Data centers are doing more work than ever given the rise of cloud computing, big data and mobility. Relatively few of us have a granular understanding of what goes on in these vast — and increasingly virtualized — centers. But it’s obvious when something goes wrong: server errors on our screens, streaming programs freeze up, or worst of all, we read that hackers have gotten into the networks, and people’s private data have been compromised.
We want around-the-clock access, instant responsiveness and secure systems from the digital networks that enable our modern lives. Next-gen applications such as video, virtual and augmented reality, and distributed AI all require data to be processed closer to the edge at the lowest turnaround time and highest speeds.
From my time as the COO of Qualcomm and president of the company’s chipset and software division, I watched these trends emerge. Today, the most talented technologists in industry are building products to help network operators, service providers and enterprises meet these massive demands on their IT infrastructures.
Eli Karpilovski is someone who understands these challenges all too well. So, he and his team at InsidePacket have developed a solution that draws on their deep expertise in this space, and made believers out of some of the biggest names in tech. Think Microsoft, Baidu and Broadcom.
Now, to understand what we’re talking about here, think of a police officer standing in the middle of an intersection directing traffic. In this analogy, the streets throughout the city form the network, and the vehicles are the packets of data headed for the servers. These are the switching and routing functions that are essential for optimal computing.
Next, think of the navigation app that routes you away from the heaviest traffic and puts you on less congested roads. This is akin to load balancing on a network.
There are other important functions, such as firewall protection and determining the computing needs of incoming data. All of these functions are handled by gatekeeping devices known as middleboxes. Traditionally, each device was hard coded to perform one of those network services. So, the network operators, service providers and enterprises that needed them were forced to purchase monolithic middlebox appliances as computing and storage demands grew.
What Eli and his team have developed is a powerful and versatile solution to perform all the necessary functions faster and more efficiently on a commodity programmable-based switch ASIC. This solution is optimized to execute all of the required network services on a single box and at a low power envelope, while dramatically lowering the expense of middlebox deployments — deployments that can cost millions of dollars.
For those reasons — lowering cost, disaggregating software from hardware, and introducing flexibility — we felt InsidePacket was just the kind of company to partner with. We also enjoyed teaming up with Innovation Endeavors, which clearly understood the need to accelerate the open-networking stack.
As “hyperscaling” becomes more common, and computing pushes closer to the edge of networks, the global market is expected to reach $28.8 billion by 2025.
But beyond our investment in InsidePacket, we think a better endorsement of the company is its collaboration with Microsoft, Broadcom and Baidu that was announced today. That accomplishment speaks for itself, and you can learn more about it here.