It was while driving from Sydney to the Gold Coast in late 2012 that Kumar Ramachandran decided to reinvent software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN).
With a career that included roles as both a technology buyer and seller, he had come to realise that solving the challenge of increasing complexity required more than just incremental improvements to layer 3 switching.
That led to the foundation of CloudGenix. Now a part of Palo Alto Networks, Ramachandran is the company’s senior vice president for products responsible for the GloudGenix line of next-generation SD-WAN solutions as well as its growing range of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) technology.
Speaking at the iTnews webinar Fulfilling the promise of SD-WAN, Ramachandran said what sets CloudGenix apart from previous efforts in SD-WAN is its focus above layer 3.
“Our viewpoint was that as customers made their digital transformation, they were going to need a fundamentally new approach,” Ramachandran said. “The insight our team had was, if we truly built a network that understood applications very deeply, then we could transform how networks are built and who cloud and applications are delivered anywhere.”
By moving network intelligence into cloud-hosted software CloudGenix has made the model scalable, and gained the capability to apply data science to the huge volumes of data that come in above layer 3.
“We capture data about every flow that goes through the system – application info, end user info, as well as network info,” he said. “The goal is not only to glean insights, but to automate and self-correct the network wherever possible.”
CloudGenix claims this results in a significant reduction in costs and ROI for users. Ramachandran also claims CloudGenix delivers a superior experience for users, as applications can be managed individually to ensure they always receive the bandwidth they need.
“If you can automate and enable capabilities that previously required a lot of manual activity, not only does it boost up productivity, it also starts enabling much higher levels of resiliency, availability and performance,” Ramachandran said.
This can be combined with Palo Alto Networks’ SASE capabilities to increase security.
“COVID has accelerated our thinking by a decade in terms of how we use online collaboration, but I think we are still in the infancy,” Ramanchandran said.
“And so we continue to work the problem of ‘anywhere access’ and ‘anywhere applications’ and ensuring enterprise class network and security for everyone. And so far we seem to be hitting out stride in enabling our customers to realise the value of SD-WAN and SASE.”