The product family is called FlowCommand, and Saisei claims it can double the amount of data flowing through a network link, so that users won’t experience a stalled screen or dropped call again.
The root problem Saisei is tackling is a familiar one: the best-effort nature of TCP/IP, which sends packets through the network on multiple paths and attempts to reassemble it all at the end. TCP/IP “does a lot of things really well, but what it doesn’t do very well is handle congestion or contention. This has been a frustration for both enterprises and service providers,” says Jeff Paine, vice president of marketing at Saisei.
Architected specifically for cloud and mobile levels of traffic, Saisei’s method creates a new set of paths that change how IP networks behave, leading to what the company calls a “no flow left behind” guarantee.
“As an operator, you have no control over what packets get dropped. In our world, we have control inside our system of what packets get dropped,” Paine says. “So if we needed to slow a particular user session down, then we would simply target a specific flow and a specific packet to be removed out of the flow, but never so many packets that the user or that session, by definition, would drop.”
In other words, Saisei puts flows under FlowCommand’s control and has it change a flow’s behavior when the network gets congested.
“Instead of random packet drops, we have almost domesticated TCP/IP,” Paine says. “It’s very predictable, it’s very guided. Because what we do is so quick, we can eliminate the main cause of the packet drops” — namely, queuing.
As an element of software-defined networking (SDN) architectures, Saisei also increases visibility and control of the SDN infrastructure, Paine says. He notes that in a recent test with a major SDN controller, the controller was able to recognize four flows between switches, but Saisei was able to find dozens of ongoing flows.
Still early in its deployment phase, Saisei has only been selling for six weeks to a 50/50 mix of service provider and enterprise customers, Paine says.