I’m incredibly pleased to announce a deepening of our relationship with Microsoft, but what does it mean for the company’s Azure customers, and what does it say about the state of play for multi-cloud networking?
First, the Alkira team is thrilled to join the Microsoft Startups program, an excellent endorsement of our Network Cloud platform by one of the most highly respected names in the industry. Thousands of companies benefit from Microsoft’s support of this program, but only a few get selected as strategic collaborators. Alkira is one of them.
According to Jeff Ma, VP of Microsoft Startups, “Alkira’s platform provides a powerful and flexible set of capabilities to leverage the power of Azure to deploy fully featured cloud networks.”
Though the relationship brings distinct benefits to Azure customers, Microsoft is not just collaborating with Alkira, which also offers a single-cloud proposition, but acknowledging the reality that for large enterprises doing business in the cloud, it increasingly means embracing the multi-cloud environment – private, hybrid and public clouds.
In working closely with Alkira, Microsoft ensures that cloud networking will be a key differentiator in consuming their cloud services. As part of the announcement, the Alkira Cloud Services Exchange (CSX) will be available alongside other best-of-breed products in the Azure Marketplace following months of work with Microsoft to ensure deep integration with Azure. That makes it easier for Microsoft customers to deploy and manage their workloads in Azure, but it also makes multi-cloud networking available when they need it.
The industry is just beginning to catch on to the fact that networking in the cloud is challenging and has been a significant obstacle to many enterprises’ digital transformation programs. Inserting security, NAT, and other network services in any cloud requires expertise and deep knowledge of that environment. Because each cloud provider implements its own version of networking, these challenges multiply in multi-cloud environments. Not only does the enterprise need expertise in all environments, pushing up IT headcount and costs, but it needs to stitch all these different environments together. The business demands end-to-end visibility and control of the network with fully integrated security. That hasn’t been possible until now.
The Alkira CSX is best defined as cloud network infrastructure as a service (CNaaS). It dynamically scales according to customers’ needs and reduces the time to deploy cloud networks from months to minutes. Because it abstracts the complexities of individual clouds and the differences between them, CSX also provides the ability to manage cloud networks from end to end that has been missing for so long.
Whether your business is connecting to Azure or another public cloud, it no longer makes sense to have separate, manually configured networks in each cloud. With Alkira CSX on Azure, connecting inside Azure is as easy as managing your own network. If you need to connect to other platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud Platform (GCP), the networking experience will be consistent.
The other crucial dimension to the story is as-a-service consumption, which eliminates CAPEX, reduces OPEX, and enables the network to scale with the needs of the business. It also delivers enormous value to network teams that can free up their time for other projects. Customers want to focus on their core business and simplify the process of delivering the applications and services that enable them to grow. They don’t want to be in the business of building and managing cloud networks through manual processes.
I’m delighted that Microsoft has recognized the tremendous value that Alkira delivers and look forward to working together to expand our joint Azure and multi-cloud networking customers.