Disclosures at the bottom as usual.
At Cloud Field Day 12 in San Jose, Prosimo joined us to explain how they are “more crazy than you guys think we are.” We got a good introduction to the problems they are working on solving, some of the problems they’re not focused on, and yes, we did learn they might be pretty crazy. But it just might work.
Prosimo was founded in early 2019, the second startup for many of the team (hence their CEO Ramesh Prabagaran’s crazy quoted confession above). The connection I didn’t make at the time is that his first startup was Viptela, who were acquired by Cisco in 2017. So after developing an SD-WAN solution, Prabagaran and his team moved up (or down) a layer to address another element of WAN in the clouds. Maybe we could call it CAN, or Cloud Area Networking. Or maybe not.
To get to the good stuff… Prosimo focuses on multicloud transit (the third lozenge pictured above), an element between the users and edge networks and the applications a customer has in any of the three major clouds or their own datacenters/private clouds.
Some solutions of this sort would stack virtual appliances in each environment to connect and manage and deploy the elements of your infrastructure. Others, including many roll-your-own environments, build on the existing services in each individual cloud provider.
Prosimo’s Application eXperience Infrastructure (AXI) edge gateway runs in each customer point of presence and communicates back to a SaaS dashboard that provides the visibility and observability to monitor and manage usage and performance in each of the four cloud options. The platform also enforces security and data sovereignty policies as needed.
One of the reasons for running in multiple clouds, and one of the most complicated and challenging elements of that model, is taking advantage of different services, performance, security models, and cost factors depending on the application.
I asked if these considerations could be automated on the Prosimo platform, and Prabagaran confirmed that it’s an important aspect of what they offer. The ability to decide whether a given application needs to prioritize security, performance, or cost is an important feature of the platform and an early consideration in the product design.
Mani Ganesan, Prosimo’s head of product (formerly at Aruba), explained that Prosimo’s AXI gateway orchestrates the underlying network services for each cloud, This could be Transit Gateways in AWS, vWAN in Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud’s Network Connectivity Center. Other elements like VPC/VNET peering are also orchestrated from the underlying cloud providers.
The AXI platform is deployed as native Kubernetes clusters in the cloud provider environment using each cloud’s own Kubernetes offering. For private cloud/datacenter, they provide VMs for deployment with RedHat’s Openshift or VMware environments. And the AXI SaaS management system provides lifecycle services for the AXI platform.
As shown in Mani’s slide above, there are several common customer cases being addressed with Prosimo’s platform. They divided them roughly into app-to-app, communicating between elements in the same or different clouds, and user-to-app, optimizing the access path from an external user (enterprise user, end user on a mobile or web application, etc).
I’ll admit the thought of migrating SAP to cloud platforms made me somewhat uncomfortable, but use case 3 above is a way to optimize and model performance for an app of that size (it’s not just Kubernetes and Docker and 3-tier web applications).
Another use case discussed was Jira for offshore developers, when the platform was deployed in a US cloud region but hundreds or thousands of developers needed to access it from Asia. You could say 30-40 milliseconds isn’t much, but it adds up when you’re loading hundreds of elements repeatedly without effective caching and network path optimization. Prosimo is solving this issue for one customer with AXI gateways in India and the US west coast, optimized for delivering cacheable web traffic.
The last use case brought cloud-specific deployment and access together with client security posture monitoring, making sure that people accessing secure/confidential applications had an approved client, a qualifying certificate, and sane restrictions on source locations on a transaction level.
For example, if all of your staff access an application from their desktops in an office in San Jose (maybe your employee directory, or financial information, or source code tools, or a content management system), you wouldn’t want a random Android tablet in southern Tibet to be able to connect, but you want to know your path is secure from the San Jose office to the application in your chosen cloud, and know that the new guy’s teenager’s iPad isn’t loading up your secure information on the weekends. Certainly if that application needs to access data or other applications elsewhere in your cloud infrastructure, you can use Prosimo to secure and optimize that connection as well, but your client devices probably don’t need to even know it’s there.
Want more information on Prosimo’s AXI platform including demos? Of course you do. Check their Tech Field Day videos out here. See each presenter’s past history at Tech Field Day as well. And check out the conversation on Twitter.
Disclosure: As a delegate to Tech Field Day events, my housing, food, occasional swag, and transportation when needed are covered by Gestalt IT thanks to the sponsorship of the presenting companies, like Prosimo. As the token Silicon Valley delegate, there’s not as much travel involved for me most of the time.
We are not required to cover any particular presentation (although it is encouraged). Neither the presenters nor the Gestalt IT / Tech Field Day team direct, review, approve, or endorse any content created. In the past year or so most of my content around the events and presenters have been realtime on the streams and on Twitter, but you will likely see some more blog posts here over the coming month.
Prosimo provided a branded 20 oz Yeti mug in the delegate swag bag, and incidentally I am drinking some Nespresso coffee (chocolate + peppermint mixed) from the mug as I write this post.
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