>> From our studios in the heart of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, California, this is a CUBE Conversation.

Peter Burris : Hi, I’m Peter Burris, and welcome to another CUBE Conversation. One of the challenges that any digital business or any business faces is how to more rapidly and simply configure their business so that it can take advantage of the opportunities and challenges that their industry faces. Now, it’s very, very difficult in a world where a lot of the underlying network resources are hardwired, so as a consequence, every business is looking at new technologies and new options for how they can better software-define how those network resources are set up and organized and operate, especially in the WAN area. So to have that conversation about how to bring a new approach to thinking about network facility and network ease, we’ve got Shashi Kiran, who’s the CMO of Aryaka, here to talk to us. Shashi, welcome to theCUBE.

Shashi Kiran : Thank you, Peter. It’s wonderful to be here.

Peter Burris : So, let’s start, what’s the update on Aryaka?

Shashi Kiran : Well, you caught me on a good day today because we’re just coming off our Q3 results, and we really had a good quarter, lot of new logos coming in and new customers piggybacking on the digital transformation that you talked about. As they go about transforming their organizations digitally, moving to the cloud, modernizing their application stacks, what they see is that underlying infrastructure sometimes bottlenecks and impedes their global transformation effort, so I think our contribution has been to really get rid of those speed bumps as part of that WAN transformation and accelerate it.

Peter Burris : Well, let’s talk a little bit about that WAN transformation. What is it, in particular, that customers are struggling with as they think about moving to more of an SD-WAN world? And I’ll give you a little bit of a clue, as far as I can see it, as they start to think more in terms of software-defined WAN, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be thinking about installing a whole bunch of network operating systems, have I got that right?

Shashi Kiran : I think that’s spot on. First of all, WAN transformation, SD-WAN, these are all means to an end, and in many cases, depending on the type of customers, sometimes it’s not really where their area of expertise is. They would rather focus on their business imperatives and say, “Hey, somebody else needs to figure this problem out”, and it’s less about network operating systems getting distributed because that also leads to its own set of issues, then figuring them, patching them, and maintaining that is a huge issue.

Peter Burris : Pain for them.

Shashi Kiran : It’s a very painful operational overhead, so what we do and who Aryaka is we’re perhaps the industry’s first and – I would like to say best – managed SD-WAN solution, which means we kind of take care of the connectivity globally. We have our own POPs, points of presence, almost 35 of them globally, and they are set up that they are 20 to 30 milliseconds away from any new site that could be activated, and we have our own orchestration platform. We have our CPE’s as well that we lease out, or it’s consumed as part of service, and our own security offering as well as WAN optimization offering, so it’s really this whole platform architecture that we can mass the complexity off and offer a simple service for any customers to consume, and so that’s really where they look at it as something that will help them be more agile, but also because we have our own network, it helps things to be a lot more predictable. Key triggers we see drivers for our application performance, somebody’s having issues, particularly in a distributed global environment, they come to us. Move to the cloud, that’s a big deal, particularly in a multi-cloud area. That’s almost 50% of the inquiries that we receive in terms of us really acting as a gateway for their cloud globally. MPLS contracts expiring, and MPLS, as you know, has been a really good mainstay for the last couple of decades, but it’s not really where the cloud world is, so we see a lot of that serving as a trigger, but more often than not, it’s really allying with the business imperatives and seeing, could we be a partner for their transformation initiatives?

Peter Burris : Give me a sense of how SD-WAN should work optimally. What should an SD-WAN be for the business, and how does it relate to business flexibility and different value propositions?

Shashi Kiran : So today if you look at the market, I would say there are two models for SD-WAN, and on one side, you have these overlay SD-WAN providers who have been coming out in the last few years. In fact, there’s a lot of clutter in the market with the overlay SD-WAN providers, and what they do is they have a box controller, gateway functionality, and it’s really meant to be an overlay on somebody else’s network, with agility being the promise, and it leverages internet for the most part, so that’s one approach, which is good when somebody wants to get SD-WAN going in a reasonable area with a fast time to market, but there are predictability issues. There are issues in terms of scaling it globally, so that’s where the second model comes in, which is sort of the operators of the world, the service providers and TELCOs of the world, and they say, look, we have the network, and we will take the intellectual property of these SD-WAN software vendors, and offer it as a managed SD-WAN solution.

Peter Burris : But it’s somebody else’s intellectual property?

