Startups Apstra, SnapRoute Look to Ease Network Challenges
Apstra unveils a new OS for vendor-agnostic network environments, while SnapRoute aims to bring true open-source software to network infrastructures.New vendors continue to unveil products aimed at making networks better fit into an increasingly digital world that is more mobile and more cloud-centric. Earlier this month, 128 Technology came out of stealth mode with its Secure Vector Routing technology, a session-based networking solution that company officials said is a fundamentally new approach to routing that will reduce the complexity and improve the performance of networks. Last week, two other new vendors—Apstra and SnapRoute—unveiled their own technologies that they said will make networks easier to program and configure, more dynamic and responsive to changing demands in the data center, and more affordable. They will improve the lives of network engineers, many of whom still have to go from one piece of networking gear to another to manage their infrastructures. Another message from these vendors is that their offerings move the market beyond software-defined networking (SDN), which with network-functions virtualization (NFV) have roiled with networking space with promises of creating more programmable, agile and scalable networks. SDN has yet to follow through on those promises, according to officials with both Apstra and SnapRoute.
"Network Engineers are still managing their networks manually box by box; they are unable to use the hardware of their choosing; and they still lack the tools to prevent or debug outages effectively," Mansour Karam, founder and CEO of Apstra, wrote in a post on the company blog, noting that the results are network administrators under pressure and CIOs without networks to meet business needs. "With SDN came a promise that all those problems would be fixed, yet these early approaches either argued that the physical network 'didn't matter' or that the protocols network engineers have used for the past 20+ years were the problem and needed to be replaced by some new magical protocol. Practice demonstrated that, despite all the hype, none of these approaches panned out and the network engineers were left holding the bag."