NFV startup Avi launches cloud solution aimed at enterprises

Several ex-Cisco executives are pitching a new startup, Avi Technologies, to solve some of the biggest problems in the application delivery controller (ADC) and network monitoring markets.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company, which came out of stealth mode with $33 million in funding from several big name venture firms, is offering something akin to what Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) developed internally for themselves. But Avi is offering it up to enterprises that can't afford such a luxury.

Founded in 2012, the company is already working with a number of platforms and has negotiated partnerships, reports Forbes contributor Ben Kepes. The platform integrates with VMware, OpenStack and Cisco's ACI fabric environments. Partnerships include deals with Chef, Cisco, Intel, Mirantis, Nuage Networks, Puppet Labs, Red Hat and VMware.

CEO and co-founder Umesh Mahajan told Gigaom that Avi Networks can be considered a network functions virtualization (NFV) player. The company wants to remove and improve on the software that powers proprietary networking hardware, such as the ADCs and load balancers, so that users can plug that software into cheaper, generic servers while getting the same capabilities.

According to Gigaom, what makes Avi Networks different than other vendors is the company's plan to target the load balancer appliance and the ADC, which help distribute traffic across the data center and ensure that when a server goes offline, another one can step in and pick up the slack. Such devices, which sit in Layer 4 and Layer 7 of a network, are designed to make sure that applications are running well and performance isn't suffering.

"In today's mobile cloud era, the traditional appliance-centric, monolithic application delivery approach doesn't work anymore," Mahajan said in a press release. "Inspired by the proven architectural approach pioneered by hyperscale cloud service providers, we developed the Avi Networks Cloud Application Delivery Platform to allow enterprise customers to accelerate their cloud journey, while maximizing their end-user application experience."

The release points out that earlier this year, several web giants revealed internal projects with the hyperscale design pattern. Google expounded the virtues of combining centralized control with distributed data plane in its Andromeda network services stack, and Facebook discussed feedback-based load balancing in its AutoScale system.

Likewise, at the heart of the Avi Networks cloud application delivery platform (CADP) is an architecture called Hyperscale Distributed Resources Architecture (HYDRA). Based on SDN principles, HYDRA separates the data plane from the control plane, which Avi claims is an industry first for application delivery controllers and load balancers.

The company raised its funding in a round led by Greylock Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Menlo Ventures, which also made prior early stage investments in companies like F5, Imperva, Nicira, Palo Alto Networks and Riverbed.

For more:
- see the Gigaom article
- see this Forbes article
- see the SDN Central article

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