Aryaka’s Flexcore – Is it a Lexota?
You don’t have to be a big automobile afficionado to know that every major auto brand has a luxury line with its own distinct branding. For instance, Toyota has Lexus; Honda has Acura; Nissan has Infinity; Volkswagen has Audi and so on. The reasoning behind the separate brand strategy is simple. It helps differentiate the product (and service) offerings better. Having owned a Toyota car and a Lexus SUV I am aware of the differences in both product and service. Lexus is a better designed car, has nicer looking and expensive leather seats, better looking finishes and even premium paint. When it comes to service checks, the experience is different too. The Lexus service advisor ensures all my service needs are met. The customer service lounge, while waiting, has nicer amenities. On the other hand, the Toyota service, while good and efficient, lacks the pampering and extra touches of the Lexus brand and of course the price of both the product and service differs as well! I wish the oil change charges that I paid at Lexus was the same as Toyota’s.
In the world of managed network services, Aryaka has always offered a superior “Lexus-like” experience for its customers. If you don’t believe me because I work there, then look at our Gartner Peer Insights Reviews to hear what our customers say about us or look at our Net Promoter Score (NPS) rating which is an unbelievable 65. Rest of the industry is below 15. That puts us in a nice “niche” category, but we lacked the “Toyota-like” mass-appeal which is about to change now.
EZ is Easy!
We are offering a brand new SmartConnect-EZ product offering over a private Layer-3 core. This is cost-optimized and will widen Aryaka’s appeal to the “Small and Medium” segment of the Enterprise market. We continue to offer our premium SmartConnect-Pro offering that runs on a Layer-2 core for our more discerning customers who want to deliver the absolute best network for the best possible application performance. The Pro offers the best application performance because we do TCP optimization at the network level, application optimization using SSL, CIFS proxies and WAN optimization features like de-duplication and compression. All from our POPs (Points of Presence), without the need for any external appliances.
For the cost-optimized SmartConnect-EZ product line, these optimizations are disabled.
Yes, you read that right. No WAN optimization on EZ. Zilch, zero, nope, nada.
But the Layer-3 core is not without its unique advantages. We hand-pick Tier-1 ISPs for the long-haul meshes over the Internet. We not only ensure that customer’s traffic reaches from point A to point B over the lowest possible latency link but also has the best network characteristics to deliver an optimal performance. Aryaka deals with over 200 ISPs all over the world and we are aware of which provider delivers the best network. We leverage this experience to deliver the best value for our customers. One common trick that all major ISPs employ is prioritizing ICMP traffic to make them “look good”. They know very well that customers typically perform “ping” tests to check latencies. Ping runs on ICMP and by prioritizing ICMP the ISP looks “good” when unsuspecting prospects do ping tests to evaluate one ISP over the other. While they may pass your ping test with flying colors, the real test is what happens to your critical application data when it traverses their network. The internet works on peering and one can view the peering hierarchy as a parent-child relationship. Tier-1 ISPs (usually the big names) peer with one another. Tier-2 and Tier-3 ISPs peer with their corresponding Tier-1 provider. As your traffic goes from point A to point B over the internet, unbeknownst to you it crosses several peering junctions. A Tier-1 provider might have resources to avoid choking or over-subscription, but you cannot say the same for any of the lower tier providers. And when it comes to preference, almost all of them will give higher preference to paying customers like Aryaka as we buy routes directly from the Tier-1 ISPs. So the next time an under-sea cable gets cut, guess whose traffic will have to take the longer detour –Aryaka customer’s or the average home broadband user’s?
Silver or Gold?
For support and services, we are introducing a new tier called the “silver-tier” for our EZ products and the existing Pro service offering is renamed as “gold-tier”. The silver tier comes with a tad bit slower response time and longer review cycle (quarterly for the gold vs annually for the silver) and minus a few other things like a dedicated support personnel etc. But rest assured, when an issue crops in your network, our lion-hearted support team is always there to get you back up and running!
So, in some ways, one could say we have a complete product and service offering – a higher end “Pro” and the lower-end “EZ”, like the 2-brand strategy of leading car companies.
But I want both!
This is where our similarities end as we have added a unique twist. We like to call it the “Flexcore” strategy. Unlike the binary experience of the car companies, we would like to offer the choice to our customers. Let them decide what kind of product and service offering they would like. In almost all Enterprises you are likely to have different needs. For instance, not all applications have the same sensitivity level for packet loss, latency, and jitter. And not all sites are similar. Some sites like HQ or DC or big branch locations might have a different network requirement than a smaller site or a remote office or an individual home office. Likewise, not all workers have the same network needs. A CAD engineer working on product design at a manufacturing company requires a certain network response to render the high-resolution images from the cloud or Data Center while another colleague in the very same location could be working on a productivity application like Microsoft 365 which works perfectly fine over plain old internet.
We at Aryaka with our unique capabilities can make this happen. With AppAssure and Deep Packet Inspection, we can treat every application at every site for every worker differently. We can choose to steer for instance, an SAP database transaction which is sensitive to loss, latency and jitter over the Layer-2 core while steering a personal productivity application over the internet or over our Layer 3 core. This is what we refer to as our “Flexcore” architecture. Or even better, you could start off deploying all applications over the Layer-3 core and selectively choose the ones which require a superior network onto the Layer-2 core. All with a few mouse clicks! Try doing that with any other Managed Network provider!
Such Flexibility is impossible with traditional SDWAN, where best effort internet connectivity is combined with MPLS, enabled by establishing an overlay network. MPLS is inherently inflexible and will not allow for the mixing and matching of Aryaka’s Flexcore architecture. Also, overlay networks with path steering are not structurally addressing performance issues and only use guessing algorithms to pick the best path. The Flexcore architecture provides the deterministic performance of MPLS with superior levels of agility and flexibility. Who doesn’t want to instantly move between a Toyota and Lexus without a hitch?
We also offer a service upgrade SKU from silver to gold for your EZ site if you so wish to have that highly sought after “white-glove” Aryaka service experience for a nominal cost.
So, unlike the car companies, where you have a binary choice of a Lexus or a Toyota experience, with Aryaka we have de-coupled the product and service to offer you a wide range of choice for your different applications and site needs. Should we refer to our Flexcore then as Lexota?
Our goal at Aryaka is to help network managers improve their Mean Time to Innocence (MTTI). Network managers almost always get blamed for application performance issues and this has gone on for far too long. With Aryaka by their side, network managers should be able to wear the T-shirt that says “It is NOT the network, stupid!”.