Shashi Kiran : It’s somebody else’s IP for the most part, right, and so the challenge with that is really the experience that gets out either for the end user or for the application, and in many case, again, when you go down the path of a global network, they have SLA handoffs across multiple providers, last mile issues, and things like that, so each has its pros and cons, and I think where we have focused our energies on is really something that’s the best of both. As I said, we own the underlying network, which allows us to give very predictable performance, fully meshed, and 99.99 plus percent availability, but we also are now looking at the last mile, procuring, managing that, so it’s end-to-end connectivity. Many of our POPs are co-located with the public cloud providers, whether its AWS, Azure, Google, and so we have a direct connect, and we are able to manage that cloud connectivity. And then, each of these links are able to optimize those WAN, really allow for bursting, look at each application, then give it the kind of priority that it deserves, and the security aspect of it, so bringing all of these things together, and today, I would say we can almost get up any new site, globally up and running, in a matter of a couple of days, and that is huge because what we have seen traditionally is it takes weeks to months just for site planning, and in case of MPLS, activating it, so that’s really where we see, you know, can you bring this into a consumption model, just like electricity or water. You want somebody to say–

Peter Burris : Well, the cloud.

Shashi Kiran : Oh, the cloud, right, and that actually has helped a lot with the mindset because CIOs and a number of application architects, they’re now used to the cloud model, it’s a consumption model, so the question is why can’t the WAN be like that? Why does it need to be hardwired? Why does it need to be hop by hop across so many different providers? Can you make the cloud equal to the WAN as well and make the WAN consumable? So that’s really where the energy focus and the kind of customers that we’re attracting are subscribing to that approach.

Peter Burris : So you’re getting the flexibility of a service and the predictability of having your own IP being able to provide that service?

Shashi Kiran : Yes, so it’s a flexibility, but also speed. You know, agility is a very important driver for SD-WAN, so I remember some of these images floating around would say, choose two, it’s either fast or it’s good or it’s cheap, and you don’t have all three, and in a way, we kind of bring all three together because fast, it’s good, and over a period of time, because we continue to drive the cost down, it ends up in a lower TC offering as well, so that’s the sweet spot in the center.

Peter Burris : So give us some sense of how customers are using you today. Are they deploying you for specific applications, specific regions, or are they actually starting to use you as a general approach to managing globally their wide area networks?

Shashi Kiran : It’s a bit of both. I see a lot of customers are expanding their footprint, either through M&As, or because they have a manufacturing facility somewhere, there’s a freight and logistic facility, and it’s a global world today, right, and the whole globalization phenomenon has meant that how do you actually get a consistency in terms of your connectivity, but more importantly, your application experience and expertise as well, and so that is a key trigger. Can you normalize and have a democratic approach to all of your sites, not just your headquarters, and make your employee pool that much more productive, so that’s a key CIO, CEO level conversation which is driving a lot of these decisions. In fact, today I just posted on my LinkedIn profile about a case study of customer called Element Solutions, so this company was formally called PSP. They’re a chemical manufacturing company, and so they wanted to get off MPLS, so they chose Aryaka, and they also wanted to go down the path with the managed service offering, but what was very interesting to me personally was business happened. You know, just as you say life happens, business happened, and what happened to them was they decided to divest almost half of their business, which they spun off into a different company called Arysta, and as I scoped it out, it was very hard for them to actually take away half of the company, including its infrastructure, and carve it out and keep the lights running in both places, and so what we enabled them to do was kind of just do that in a non-disruptive way with zero down time, and they ended up being two successful companies out there, and this was for them kind of magic, right, and so–

Peter Burris : So you created a whole new set of options for them?

Shashi Kiran : Yes, yes, and even before they were looking at the different options, it was taking a two-year period for them to kind of just do the planning and the execution, and we kind of did that in about four to six months globally, and so that is when they are now willing to stand up on a platform on our behalf and say, hey, you know, this is what Aryaka did for us, and they come and share that experience externally, and the good part for me as a CMO is I’m about two and a half months into this company, and the first four weeks that I was here, I was on a call with four to five different customers in those four, five weeks who were talking on our behalf to the media, and this for me, even while I was at companies like Cisco, was a hard thing to accomplish because to get a customer to go speak on your behalf, on behalf to the media, was big issue, but here I see them being ebullient, they’re happy, and they’re happy to speak on behalf to the media, which is pleasantly surprising for a CMO.

Peter Burris : Hey, your customers are your best sellers, right?

Shashi Kiran : Absolutely.

Peter Burris : Shashi Kiran, CMO of Aryaka, thanks very much for being on theCUBE.

Shashi Kiran : Thank you, Peter, I enjoyed being here.

Peter Burris : And once again, I’m Peter Burris, and this has been another CUBE Conversation. Until next time.