The hottest networking startups are leveraging trends like artificial intelligence and interoperability as well as building on tried and true technologies of the past.
Make no mistake, the networking industry is no longer focused on hardware, and the transformation from hardware to software removes many of the major obstacles that networking startups faced in the past. Even the smallest of tech startups can enter the enterprise networking market and potentially shake up the entire industry. Several current trends offer networking startups new opportunities with the promise of using agility, focus and speed to market to catch the networking giants off guard.
One such category is artificial intelligence and analytics. Automation is getting a boost from advanced analytics and predication-based automation that allows the network to make autonomous routing and switching choices based on various factors. This area of networking includes network visibility for hybrid/multi-cloud platforms, intent-based networking, and remote user connectivity.
Another hot trend that is finally gaining the attention of enterprise customers is true interoperability with any and all network and infrastructure vendors. Previously, interoperability was a "nice to have." But these days, it’s an absolute must. Because the network infrastructure creates the building blocks for all other physical and virtual components riding on top of it, everything has to work together. While larger vendors often stick to their proprietary methods and API calls, most networking startups are going the open source route. For many, this is both a refreshing take on the network as well as the right interoperability strategy moving forward.
Lastly, many startups are focusing on taking old, trustworthy technologies and adding something new to the mix to truly revolutionize the network. Whether this is standard routing/switching, Domain Name Services (DNS), or the Wide Area Network (WAN), startups are pursuing new and innovative ways to mix old technologies with brand new functionality.
Join us as we show you some of the hottest networking startups and how they are seeking to change the industry. It’s a wonderful time to be in enterprise networking – and this collection of hot new startups certainly proves that.
Easily the hottest networking trend in 2018 is the emergence of advanced monitoring and artificial intelligence (AI) analytics platforms that help to automatically identify potential service disruptions and route data flows around outages and bottlenecks. Ennetix is one such startup hoping to make a splash in this new genre. Their xNET product, officially announced in March, provides network visibility as well as advanced intelligence to spot network performance issues and fix them in real time. The xNET platform was specifically built to operate in modern hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
The concept of Network as a Service (NaaS) has been around for a while. Yet for most organizations, it has never really made much sense. This is because IT departments were already managing their own private data center networks in-house. However, as more applications, data, and services are migrated to the cloud, large, on-premises corporate data center networks are rapidly becoming extinct.
Compounding this is the fact that employees are no longer located in a single office. Instead, they're choosing to work out of their homes, remote offices, coffee shops and anywhere else they have internet access. Meta Networks is hoping that the demand for NaaS is on the rise. The startup has built a global and secure network that organizations can leverage as an alternative to remotely connecting to the corporate LAN -- only to be re-routed back out to a public cloud provider.
Last year, Brocade was purchased, split and re-branded into so many different companies that it's hard to keep track of which assets went to which company. One of the smaller intellectual property purchases was the acquisition of Brocade's emerging SDN technology by new startup Lumina Networks. Lumina recently completed its Series A funding, which garnered $10 million led by Verizon and AT&T. Lumina's SDN product will likely be an integral part of networking delivery for next-generation wireless services including 5G.
At Cisco Live 2018, Barefoot Networks made quite an impression on attendees by announcing and demonstrating exclusive collaboration between Barefoot and Cisco regarding Cisco's new line of Nexus 3400 series data center switches. Within the Nexus 3400, Barefoot showed how their Smart Programmable Real-Time In-band Network Telemetry (SPRINT) technology operates and provides full visibility into every packet that crosses the switch. SPRINT can then be analyzed using Barefoot’s recently launched Deep Insight network monitoring and analytics platform.
One company making something old into something new again is NS1. Their Pulsar RUM Steering product takes tried and true authoritative DNS and adds automated application steering intelligence to help boost performance. It does this by intelligently determining which CDN a user will access to receive the most optimal network performance. When throughput, speed, and latency to a cloud application is of utmost concern, Pulsar RUM Steering is a fantastic and revolutionary option. In fact, Pulsar is so impressive that it won a Best of Interop ITX Award earlier this year.
The newest startup to get our attention in the enterprise networking space is Arrcus. Last month, the company emerged from stealth to show off their ArcOS network switching and routing operating system. Like other startups on our list, ArcOS is a vendor-agnostic software solution. Its purpose is to build massive yet cost-effective networks across private and public clouds with unprecedented performance and security. Clearly based on solving many hybrid and multi-cloud integration and growth challenges, Arrcus looks to be on the forefront of innovation for the largest of enterprise infrastructures.
While Cisco may have made the concept of intent-based networking a commonly understood trend in IT, companies like Apstra are helping to further push the capabilities of the technology. Their Apstra Operating System (AOS) is a multi-vendor platform that allows customers to choose the hardware they want to deploy. AOS then simplifies the deployment, management and troubleshooting by leveraging analytics and telemetry -- all while masking the underlying complexity using high-level configuration controls and automation.
While SD-WAN isn't exactly a new area of enterprise networking, 128 Technology is taking a different approach to the WAN when compared to traditional network vendors. The company's Session Smart Router is a VM that can be spun up in-house or in the cloud. With it, customers can build a non-overlay wide area network that centers on the needs of the applications and services that ride across it. This level of granularity combined with the relative simplicity is what sets their platform apart from the others.