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VMblog Expert Interviews: Forward Networks Talks Managing Multi-Vendor Networks and VMware NSX

interview forward networks 

Software used to manage networks hasn't kept up with the expansion of networks themselves.  But that's where Forward Networks comes into play.  VMblog first met up with the company and viewed their technology during a Citrix Synergy 2019 video interview.  Recently, we spoke with Lisa Garvey, the company's VP of Marketing, to explore and find out more about the company and its technology.

VMblog:  For VMblog readers who might not be familiar with you yet, give us a little background on the company.

Lisa Garvey:  We're really set on revolutionizing the way large networks are managed. Forward's software delivers a "digital twin" of the network, enabling network operators to verify intent, predict network behavior, avoid outages, and simplify network management. 

We help our customers achieve more reliable networks, reduced outages, and reduced business risk. 

Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, the company was founded by 4 Stanford PhD graduates who were pioneers in software-defined networking (SDN). We've earned some great recognition in the industry, including being named a Gartner "Cool Vendor in Enterprise Networking," winning "Best in Show" at Citrix Synergy, and very recently earning the "Product of the Year" award from Cloud Computing magazine. 

VMblog:  VMblog spoke with your company at Citrix Synergy this year.  And I remember you won a "Best of Citrix Synergy 2019" award.  Did you get any feedback as to what helped you secure this award? 

Garvey:  We were delighted to win the "Best of Show" award at Citrix Synergy! That was a great event for us -- we actually had long lines of people waiting to see our demo. For me, it's really gratifying to present the software to network engineers, because you can watch their eyes light up when they realize how much troubleshooting time they can save, and how valuable it is to have complete end-to-end path analysis. 

VMblog:  How do you specifically help VMware users?  Where do you play in a VMware environment?

Garvey:  Our software, Forward Enterprise, delivers a single analytics and troubleshooting platform for both physical and virtual networks.  In a nutshell, we solve the overlay/underlay correlation problem that many NSX customers face. 

We empower IT teams to easily analyze and diagnose configuration and policy issues across virtual and physical networks by applying common network assurance and verification methodology, integrating policy and path-based views of both into a single network view.

VMblog:  Is your software targeted at certain types of network environments? 

Garvey:  We're actually quite happy to be completely vendor-agnostic, and our product supports hundreds of different network devices from all of the major vendors. We also support on-prem, cloud, and hybrid cloud deployments. 

What we've found with many of our largest customers is that complex, multi-vendor networks can be as fragile as a house of cards, and that's where our product really makes a huge impact on network visibility and reliability. 

VMblog:  What would you say are two key features of your solution?

Garvey:  First, it's truly vendor-agnostic, so it's perfect for managing complex multi-vendor networks. Second, it scales exceptionally well. We've put significant engineering work into making the product very robust, and we have customers today running Forward Enterprise on networks with tens of thousands of devices. Last week one of our customers, a network operator for a huge corporation, told us that his company's purchasing manager asked him, "How much do you want this software?"  His reply: "More than a 10-year-old wants a candy bar." That sort of feedback is really positive for the product and engineering teams who have put so much energy into building this platform. 

VMblog:  Any chance you'll be at VMworld this year? 

Garvey:  We won't have a booth, but we definitely wanted to experience it and meet up with attendees, so we're throwing a fun event on Monday at the Coin-Op game room in San Francisco. We invite your readers attending the show to register and enjoy some food, drinks, and tons of great arcade games, all set on free play. No quarters required! RSVP for a limited time at http://forwardnetworks.com/happy

VMblog:  The technology sounds great, but is there a way for people to trial it for themselves before they purchase?

Garvey:  Absolutely. We currently have a 90-day free trial offer for potential customers who want to try Forward Enterprise on networks of at least 100 devices. They can sign up for the free trial here: https://www.forwardnetworks.com/free-trial/

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Published Thursday, August 01, 2019 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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