Murad Kablan, CEOToday, enterprises are moving workloads to third-party managed hosting providers to modernize and manage their IT infrastructures. While this is a great source of revenue and explosive traffic growth for managed hosting providers, explosive growth has made the networks and network functions like firewalls, routers and load balancers inside hosting provider data centers incredibly fragile. Even with the introduction of software-defined networking and network function virtualization (NFV), hosting providers continue to struggle with the deployment and management of multitenant, at scale networks.
On witnessing this technological gap, a Ph.D. student, Murad Kablan and his advisor, Eric Keller set out to redesign network functions to overcome this challenge. At the core of their network architecture, the state of network functions was decoupled from their underlying processing to achieve high scalability and resiliency. While decoupling state is not a new concept, it historically has been challenging to realize in large-scale networks with high-performance demands.
The technology built by Murad and Eric overcame these challenges.
After developing the technology at the University of Colorado Boulder, the two went on to commercialize what they had built and founded Stateless. They grew the team and developed network service platform, a groundbreaking network services platform that streamlines the deployment and management of network functions in multitenant at scale environments. In addition to breaking the tight coupling of state and processing in network functions, the platform use principles from micro-services to break down monolithic network appliances into smaller components.
The platform runs on any commodity hardware—the initial deployment requires two OpenFlow enabled switches and four x86 servers in a scale-out clustered architecture.
Our ultimate mission is to create the most sophisticated and dynamic networks that are also dead simple to manage
Subsequently, more servers can be easily plugged in or removed as per the network capacity. “Our solution leverages the concept of scale-out architectures. This is very essential for CIOs who are forced to forecast the growth of their network bandwidth in the next 5-10 years,” states Kablan, CEO of Stateless.
The platform provides resource management, orchestration, and a user interface, while the library of network functions provides value-add services that can be chained together to fit an enterprise’s exact business requirements. The managed hosting provider just needs to build isolated chains of network services, configurable through API calls or a web interface, and the services are ready in a matter of minutes. Stateless’ web user interface also allows hosting providers to control the cluster and monitor tenant traffic across the network seamlessly.
“Our ultimate mission is to create the most sophisticated and dynamic networks that are also dead simple to manage,” states Kablan.
Stateless is laying the groundwork to grow beyond the managed hosting provider market segment and launch Akros into enterprises. “We see large enterprises having many of the same challenges with their networks,” said Kablan. In another exciting development, Stateless is also working to integrate the Akros platform with a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) package of a leading company.