Commanding the Clouds
February 23, 2021
min read

If you only tuned into your news feeds, you might think that the wholesale enterprise journey to the cloud is complete. That every business has selected their cloud lane and are off to the races. But if you look at the mix of systems and spend across enterprises, you will find that, in fact, it’s a lot more complicated than that. Enterprises are increasingly utilizing a menu of solutions that share workloads across both public and private clouds. And a growing part of that menu is the option to run infrastructure across multiple Cloud Service Providers (CSP) like AWS, Azure, GCP or OCI plus, in many cases, on-prem.

While using a blend of solutions across public and private clouds can be advantageous to enterprises, it introduces complexity. Moving only parts of an enterprise’s portfolio over to the cloud leaves a big gap in managing a network that is no longer fully under the control of that enterprise. This problem is made more acute when a public cloud deployment is not with a single vendor. This is where Aviatrix fits into the world.

Aviatrix is a cloud network platform for businesses that need to deploy over private and public clouds. The solutions for managing visibility, security and control break down as parts of enterprises’ IT landscape are shifted from private cloud to CSP or from one CSP to another. What Aviatrix is building is intended to give enterprises features that overlay the entire landscape, including operational visibility, transit networking, firewalls, egress filtering, VPN control, cloud WAN, app access, encryption, etc.

The Forecast – “It’s Multicloud”
There are myriad reasons why businesses won’t be fully abandoning their own infrastructure. Sometimes the motivation is cost — specialized workloads that have amortized and have been running well for years aren’t likely to benefit from a short-term shift. But more broadly, enterprises are contending with an ever-evolving set of regulatory and privacy concerns that motivate some aspects of businesses to keep systems under their physical control. Witness that both GitHub and GitLab co-exist and continue to grow incredibly well.

There is another issue at play here, too: avoiding vendor lock-in. Businesses are beginning to recognize that offerings from the large cloud vendors — compute, storage and networking — are commoditized. There is no upside to one CSP commanding the bulk of the IT budget.

All this taken together is about embracing a multicloud reality. Multicloud is the notion that the stable state of enterprises consuming the cloud infrastructure serviced by the CSP is going to be a mix of private/public and multiple of these large public vendors. To embrace this, we will need new abstractions and control planes. Ones that separate the deployment/cost management from the app platform and services.

As always, part of deciding to make an investment is based in large part on the team. “Aviatrix” is an era-bound word for a female pilot. And Aviatrix the company was founded by Sherry Wei, a legendary technical leader who, as a modern aviatrix, has one of the deepest networking backgrounds in the industry. Sherry founded the company in 2013 based on insights she had in how the enterprise networking space was changing and she just got to work. The early days of building out the platform were a huge technical lift and Sherry and company now hold multiple patents on their work.

Sherry Wei, Founder & Chief Product Officer, Aviatrix (l) and Steve Mullaney, CEO, Aviatrix (r)

Sherry’s also put together an exceptional exec team, including hiring Steve Mullaney two years ago as CEO to lead the company. Steve is an accomplished operator – 30 years of building products, markets and companies in the networking space. Steve was not planning on another operating role until he got involved with Aviatrix and understood the depth of the team and the huge opportunity in front of it. Aviatrix is in full category creation mode. They’re building community and laying foundations to shape the future of careers in IT as multicloud networking continues to go mainstream. While there’s much to be done still, the potential is clear.

The Aviatrix pitch was one of the very few in-person meetings we did last year and I am so grateful we did so — really great people and a great mission to build something very meaningful.

— Quentin Clark & Team GC



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