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Partners: ‘Fantastic’ VMware-Avi Networks Deal Will ‘Lift’ NSX And SDN Innovation

‘I’m super happy that VMware is buying Avi because we have a big investment in VMware and NSX, and having those products come together means we’ll be able to bring that innovation from Avi forward to customers in a joint VMware product, which will be fantastic,’ says Mavenspire CEO Michael Tanenhaus.

VMware channel partners are bullish about the virtualization star’s planned acquisition of Avi Networks as it will boost NSX capabilities and software-defined networking innovation while also giving partners a leg up on the competition.

“I’m super happy that VMware is buying Avi because we have a big investment in VMware and NSX, and having those products come together means we’ll be able to bring that innovation from Avi forward to customers in a joint VMware product, which will be fantastic,” said Michael Tanenhaus, CEO of Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Maryland-based VMware and Dell Technologies partner. “Whenever we were in front of an Avi customers, they would say, ‘It’s delivering on advanced things in a way that we understand and can consume and we know how to do it.’ Avi just figured out how to make solutions in an intuitive way that will be great for us in the market.”

VMware on Thursday unveiled plans to acquire the multi-cloud application delivery and software-defined networking (SDN) specialist formed in 2012 by former Cisco executives.

[Related: Scale Computing CEO On Sales ‘Tailwinds’ From Dell-VMware Closer Ties]

Tanenhaus said his company has been watching Avi Networks for years as they grow and innovate. “There’s tons of SDN startups out there, but here’s one that has a great relationship with Cisco, was noted for the number of VMware customers on it and VMware itself said, ‘There’s a match here.’ It strengthens VMware’s ability to develop software-defined networking products because they’ll have the Avi Networks people into their engineering mix,” he said.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company launched out of stealth mode in December 2014 after raising $33 million from venture capitalists. The Avi platform enables organizations to overcome the complexity and rigidness of legacy systems and application devilry controller (ADC) appliances with modern, software-defined application services. The Avi Vantage platform delivers multi-cloud application services including its Intelligent Web Application Firewall (iWAF), a Software Load Balancer and Elastic Service Mesh.

“Unlike existing ADC solutions, Avi Networks’ distributed ADC is designed for modern data center and public cloud deployments, with an architecture that mirrors cloud principles,” said Avi Networks CEO Amit Pandey in a statement. “Upon [VMware’s] close, customers will be able to benefit from a full set of software-defined [Layer 2 to Layer 7] application networking and security services, on-demand elasticity, real time insights, simplified troubleshooting, and developer self-service.”

Robert Keblusek, CTO of Sentinel Technologies, ranked No. 108 on CRN’s 2019 Solution Provider 500 list, said customers are increasingly seeking load balancing and WAF solutions that can work across clouds and on-premise, which is core to Avi Networks solutions.

“I have some customers that are in regulated industries that are looking to have web application firewalls across a lot more workloads that need it. They’re asking us for that. We have some options in our portfolio, but it’s really nice to see some more software-defined controller-based options available that VMware will integrate,” said Keblusek who partners with VMware.

Keblusek said the integrations with NSX “could be very key” in winning new sales opportunities.

“We have some customers interested in NSX who haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet unless they really need micro-segmentation or security features. So the more that they can integrate into that [Avi Networks] platform, the more appealing it’s going to be across multiple markets,” he said. “The more application aware we can make these software-defined networks that span premise and multi-cloud, the better it is for customers to be able to lean on leaders like VMware to secure their environment and help them migrate into a multi-cloud world.”

VMware’s Tom Gillis, senior vice president and general manager for networking and security, said Avi Networks built a software architecture that is “truly scale-out” with a centralized controller. Avi’s controller manages not just the configuration of the individual load balancers, but also manages their state.

“This architecture mirrors the approach of our groundbreaking software-defined networking solution VMware NSX,” said Gillis in a blog post on Thursday. “For this reason, we are very excited that the Avi team will join forces with the NSX team after the deal closes to completely redefine how networking infrastructure is designed and deployed.”

VMware, which is part of Dell Technologies, said it will offer both built-in load balancing capabilities as part of the VMware NSX Data Center as well as an advanced standalone ADC.

Financial terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close in VMware’s current fiscal quarter, were not disclosed.

Partners are bullish about the future of Avi Networks technology inside the VMware solution stack as well as the even larger Dell Technologies portfolio.

“The Dell-VMware synergies are very strong,” said Sentinel’s Keblusek. “What they’re pulling together especially for multi-cloud, management, mobility, monitoring, security -- it really is a strong portfolio. Avi with NSX is extending those capabilities even further.”

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