Rich Napolitano

Author Archives: Rich Napolitano

A Software-Defined Service Provider Network Improves Profitability and Delivers Competitive Advantage

At Plexxi we’re building a simply better network for public and private cloud environments and next generation service providers. The next era of IT requires support for data center agility, scale-out applications, converged infrastructure, Big Data analytics and integrated security over networks that are both local and global in scale. In a prior blog I reviewed the case study of a large enterprise that deployed a next generation data center network achieving agility through integration with VMware, data and application workload awareness and a dynamic, single-tier fabric optimized for east/west and north/south data center traffic. In this installment of my blog, I review the case study of Perseus. They have built the world’s largest SDN-based on demand services network allowing them to quickly offer new products and services while enabling new deployments at a rapid pace.

Perseus had an existing international network to transport high-speed, high-precision and high-performance applications across the globe for their managed service customers. That network was built on traditional platforms, similar to those of competitors, leveraging a layer three MPLS backbone for multi-tenancy and differentiated services.

They were planning to expand global operations to a new continent and across dozens of new countries where they did Continue reading

Simply A Better Network for Converged Infrastructure and Your Storage

Plexxi had a really big year in 2015; growing year-over-year revenue by 10X and dramatically increasing our list of customers, signing an exclusive distribution relationship with Arrow Electronics and expanding our value added reseller network by 6X. We achieved all this through a relentless focus on providing transformational data center networking products and tools. Our solutions are purpose-built to support the people responsible for designing, architecting and supporting public and private clouds deployments. As I discussed in my last blog, we call these people Cloud Builders.

Cloud Builders are tasked with finding new ways to meet today’s dynamic business requirements. Traditionally, public cloud has been associated with speed, agility, elasticity and cost savings, whereas private cloud has been associated with control around application performance, latency and security. To support modern day business requirements Cloud Builders need to leverage both public and private cloud; it’s no longer an either/or scenario.   Public and private clouds need to offer control over application performance, latency and security AND offer speed, agility, elasticity and cost savings.

We continue, as a company, to learn and adapt to market conditions by listening intently to customers, prospects and partners. Lately our conversations with Cloud Builders have revolved Continue reading

The “Cloud Builder” Awakens

I have traveled extensively over the final quarter of 2015, meeting with customers, prospects and partners. There is something about being on the road that gives clarity to business and as a result, it is clear in my mind that Information Technology is witnessing its greatest period of change. The Internet of Things, Cloud and Big Data are driving the massive growth of new applications and data. Rapid rates of application and data growth are forcing organizations to move away from legacy scale-up approaches to ones that provide seamless scale-out. Siloed and monolithic approaches to delivering storage, compute and network resources must be replaced by integrated and elastic infrastructure and services consumption models.

In support of these new consumption models, IT is being delivered as services delivered on-demand, leveraging cloud architectures. I am seeing the emergence of a new customer, whom I call the Cloud Builder or Cloud Architect. Due to the rapid growth and importance of this new role, I somewhat jokingly say, “the Cloud Builder has awoken.” This new role takes a different IT approach to meeting the needs of the business. The Cloud Builder looks at applications and data requirements from the perspective of business goals, Continue reading

Cloud Builders: Building Networks for Third Era Cloud Environments

It’s no secret that network architecture is evolving to address the new needs and requirements of the Third Era of IT. This is happening for a reason. There is a trifecta of events affecting the industry: new requirements, new application architectures and new consumption models.

What all this reveals is that a new IT landscape has arrived – the Third Platform, where applications and service offerings define IT rather than the opposite.

The need of businesses to drive new application development, change, and deployment is changing the consumption models for IT so radically that for the first time the industry is prioritizing consumption of an entire service over individual infrastructure silos. It’s quickly becoming apparent that IT will increasingly be consumed as service offerings whether delivered through private or public cloud providers (SaaS, IaaS and PaaS).

The Changing Nature of the Private Cloud

Cloud enables rapid scaling; both up and down, of compute and storage capacity and facilitates agility for the introduction of new services and applications as well as resource alignment to the changing needs of the business. Public cloud has been the most prevalent adoption model to date, however we see a growing trend where organizations are Continue reading

One year at Plexxi and the Future of Networking

It’s almost time to celebrate my one-year work anniversary with Plexxi, coming up next month. When I began here I set out with a grand vision set on building a simply better network. I’m grateful to the entire Plexxi team for their commitment and hard work to make many of our goals a reality. I believe that today we are better and stronger as a company. We have meaningful industry partnerships like our distribution agreement with Arrow, groundbreaking product developments and more financing to make our goals and growth plans a reality.

