Cloud software company Avni has shipped its first product, Avni Software Defined Cloud (SDC) 2.0, and is moving closer to announcing some large, Fortune 100 customers as well as a Series A investment round.
Avni revealed its mission to build a “Self-driving car for IT” a month ago, but now there are many more details as the company emerges from stealth mode. Avni provides software that improves the portability of applications between cloud platforms, an approach known as hybrid cloud. The company’s technology is based on a distributed Layer 4-7 application controller.
With Avni, a cloud provider or the customer can install the application controllers on the cloud, then program management and policies that allow customers to build distributed applications to be more easily moved between clouds.
The Avni software also has an analytics engine that can use network and cloud data to make decisions about availability to provide automated quality of service (QoS) and service level agreements (SLAs) for applications.
Sounds great, right? My first question was who the customers would be, and how fast they would be coming. Rohini Kasturi, the CEO and Cofounder, said the company’s software is already in production environments and that they are very close to announcing key, “Fortune 100” customers. They will use Avni’s technology to build distributed applications in hybrid cloud environments.
“We are undergoing five big deployments in media and financial,” says Rohini Kasturi, Cofounder and CEO Kasturi. “There will also be three big partnerships, cloud providers and network service providers, layer 4-7 [cloud] and security providers.”
In one example, Kasturi says that a large media customer has installed the Avni software in a private cloud on top of VMware so that they can define policies applications and set up how applications can be distributed across several cloud providers.
Avni has assembled an impressive roster of investors and staff. Kasturi is a former Cisco Systems and Juniper veteran who holds 25 patents. Bill Coleman, a venture capitalist (VC), Alsop Louie Partner and the Founder/CEO of middleware pioneer BEA Systems, is an investor and board member. Avni’s other co-founder, Ravi Nuguru, is also a veteran of Cisco and Juniper. Dan Scheinman, a former SVP at Cisco and board member of Arista Networks, is also on the board.
The connection to Bill Coleman is interesting because BEA was one of the largest companies emerging form the 1990s Web development boom, by supplying middleware that enables Web applications to talk to one another. BEA was acquired by Oracle in 2008 for $6.7 billion. Avni’s approach can be considered middleware for cloud, which is analogous to BEA’s middleware for the Web. Kasturi says this is what got Coleman’s attention and led him to believe it is a multi-billion dollar opportunity.
The “cloud middleware” approach not only has appeal to the enterprise customers, but to the cloud service providers as well. By installing the Avni platform, cloud providers could set up hybrid cloud services for customers and application developers.
The company currently has 25 employees in US and India and has received seed funding from more than 15 individuals. Kasturi says that a Series A round is in the works and is expected to be announced soon. The only question is whether the real world operates like the HBO show “Silicon Valley,” in which a deal could fall apart over lunchtime.