Gartner: 5 Coolest Enterprise Networking Vendors Making Noise In 2016

Coolest Enterprise Networking Vendors

The increase in the number of cloud services and the changes in application architectures are significantly impacting the way enterprise networks are designed, built and managed. These five networking vendors might not be the first to come to mind when we think of the enterprise, but market researcher Gartner found that these lesser-known companies are creating unique solutions to solve emerging network challenges.

"A lot of these vendors are innovating around improved management and simplifying the network operations processes," said Andrew Lerner, research director at Gartner, Stamford, Conn., in an interview with CRN. "Most of these vendors are small and are early in their traditional channel development efforts, but several are getting creative in their channel and go-to-market approaches."

Here are five vendors Gartner ranks as the coolest network vendors making waves in the enterprise that solution providers should take a closer look at.


CEO: Manny Rivelo

Plano, Texas-based AppViewX made headlines in April as it hired former F5 Networks CEO Manny Rivelo to accelerate innovations and execution of AppViewX solutions.

The application-centric infrastructure specialist provides role-based multivendor application delivery controller (ADC) management, orchestration and automation software, which is important in today's market because of the changing buying needs between organization's traditional infrastructure and operations, and application-centric personnel, according to Lerner.

"AppViewX provides multivendor ADC orchestration -- that's something that none of the mainstay ADC vendors like F5 or Citrix have done to date," said Lerner.


Why Cool: AppViewX supports ADCs from vendors like Cisco, Citrix, A10Networks, F5 Networks and Radware. It also plans to add support for AWS' Elastic Load Balancer. No ADC vendor has had success in catering to diverse needs, which creates opportunity for AppViewX to provide a single unified console for enterprise to manage multiple ADC vendors' software, according to Lerner.

Why Not So Cool: The vendor both partners and competes with the likes of F5 and Citrix -- both of which have their own branded management and orchestration software. As AppViewX grows, this will create increased friction with its ADC partners.


CEO: Shiv Agarwal

Arkin, banking on the rise of software-defined data center, is able to simplify data center operations by using a "Google-esque" search interface combined with collaboration features, according to Lerner.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup provides management and visibility software with support from VMware NSX and ESX; servers from Cisco and Dell; and switches from Arista Networks, Brocade, Cisco and Juniper Networks.

The vendor has raised $22 million in funding since launching in 2013.


Why Cool: The startup has a unique approach to overcoming some of the early obstacles with SDN overlay deployments.

"Arkin adds visibility in environments where an overlay SDN solution like VMware NSX has been deployed," said Lerner.

Why Not So Cool: Arkin needs to improve its integration with physical infrastructure, as it is not on par with its virtual infrastructure support. The vendor also has close ties with VMware and is heavily reliant on the continued adoption of NSX.

Avi Networks

CEO: Amit Pandey

Avi Networks launched out of stealth mode in late 2014 by raising $33 million from venture capitalists, touting itself as the "next generation" ADC company.

Founded by former Cisco executives, Avi provides software that is better-aligned with cloud-native applications compared with typical ADC vendors. The vendor embeds visibility and analytics capabilities into the core ADC software product, which simplified application troubleshooting.

Avi Networks

Why Cool: Avi's approach bodes well for emerging cloud-native and microservices application architectures, according to Gartner. Lerner said the software is delivered at a very cost-effective price point, typically less than half the cost of typical hardware-based ADC solutions.

Why Not So Cool: The vendor is lacking in some capabilities enterprises require, such as support for Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), Web application firewall and hardware appliance form factor.


CEO: David Trossell

Bridgeworks provides software and appliances that optimize movement of large amounts of data between data centers, specifically for customers with workloads on AWS. The Lymington, England-based vendor can reduce the time to transfer data to AWS by as much as 70 percent, according to Lerner.

"Bridgeworks helps solve the longstanding challenge of getting large data sets into, across and out of Amazon," said Lerner.


Why Cool: Bridgeworks products address inefficiencies in transmission control protocols (TCP) and storage protocols running across the network. Lerner said the vendor improves data transfers and allows for better utilization of bandwidth for TCP-based data streams and storage traffic. The vendor's technology has also been integrated into IBM Storwize.

Why Not So Cool: Although Bridgeworks AWS solution is available in the AWS marketplace as an option, it is not a fully integrated with AWS or an embedded AWS feature.


CEO: Sanjay Uppal

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) specialist VeloCloud is the owner of an architecture that enables a simplified and cost-effective WAN edge. The Mountain View, Calif.-based vendor's offering is compelling for enterprises that are using public cloud services, especially Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, according to Lerner.

"As an SD-WAN player, in addition to their branch devices, VeloCloud pre-deploys their gateways in the cloud, at the front door of leading SaaS providers -- which improves network visibility and performance for SaaS apps," said Lerner.


Why Cool: Analysts have been saying that 2016 is the breakout year for SD-WAN, and VeloCloud is seen as a key vendor in the mix. The vendor offers WAN edge devices that are available as either software or hardware centrally managed from its orchestration platform.

VeloCloud has also worked with Vonage to embed its offering to provide resiliency for Vonage's enterprise customers.

Why Not So Cool: Competition is heavy in the crowded SD-WAN market, which includes incumbent router vendors, WAN specialist vendors and other providers of pure-play SD-WAN, such as Silver Peak, Viptela, CloudGenix and Nuage Networks.

T he Partner Play

Gartner analyst Joseph Skorupa told CRN that in order for these companies to scale without breaking the bank, they now require a channel-based approach.

"That said, in some segments -- consider reaching the Mode 2, DevOps buyer for supported open source -- a pull-based model is showing potential to disintermediate traditional channels," said Skorupa, in an email. "The new model will be tough on channels that provide little value-add beyond feet on the street. The old meaning, 'Value Added Reseller', will become a critical distinction."