance in the burgeoning cloud era.
Aviatrix did an outstanding job presenting their product at Cloud Field Day 4, and it was refreshing to see such a hard-tech company headed by a woman, founder and CEO Sherry Wei. She was a presenter as well, and a highly engaging one at that.
Aviatrix is currently aimed at the enterprise, and I imagine it will mostly stay there; a shop with just a few connections wouldn’t have a need (or, likely, the budget) for this level of automation. But for those who need cloud-scale routing, I can see this being a product that will surely grab their attention. Maybe networking doesn’t have to be so hard after all.
The first video of Aviatrix’s presentation can be found here.