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VMblog Expert Interview: Gaining a Better Understanding of Graphiant with Its CEO, Khalid Raza


VMblog recently spoke with Khalid Raza, the CEO and founder of Graphiant, to learn more about the company and changing the way businesses network.

VMblog:  Why did you found Graphiant?

Khalid Raza:  The building and maintenance of networks involves a broken system. In the past, enterprise networks were much simpler: a few data centers, some remote offices, and a means for salespeople to connect from the road. However, today, we must connect to multiple clouds, incorporate SaaS apps, have thousands of remote workers, integrate edge compute, and connect to various partner and customer networks.

And data is no longer exclusively in the data center - it is now spread across the world in "centers of data" (cloud, edge networks, IoT, etc.).

Building complex networks on this scale using MPLS or SDWAN no longer works. It is far too expensive and takes too long to deploy and make changes. In short, businesses required the performance MPLS provides, the agility SDWAN promised (but never delivered), and a dramatically lower price point.

The only way to achieve this was to build a private network and let businesses consume this "as-a-Service" network from a simple cloud portal-similar to how this is currently done for computers and storage.

VMblog:  Changing the way businesses network is an audacious goal. What made you believe that you could do this?

Raza:  I've done it before-twice, in fact. In the late 1990s, I was part of the team at Cisco that designed, built, and delivered MPLS. In fact, I have several patents related to it. We built MPLS to provide fast, reliable, and secure networking for enterprises; the technology took off like wildfire.

However, as the business networks grew, MPLS became too expensive and too slow to deploy. Thus, in 2012, I co-founded Viptela, where we introduced SDWAN, which could improve agility since the network was software-defined. It also allowed businesses to use public internet broadband for less critical traffic, which should have dramatically lowered costs.

So, we know how to change the way businesses network, and we are pretty good at it.

VMblog:  What does that deliver to the business?

Raza:  The first is agility. Today, enterprises design and build a bespoke network. This is done with networking devices that the enterprise selects, purchases, assembles and configures. In short, the enterprise is responsible for everything, including performance, reliability, and security.

The process can take months before the first packets flow; remember, the enterprise must design and build the network in the data center and at every business location. I spoke with a prospect recently, and he stated how, "Before the pandemic, we had 22 remote locations on our network. Now, with remote workers, we have 23,000."

Staying on top of all this is becoming impossible. However, it is easy with Graphiant. Enterprises consume the core network as-a-Service. Instead of spending months designing, procuring, and building a bespoke network, the business just clicks and consumes the network. Minutes, not months.

Second, hyper-scale class network performance. Graphiant's edge network is built at the level of a Meta or Google network with the performance, reliability, and security only a hyperscaler can deliver. No enterprise can match that - why would they?

One crucial advantage to call out is that traffic remains encrypted on the Graphiant core. In short, it is never decrypted, providing rock-solid security. Furthermore, Graphiant makes it easy to maintain compliance with local data sovereignty rules, such as GDPR.

And, finally, much better costs. We're seeing up to 70% savings over MPLS and SDWAN costs.

VMblog:  What about clouds? Does Graphiant help with that?

Raza:  The Graphiant network Edge service significantly simplifies public and hybrid cloud connectivity. Graphiant provides a simple and quality experience for enterprise cloud applications and users.

For multi-cloud deployment, Graphiant offers a single Graphiant core network that spans multiple clouds with the following:

  • A Graphiant service attachment to each region of the cloud network
  • A policy that defines the flow of application traffic across the Graphiant, cloud, and customer Edge networks

VMblog:  I can see how Graphiant works within the enterprise, but what about connecting to partner or customer networks?

Raza:  At present, it is time-consuming and difficult to connect an enterprise network to another organization's network. In brief, enterprises must build complex DMZs to connect the two networks. However, this is no longer necessary with Graphiant.

VMblog:  This is a major shift in how networks are built. How receptive are enterprises to this way of doing things?

Raza:  At first, this approach may appear foreign. However, this is how computers and storage are already being delivered through AWS, Azure, and other cloud providers. When Salesforce first introduced Software-as-a-Service, they were met with skepticism by both the media and analysts. Nevertheless, they crossed the billion-dollar sales mark a decade later and have never looked back.

What we have seen with the prospects is similar. It takes them a few minutes to understand what we're doing, but then a switch is flicked, and they will say, "Oh, wait ... so we don't have to build and maintain the network ourselves?" Once they understand that, their interest is certainly piqued.


Published Monday, April 03, 2023 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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