When Avi Networks founders Umesh Mahajan, Murali Basavaiah, and Ranga Rajagopalan first came to Lightspeed in 2012 with their vision of bringing the benefits of a hyperscale approach to application delivery and layer 4-7 services, it made perfect sense to us. We had seen Lightspeed portfolio company Nicira disrupt networking layers 2-3 with an architecture that consisted of highly distributed scale out software elements coupled with centralized control, culminating in an acquisition by VMWare for $1.25B in the summer of 2012. We were seeing further evidence of “hyperscale envy” by Fortune 1000 enterprises from our early investment in Nutanix, a company that brings “Google-like” converged compute and storage functionality to businesses of all sizes. In fact, the Avi vision made so much sense that Lightspeed venture partner Guru Chahal, who had worked closely with the founders to define the product, immediately joined the company as VP Product.
To understand why the Avi product makes so much sense, you first need to understand the problem. That is, datacenter infrastructures were designed for a three-tier architecture world, yet we now live in a mobile-to-cloud world. Virtual Machines (and soon containers) are everywhere – and they are frequently in motion between data centers and clouds. New applications are being created and deployed at an explosive rate and an army of mobile users are demanding the same application performance as desktop users. Monolithic approaches to application delivery simply don’t work anymore. The hyperscale giants, companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google saw this problem first. They’ve since mothballed fleets of proprietary systems and developed their own analytics-driven highly distributed scale out software to enable an agile, adaptive, and reliable infrastructure to meet the needs of their most demanding application users.
For the first time, Avi brings the benefits of hyperscale application delivery to enterprises of all sizes, for on-premise or cloud-based applications – all at a fraction of the price of monolithic solutions.
At the heart of the Avi solution is a revolutionary approach called Hyperscale Distributed Resources Architecture, or HYDRA. Like Nicira did for layer 2-3, Avi separates the data plane, in this case highly distributed layer 4-7 microservices, from the central control plane, to enable the agility, adaptivity, and scalable performance demanded by today’s modern enterprise. In addition, Avi employs inline analytics to not only provide insights into application behavior, but also to power a closed-loop application delivery infrastructure that essentially tunes itself.
Avi Networks officially came out of stealth today, armed with several Fortune 1000 customers in pilots and production.
As we look towards the future, companies like Avi, Nicira, and Nutanix will make “Hyperscale envy” a thing of the past…