Dominic Wilde has been the CEO of the networking startup SnapRoute for one year now, and he plans on turning the network industry upside down with a cloud-native network operating system that will enable companies to remove the long-time barriers to accelerating application time to service, enhancing security and compliance, and simplifying run-time operations.
Dom talked about the current challenges facing companies in this increasingly disruptive environment, how the cloud-native approach that SnapRoute is taking will help resolve these inhibitors, and what’s in store for the future.
SDxCentral: What are the big shifts occurring in the industry today?
Wilde: More and more business value is being delivered via applications as companies strive to improve the customer experience and address increasing competitive pressure. In response, the way those applications are being built and deployed into the data center has been rapidly evolving to accelerate time to service, enhanced security and improved operational efficiency.
In quick succession, we’ve moved from client server through virtualized and now containerized workloads. Today, workloads are becoming more distributed with the rise of edge compute for IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to address latency and performance challenges. Workloads need to scale up and down and be portable to maximize resource utilization and end user experience. And finally, with increasing services “on-demand” (and short bursts of usage), they are also now more ephemeral (or temporary in nature) with the average containerized workload living just 2.5 days, versus 23 days for virtual machines, and years for traditional monolithic apps.
SDxCentral: What are companies doing today to address these application dynamics and what are the challenges facing them?
Everything about how applications work has changed, and this has ushered in new operational and design principles that we call cloud native, driven by the DevOps movement; a combination of philosophies, practices, and tools that increase an organization’s ability to deliver application and services at high velocity.
With this shift to DevOps, compute and storage have fully embraced cloud native and associated benefits; creating a much more agile infrastructure that can move at the speed of application development. However, throughout this shift nothing significant from network vendors has changed how the network enables and services the application workload. Consequently, networking has remained costly to deploy and maintain, and inflexible. More importantly, it is increasing in significance as an inhibitor to overall business agility and growth. The network (versus compute and storage) has remained static, complex and NetOps teams are forced into being siloed operationally; unable to integrate into the agile and rapid DevOps approach.
SDxCentral: What are the core issues preventing networking from embracing cloud-native principles?
Today’s network operating systems are built in a monolithic architectural style with a rigid code base that prevents businesses from adapting to rapidly changing demands. The complexity of these legacy network operating systems creates brittle network environments that are prone to outages, and restrict collaboration between the teams that develop applications (DevOps) and the teams that operate networks (NetOps). This results in significant increases in application time to service, security vulnerabilities, and policy violations.
SDxCentral: What’s the solution?
The answer to these challenges is a network operating system (NOS) that leverages cloud-native principles and DevOps approach including continuous integration / continuous deployment (CI/CD)— a set of operating principles and collection of practices that enable application development teams to deliver code changes more frequently and reliably. All this allows DevOps and NetOps to collaborate and enables companies to embrace the mindset of speed and constant change.
SDxCentral: Does SnapRoute deliver on the solution promise?
Yes. SnapRoute’s Cloud Native Network Operating System (CN-NOS) creates enhanced network agility, integrates networking natively into DevOps environments, and enables operational effectiveness to drive rapid, secure, and efficient application deployment and business performance.
With SnapRoute’s microservices, containerized cloud-native architecture and the embrace of DevOps, companies have an open, agile network operating system where features can be added and upgraded without impacting the system (bringing value to customers faster), reduced security expose given the ability to surgically replace vulnerabilities in real-time (any-time compliance), and elimination of maintenance windows (higher availability and resource utilization).
SDxCentral: How does the SnapRoute offering compare to legacy architectures?
SnapRoute’s unique innovation eliminates the architectural restrictions that plague today’s legacy NOS; a single “everything and the kitchen sink” code base that makes it inflexible, unable to embrace DevOps principles, cumbersome to patch and keep up to date, and increasingly vulnerable to security attacks.
SDxCentral: SnapRoute uses embedded Kubernetes to orchestrate and manage network services, can you expand on the significance of this and why it’s unique?
That’s correct, SnapRoute is the first and only company to natively embed Kubernetes into the NOS itself. A unique innovation. This empowers DevOps to deploy and operate the application, while eliminating time-consuming NetOps tasks, such as Access Control List (ACL) configuration, that require layers of API integration, multiple tools, and human glue. By enabling the use of common Cloud Native automation tools like Kubernetes on the network, you can remove the silos that exist between development and infrastructure teams (including compute and storage); and begin to view the operation as a single unit.
SDxCentral: How does the SnapRoute CN-NOS fit into existing environments?
On the network operations side, since we embrace open and non-proprietary standards, SnapRoute’s CN-NOS integrates into existing environments in a native and direct way. There is no need to embrace any overlay or SDN, fabric-level protocol. Each device running CN-NOS is autonomous and requires no centralized control for robust, resilient operation.
From a DevOps perspective, we fully integrate into any environment that follows Cloud Native principles— especially if Kubernetes is used as the orchestration layer. Our Cloud Native Network Operating System uses Kubernetes at its core, and we expose the models and APIs that DevOps personnel are currently leveraging.