Startup Siaras, which launched on Monday, is trying to make it easier for service providers to groom the spaces between clouds.
The startup’s cloudScape product is an orchestrator of orchestrators, as the company puts it, that manages the wide-area network (WAN) connections between public and private clouds. The result is a stitching-together of the virtual data centers that make up an enterprise’s hybrid cloud.
The key is to make those WAN connections available on demand — Siaras uses the term WAN-as-a-service (WANaaS) for the concept — and deterministic. The latter part is made possible by the use of virtual traffic engineering appliances at the ingress/egress point of the enterprise’s virtual data centers — and yes, Siaras calls that traffic engineering as-a-service (TEaaS).
“At the last OpenStack, we had a discussion with a variety of companies, and there was interest in the what we’re doing. It’s a political game of coming up with support and coming forward together to say, ‘Here’s a small change you can do,'” says Siegfried Luft, Siaras’ CTO.
Siaras’ plans aren’t contingent on OpenStack, though. The company plans to product cloudScape whether its components are officially part of OpenStack or not. Two alpha trials are completed, and a commercial version of the cloudScape should be out in the second quarter of 2015, Luft says.
Solving the WAN
This WAN work is necessary because the spaces between data centers have not kept up with the agility of the cloud, nor do they have the same level of orchestration that data centers have developed.
“There are many enterprise use cases that actually need the WAN between the clouds to be deterministic and available instantly and [groomed] to the needs of applications,” says Vivek Ragavan, Siaras’ CEO.
WANaaS is actually a piece that software-defined networking (SDN) could solve over time, “but it’s not all there just yet,” Luft says. WANaaS pieces together the necessary WAN connections, possibly taking advantage of an SDN controller if there’s one available. Siaras officials describe WANaaS as an “orchestrator of orchestrators.”
As for which clouds Siaras works with, it’s gotten cloudScape to work with Amazon Web Services and is prototyping code to work with Microsoft‘s Azure. The startup has also done work to support Rackspace and HP clouds, although neither is in the initial product release, and customers are prodding it to support IBM SoftLayer as well, Luft says.
Funded less than a year ago, Siaras has a backstory that traces to the late ’90s dot-com boom.
The company’s name comes from Siara, a chip company that some Siaras founders sold to Redback Networks for $4.3 billion. The deal was struck in 1999, near the peak of irrationally exuberant stock prices that let companies buy startups in all-stock deals valued in the billions. Redback was acquired by Ericsson in 2007 for considerably less money — and the Siara intellectual property is still in use in Ericsson’s portfolio, Ragavan says proudly.
Some of Siaras’ founders, including Luft, more recently tried their collective hand at the telecom metro network. Their startup, Zeugma, combined compute and networking resources in a way that was novel for telcos, but the idea didn’t catch on, and Zeugma closed down in 2010.