Anuta Networks, a startup whose founders once joined Cisco through acquisition, is launching management-plane software that can do service chaining for enterprises keen on software-defined networking (SDN).
NCX Enterprise, being announced Thursday, is a followup to the 3-year-old company’s first product, nCloudX, which was launched a year ago and targeted at cloud providers. While NCloudX is about setting up cloud services, NCX Enterprise sets up applications and applies policy in campus or branch networks.
Producing an enterprise product required a shift in mentality. NCloudX “is a lot more customizable,” whereas “with the enterprise, we tried to come up with more of a cookie-cutter design,” says Kiran Sirupa, senior product line manager.
To do that, Anuta might have to step on a few toes. Part of what NCX Enterprise does is service chaining, setting up functions such as firewalls and load balancers that are required for keeping a particular application within the bounds of policy. It can also do some work at Layers 2 and 3, such as VLAN segmentation or telling switches to create VXLAN tunnels.
Anuta does list some major vendors as partners — Brocade, Cisco, HP, and VMware, for instance — but it’s not clear how deep these partnerships run. Chances are, most of these companies wouldn’t be thrilled to see Anuta show up to do the service chaining part of SDN.
On the other hand, NCX Enterprise is targeted not at greenfield deployments, but at today’s networks, meaning the product could be applied to a network that wasn’t (or still isn’t) built for SDN.
NCX Enterprise consists of a central controller, which Anuta envisions sitting in the cloud or on the enterprise premises, and agents spread around branch and/or campus networks. All these pieces are adjuncts to the installed network; they go in as virtual appliances running on arbitrary hypervisors, and they discover the network technology themselves.
Anuta provides a portal for network administrators or end users to set up the network services. The whole idea is to simplify operations by avoiding manual configuration of network elements and policies — firewalls, WAN optimization, or time-of-day restrictions for YouTube), for instance.
Anuta’s founders — CEO Chandu Guntakala, CTO Srini Beereddy, and VP of Engineering Praveen Vengalam — previously ran Jahi Networks, a maker of network management appliances that Cisco acquired in 2004. Anuta is based in Milpitas, Calif., and has grown up on an undisclosed amount of angel funding.
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