InvenSense provides a sensor system on-chip that operates in a variety of devices including smartphones, tablets, optical image stabilization, and automobiles. “I would say it’s a pretty hot, fun space if you think of what sensors are in, and it’s just rapidly, rapidly growing” said Kenny Gilbert, chief information officer at InvenSense. This is why it chose to deploy Aryaka — “we needed to switch over to something that was scalable and very, very fast.”
In 2016, InvenSense was purchased by Japan-based components manufacturer TDK for $1.3 billion in an IoT play. It is now part of its sensor-solutions group.
Previously, InvenSense was using site-to-site virtual private networks (VPNs) for its, at the time, 16 sites. In addition, it was using Riverbed for WAN acceleration, but according to Gilbert it wasn’t configured correctly. He added that in his 20 to 25 years as a CIO he has had to deal with misconfigured Riverbed devices doing the opposite of what they should. “They’ll put it in, but they don’t manage it and maintain it, and so it over time can actually hurt you not help you,” he said.
Gilbert looked into implementing MPLS when he joined InvenSense in 2014. However, he knew that the deployment of MPLS into its network would be time-consuming and wouldn’t do an effective job of delivering traffic to cloud services, which was becoming increasingly important for the company.
InvenSense selected Aryaka after the SD-WAN provider completed an evaluation for the sensor company. It has now deployed the technology at 10 of its 16 sites. At this time, InvenSense will not roll out the technology to the additional sites, because they are “just really small,” said Gilbert. The 10 sites currently using Aryaka are the company’s engineering sites where speed and connectivity are critical, he said.
Since implementing Aryaka, Gilbert has noticed benefits in the form of speed, reliability, management, and ease-of-deployment.
Aryaka taking the reins and managing the network was the “single greatest benefit” for InvenSense. Not only did it free up the company’s network team to work on bigger projects, but it led to better network performance. “So it was kind of scary, letting go of the reins there,” said Gilbert. “With Aryaka that’s been a huge advantage is we don’t have to tweak with [the network], they’re the one’s tweaking with it and I am seeing performance gains, not only from the WAN acceleration on their side, but also they’re continuing to develop and strengthen their network, and we’re the one’s seeing benefits.”
InvenSense is a globally distributed company and having Aryaka’s growing private network has been another huge benefit. For example, Gilbert noted that when the SD-WAN provider added a PoP in London, all of its European offices saw “huge gains.” In sending data from its Milan, Italy data center to its San Jose, California one, the company saw a speed change from 160ms to 120ms as well as a huge drop in latency. “All of that happened without us doing anything.”
The ease-of-deployment was another big benefit. In one case, InvenSense acquired a company in Russia and Aryaka was able to connect its new company back to its Milan and San Jose data centers the same day the purchase closed. “We have a new site, get Aryaka in there up and running and boom, I’m working more on how to build out that site versus how do we get a connection in there,” said Gilbert.
And to other CIOs or companies considering SD-WAN, Gilbert says to look past the cost savings from switching from MPLS to SD-WAN, because it’s much more than that. “For me, it’s all about, and my whole entire infrastructure is this way, we’re always thinking of how can we streamline, automate, and really make it in our industry where things are always changing.” And SD-WAN can be the scalable service to get them there.
With TDK’s purchase, InvenSense’s network future is a little bit up in the air. Gilbert hopes to continue using Aryaka, as TDK uses three different MPLS suppliers. In order for that network to meet the needs of Invensense “they would have to do major upgrades, their networks are not built for engineers to work on, and mine are built for engineers to do major design on a nice network,” he said.