Yahoo Japan is Apstra’s first publicly named customer — a major win for the intent-based networking vendor that has been touting its operating system (AOS) since its June 2016 launch. But up until today, Apstra couldn’t reveal any companies that were actually using the software.
Yahoo Japan, which is partially owned by SoftBank and independent of Verizon-owned Yahoo in the U.S., is the largest Internet provider in the country. In Japan, it’s bigger than Google in search and mail, streams more video than Netflix, and does more financial transactions than PayPal.
The company needed to support big data requirements and massive growth in network traffic. In November 2017, the webscaler deployed AOS in its production data center network. Apstra recently added intent-based analytics to its operating system. This, and the intent-based networking capabilities, played a key role in Yahoo Japan’s decision to deploy AOS, said Apstra CEO Mansour Karam
“This is the first automation software that Yahoo Japan has deployed in their network that they didn’t build themselves,” Karam said.
Yahoo Japan also considered using the automation software provided by its hardware vendor. But this didn’t work with the company’s multi-vendor strategy.
Building the software in house was another option. But Yahoo Japan decided that hiring the engineers required to build and maintain the network infrastructure would be too costly.
“When you have an alternative that is turnkey and the vendor [Apstra] is standing behind it, then that changes the equation,” Karam said. “With the breadth of their requirements, it would take cloning their best developers to deliver on this in a maintainable way.”
In a statement, Kenya Murakoshi, senior manager for Yahoo Japan’s site operations division and system management group, said deployment of AOS went smoothly.
“Apstra streamlines Yahoo Japan Corporation’s network design, build, and operations processes by abstracting the network configuration with a concept of intent, which was a new concept to us, but the benefits were clear,” Murakoshi said. “The Apstra intent-based analytics allow us to specify how we want our network to operate. We tell AOS what we want to happen versus doing it ourselves. Apstra’s telemetry then provides deep insight into the state of our network and alerts us if there are risks like cabling or traffic imbalance issues that need to be addressed.”
Murakoshi said future plans with Apstra include a VXLAN/EVPN use case and replacing more legacy three-tier networks with Clos, which is its multi-vendor network infrastructure that connects hundreds of servers and thousands of Hadoop nodes.