Last week I spoke with Chris Talbot, a writer at FierceEnterpriseCommunications and had the opportunity to reflect on my time with Plexxi so far. Chris and I discussed what led me to join Plexxi, why I believe in what we’re doing and why we’re pioneering a new path for networks that is going to lead the industry for years to come.

We are making great strides and I’m excited about the momentum we have going for us right now and what the future holds. You can find Chris’ article, The Future of Networking is Photonic Underlays here. Let me know what you think.

The post Continue reading

Momentum in Motion: $35 Million in Funding, Solid Partnerships, Customer Wins, Switching on New Technology

I can’t believe how fast 2015 is flying by. It seems like we were just making our networking predictions for the year. If you’ve been following the blog or keeping up with us on social media, you may have noticed we’ve been busy here in Nashua in terms of our growth and expansion as well as the products we’re delivering. We are rapidly evolving Plexxi to keep pace with today’s competitive technology landscape.

I’m excited about the prospects for the future. And the reason has to do with three key accomplishments in 2015 (so far): today’s big news —$35 million in funding to accelerate our growth plans and product development; our new strategic partnerships along with our customer growth in targeted vertical markets; and the introduction of our Switch 2 Series. We’re set to make 2015 our best year yet.

1. Financing to Accelerate our Growth. Today, we announced we raised $35 million to continue our rapid growth in the software-defined agile datacenter market. The infusion of capital will help fuel the rapid expansion of our sales, marketing, customer support, and research and development efforts to deliver on our vision of a software-defined architecture in datacenters and service provider networks. Continue reading

The Next Generation Agile Data Center and the Birth of A Dynamic Network

At Plexxi we’re building a simply better network for the next era of IT to deliver agile data centers, enable scale-out applications and support distributed Cloud deployments.  In my prior blog, I discussed why the decades-old practice of pre-architecting, designing and implementing static network infrastructures wouldn’t support the dynamic needs of organizations moving forward. In this installment of my blog, I will review a case study from a large enterprise deploying an agile data center to meet their needs for the next generation.

I continue to spend a lot of time on the road, and I enjoy meeting with customers to make sure I stay on top of next generation data center networking requirements.  I recently visited a large enterprise that was experiencing scalability, management and performance problems with their existing data center network.  As the number of virtualized applications and corresponding virtual machines (VMs) grew in their data center, agility was actually decreasing rather than improving.  The data center was harder to manage due to application mobility and a lack of unified visibility across their virtual and physical environments.  In addition, their oversubscribed switches were experiencing capacity and buffering problems, caused in large part Continue reading

The Next Era of IT

An Agile & Dynamic Network to Keep Pace With Applications, Compute & Storage

I have been on the road a lot lately meeting with customers, prospects, partners and investors and it has become clear to me that there is a very simple, but profound trend emerging in Information Technology. Today you hear a lot about Third Platform, Bimodal IT, Hyperconvergence and Software Defined ”X” (Networking, Storage, Data Center etc.). The discussions about these technologies are prevalent, but the question is why? Why these topics and why now? Why should we care about Third Platform, Bimodal IT, Hyperconvergence and SD”X”? The answer is simple; storage and compute have evolved to be highly dynamic, and the network itself now needs to keep pace.

Looking Back

Over the last 2 decades, data center architectures have traditionally been highly static from the perspective of both the application and the network. Designing a data center was a lengthy process of capacity planning and design, after which the network team built a data center network around physically redundant two-tier leaf/spine architectures. Depending on pre-planned growth models and expected product lifecycles, multiple chassis were typically used as the spine. Leaf switches, dual homed back to the spine, were Continue reading

Leading Disruption

My entire career has been spent finding disruption and cultivating the technologies needed to convert that disruption into real business value for customers. It is with that objective in mind that I am thrilled to join the Plexxi team as Chief Executive Officer, alongside my good friend and colleague Dave Husak, who will lead our product development efforts.

We are in a unique moment in time, with massive technological and business model changes underway in parallel. Everything we know about compute, storage, networking, and applications is in transformation. Changes like this have not occurred in over twenty years. And change of this magnitude breeds opportunity.

My decision to join Plexxi was actually many months in the making. In my previous job leading EMC’s Unified Storage Division, I drove over $30B in revenue during my tenure with over 2000 people in the global organizational for which I was responsible. In that role, I had a fairly unique vantage point of the IT industry as a whole. I certainly spent time viewing the landscape from my position within a major infrastructure manufacturer. But I also got to engage with channel and technology partners across the entire IT spectrum to see how they Continue reading