Public cloud networking startup Aviatrix today launched a hosted service to build and manage virtual private cloud (VPC) networks in all three major cloud environments: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
The company released its first cloud networking product in October 2015, shortly after announcing a $10 million Series A round. It has raised $25 million to date.
The product allows customers to build their own encrypted networks in AWS, Azure, and GCP. It also enables them to scale and migrate workloads from on-premises sites to these VPCs from a software-defined, centrally managed controller.
The new service provides the same features as the existing product. It includes the controller, now available via the hosted service. It also includes gateways, which are deployed in VPCs to support cloud networking use cases that include global transit networks, remote user virtual private networks, and VPC egress security.
The difference is that by hosting the controller, companies have a software-as-a-service-like way to automate the deployment and configuration of gateways in their own environment.
This simplifies VPC networking, which remains complex. Each cloud providers’ VPC has its own policies and other components. Plus, companies are building multiple virtual data centers in public clouds, leading to VPC sprawl, said Aviatrix CEO Steven Mih.
The hosted service takes less than 10 minutes to set up, requires no serious networking expertise, and allows customers to deploy and securely connect a large number of VPCs, Mih added.
“The clouds are all very different, with different versions of networking,” Mih said. “We’re like a universal travel adapter for your applications to run in any cloud. It’s software-defined and built first for cloud. Our whole mission is to make cloud networking as simple as cloud computing and cloud storage.”
Aviatrix Origin Story
The name Aviatrix — a female pilot — comes from its co-founder and CTO, Sherry Wei. She previously held senior engineering and architect roles at Cisco before leaving Huawei in 2013 to bootstrap the new company.
“A female, hard-tech founder,” Mih said. “She [Wei] saw the public cloud coming and she knew you can’t just use data center networking and apply it to the cloud. She founded the company; built the first product; found the first customer, [staffing firm] Robert Half; and got the seed funding round. Now we’re soaring in the clouds.”
Additional customers include Hyatt, VMware, Netflix, Pfizer, FICO, Transamerica, NASA, Quicken Loans, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
Mih says virtualized routers are the primary competition. “Cisco is a big one,” he said. “But we have customer who started using the Cisco product, had difficulties in that it wasn’t built for the cloud, had outages and operational issues, so they switched to Aviatrix.”
Taking On Cisco, VMware
In addition to Cisco vRouters, IDC analyst Brad Casemore said he considers VMware NSX an Aviatrix competitor. “VMware has taken NSX out to public clouds, but they also have their legacy business that’s inside enterprise data centers,” he explained. “As much as they do want to support customers going to the cloud, it’s a balancing act. For Aviatrix, they are focused entirely on how to help customers manage VPCs in public clouds.”
This singular focus will serve Aviatrix well, Casemore said. Plus, the company solves a real customer problem: how to manage public cloud networking.
“And they’ve thought about all the issues that relate to that — how do you connect to VPCs in the public clouds; how do you secure them; how do you ensure they can be centrally automated and controlled; how can you reduce complexity; and how can you speed how quickly VPCs are supported by your network,” Casemore said. “The network has been a drag on how quickly enterprises can accelerate public cloud adoption. Aviatrix has made this a point-and-click exercise and taken away all of the complexity and lack of agility that’s inherent to managing it through a CLI [command line interface] or vRouter process.”