Today I am proud to be joining SnapRoute as CEO.  I have spent the past 8 years at HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise where most recently I was VP & GM of the Data Center Networking Business Unit in the HybridIT division.  During my tenure at HPE I had incredible access to a wide range of customer CIOs, business leaders, and technical teams; learning a great deal about not just what they need from their siloed networks, but also where the network is inhibiting their operations more broadly across the entirety of their infrastructure, and how it impacts business growth and agility.

I also got to do a lot of cool things at HPE, including setting the strategy and executing on the acquisition of Aruba Networks with Antonio Neri, HPE President and CEO.  If you’ve seen HPE’s latest financial earnings you will know that things look pretty rosy there right now, so why would I choose to leave, and join SnapRoute?  Well, it’s because I see a direct parallel between the way customers need network operations to change and how SnapRoute is approaching the problem in a completely different way to anything that has gone before.

SnapRoute is a different kind of networking company.  One that is founded by operators who understand the needs of a network well beyond protocols and features.  They have lived and breathed the pain of making do in the old world of vendor-first networking.   Vendors have spent years and millions of dollars pushing the idea to operators that networking is different, only their solution will solve your problems, and that it requires tightly integrated hardware with monolithic software.   Well, I will be the first to tell you this is anything but the truth and resulted in the largest operators pushing back and searching for alternative solutions.  In the case of our founders Adam and Glenn, prior to starting SnapRoute, they built out the Apple datacenters that drive iCloud, iTunes and other world changing Apple innovations.  To do this they had to move through the transition beyond legacy networking and find solutions that didn’t yet exist, thus becoming part of the operator-first networking movement and founding SnapRoute on the way to make the transition simpler and faster for others.

Living through this transition it was clear to them that proprietary and inflexible software implementations did not ensure that their needs were met.   Networking continued to be the long pole in the tent for new infrastructure deployments, application workload portability or reacting to outages.  To use a real estate analogy, they needed to own their network and stop renting it from their vendor landlords who would dictate what changes could be made and when.   Innovations they wanted to add to their equipment were not possible or created so many one offs it became impossible to manage.  Their business could no longer rely on the long software cycles of network software to provide the differentiating innovation they required.   They needed a new kind of platform that embraces a microservices architecture, so that application workloads and other infrastructure can work in chorus.

If you take a step back, you can see that this is not an issue with other segments of technology in the same space.   A quick look at the operator driven solutions that are occurring with applications, the move towards microservices is very evident.  Operators have worked together and created a solution that best fits the needs that they collectively have.  Not by pushing a single solution, but by taking a microservices approach that allows for innovation and flexibility from day one.  This same approach needs to be taken by these same operators for the network. Does this mean we just modularize a monolithic offering and call it a day?  Or force our applications to run on top of something that was never designed to work in that manner?  No, that doesn’t solve the problem or move the ball forward. This is more than just having a modular system and creating one-off solutions.  The networking industry needs a platform that is designed from the ground up with a microservices architecture that is workload driven.  As an operator I should be able to add my own innovations and not worry about the impact or changes needed by the rest of the system.  This needs to be done using tools and infrastructure that are well known and understood.  There is no reason to reinvent the wheel here or push bespoke proprietary implementations.   Large microservices open source communities already exist with robust and proven components readily available and waiting to be leveraged for the network.

At SnapRoute we have a vision of a network operationally aligned to the application workload and to achieve this we seek to deliver 5 key values to operators:

  • Make the network operationally transparent and native to the DevOps toolchain
  • Put the innovation agenda back in the hands of the operator, and innovate at the speed you need
  • Deliver on the promise of application infrastructure automation by removing the last roadblock – the network
  • Increase agility, scale, reliability, and performance of application workload infrastructure while decreasing costs
  • Enable high value, distributed services to be delivered natively in the network

I’m really excited by the opportunity to bring meaningful change to the industry that will help customers innovate and grow their businesses without the pain that has been associated with networking for so long.  Anyone who knows me has heard me say time and again that the network is the problem and we just need to get it out the way.  SnapRoute is the company that can deliver on that challenge.  We have a passionate and dedicated team, committed investors, innovative technology and an opportunity to do something ground breaking – and we’re hiring!

Categories: From Dom's Desk