Applications…Meet Your Network

If you’ve been following Embrane over the past several months, you know we’ve been focusing almost exclusively on differentiating our business in the SDN space by promoting the fact that we have been the only company securing and announcing a steady stream of paying, in-production customers.  As a result, we’ve been placing less emphasis on touting the advancements we’ve made on the technology side. However, since it’s our technology leadership that’s attracting our rapidly growing customer base, it’s time to show off our technology chops too. This week our SDN leadership becomes even more evident with the introduction of our new application-centric networking solutions.

(Okay, it’s not exclusively a technology announcement since we announced another new customer, Ryan Labs Asset Management. More on them in a bit.)

While most vendors started their SDN movement from the bottom up, looking at ways to add agility at the connectivity layer (a.k.a. Layer 2), Embrane continues to take a top-down approach to the network. We focus on the network services that support, enhance and secure the ever-growing number of business applications in an enterprise data center. After all, applications drive enterprises business. The newest release of the Embrane heleos for powering software-defined network services continues to deliver on the original vision of our company, but takes the game to a whole other level.

With our application-centric networking solutions, enterprise customers can dedicate an entire, virtualized network infrastructure to each and every application throughout its lifecycle from creation to retirement. We now not only deliver software-defined firewalls, VPNs and load balancers that can be created in less than 90 seconds, but also offer point-to-point Layer 3 overlays called Virtual Links (vLinks) that can chain together any two heleos-powered software-defined network services. With the introduction of Virtual Topologies (vTopologies), we can now enable customers to create application containers for any heleos-powered network services and vLinks that are built to support an application. If that’s not enough innovation for you, our new ESM Projects is a management construct that enables enterprises to manage that application container along with its associated network services and vLinks as an “atomic-entity” (i.e. power services on/off, park/unpark services, clone services, delete them all together).


(Sample Application-Centric Network)


For example, once you create the vTopology in a development lab you can clone the project, migrate it to new environment (test or production, for example) on new servers and then unpark it.

The result is application-level network policy abstraction that delivers better isolation along with the ability to non-disruptively move and update applications AND dedicated network services throughout their lifecycle. In other words, you can map network and security policies to individual applications – something that is extremely cost-prohibitive and management intensive with traditional hardware or virtual appliances.

With Embrane’s application-centric networking solutions, not only do we enable you to create a much more agile environment, we also make your IP address management much easier by enabling you to assign IP addresses within a vTopology. You keep those same IP addresses even when you move the container, rather than having to assign new IP addresses and recreate the policies and rules every time you move an application.

It’s funny, at Cisco Live!, Cisco started talking about their vision for application-centric infrastructure. At first I was a little nervous because while we have been talking about this concept for the past year, I didn’t want people to think we were riding the Cisco marketing machine. But, the more I thought about it, the more I was fine with it. Networking companies should be talking more about applications. After all, applications are the bread and butter of enterprises and it’s about time applications and networks were properly introduced and connected. And it just makes a lot of sense for network players like Embrane or Cisco to tie the value of the network and infrastructure in general to the applications. We at Embrane know it's the right thing to do because that is what we have been hearing from our customers (who are often also Cisco customers) in the past several months leading to this announcement. We can deliver application-centric networking today with customers paying for it and using it in production.

Speaking of customers, Ryan Labs Asset Management, a multi-billion dollar asset management firm, is the latest enterprise customer to leverage our heleos-powered software-defined network services. They’re automating the delivery of their firewalls/VPNs using our technology.

With all of the discussion and hype around SDN it’s easy to forget that PowerPoint slides will only take you so far. At some point you have to prove that customers will buy your solution. Otherwise you go the way of WebTV and Betamax.

It’s a proud day for the team. Embrane was founded with the idea that the network needed to become much more agile to support the growing demand for faster application development and deployment. Seeing the hard work paying off is very fulfilling.

John Vincenzo