Startup aims SDN technology at Cisco WANs

Glue Networks developing automation tools for managing WAN operations

SDNs aren't just for data center networks, despite the best-use-case-scenario arguments for network virtualization and flow management pervading the industry.

SDNs can automate and manage WAN operations as well. Google is using OpenFlow to interconnect data center over a WAN.

And startup Glue Networks is targeting Cisco's installed base of WAN routers as a sweet spot for its SDN WAN offerings.

[ SDN STARTUP FEVER: Move over SDN; startup looking to go where only Cisco, VMware tread ]

Major IT trends such as SaaS, private clouds, BYOD, mobility and voice/data convergence are stressing the quality of links in an enterprise WAN, as analyst Lee Doyle notes here. WAN links now require improved security, lower latency, higher reliability and support for any device in any location to accommodate these trends.

SDN can help enterprise IT accomplish this without the expense of upgrading individual WAN links, Doyle notes. The technology can allow for prioritization of key applications and traffic types, ease provisioning for new sites, new applications, and changed traffic priorities, enhance security and more tightly link WAN service to specific applications.

That's what Glue Networks is after. Glue's gluware software runs in the cloud and provides a cloud-based service for turning up remote sites and teleworkers worldwide. It is designed to lower the cost of private WAN networking by automating those operations and handling ongoing maintenance, monitoring, life-cycle management and feature extension.

Some of those features might include Cisco's WAAS Express, ScanSafe, ISE, MediaNet and TrustSec services.

The software automates the provisioning of voice, video, wireless, LAN networking, IP addressing, PKI security, firewalls, VLANs and ACLs, and allows users to configure a meshed, spoke-to-spoke, low-latency infrastructure that is QoS-enabled, the company says.

The company's gluware Teleworker software resides in the cloud and acts as a control plane to create a secure data plane for teleworkers to connect to the corporate network. Teleworkers can self-provision their equipment with a single click and no IT support, Glue claims.

Glue's products are essentially a software-defined dynamic multipoint VPN offered as a monthly software-as-a-service subscription. It includes a central policy-based controller, applications with "CCIE intelligence," and an API to configure the OS using the applications.

Glue's gluware also includes tools for alert notification based on thresholds; hardware ordering logistics and router provisioning workflows; end-user and administrator monitoring portals; repository of network configurations, end-user data, and reporting and monitoring data; agents to proactively monitor the health of the network and deploy large-scale configurations; and an orchestrator to generate hardware configurations, check for errors and conduct "self-healing" operations.

Glue says its addressable market is the $12 billion worth of 16 million Cisco WAN routers installed globally. Glue expects Cisco to have 23 million WAN routers installed by 2017.

Glue was founded in 2007. It has about $6.2 million in funding from a $4.5 million Series A round in 2011, and $1.7 million in convertible notes in 2012. The company's investors include Keiretsu Forum, San Joaquin Angels, Sierra Angels, Sacramento Angels, Sand Hill Angels, Harvard Angels, Halo Fund and Angel Forum.

Glue is headquartered in San Francisco and the company's executive team is comprised of officials from Yelofin Networks, Cisco, Agilent, Intel, INX and MTV Networks.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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