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Aviatrix’s Steve Mullaney: There’s No Going Back To ‘Cisco Model Of The 90s’

“We’re very picky, actually, about who we work with. If somebody is tied to the old, on-prem world, and selling boxes, we say: ‘Good luck and hold your breath when the boat goes down, because you’re going to get pulled under,’” the company’s CEO Steve Mullaney tells CRN.

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Out With The ‘Old’ And ‘Owning’ The Market

Steve Mullaney, a tech veteran, thought he was ready to join a board or two and retire following a successful career leading multiple IT companies. That’s until he saw the potential of the cloud networking market while on the board of upstart Aviatrix Systems Inc.

Mullaney’s impressive resume includes leading SDN and network virtualization startup Nicira as CEO until the company sold to VMware, upon which he led VMware’s networking security business unit. Before that, he led marketing and served as interim CEO for a time at Palo Alto Networks. Mullaney also led marketing for Blue Coat Systems, Force10 Networks, and Cisco. Since last March, he’s been sitting in the president and CEO seat for Santa Clara, Calif.-based Aviatrix.

The cloud networking space is primed to take off as enterprises demand cloud-native networking offerings that support new ways of accessing applications. The networking incumbents won’t be the winners in this space, and the cloud behemoths are happy to lock in customers to their platforms. Enter Aviatrix, which can offer visibility into complex, multi-cloud networks, according to Mullaney. And Aviatrix isn’t prepared to settle for a “crappy, couple billion-dollar acquisition” – the company is prepared to own the market, he added.

To that end, the company is looking to go to market with partners, but not just any solution providers. Aviatrix is seeking organizations that aren’t “tied to the old, on-premise world” and those that are “woke” when it comes to cloud. At the same time, Mullaney knows that there are no half measures when it comes to the channel, and the company wants to make working with Aviatrix worth partners’ while.

Mullaney sat down with CRN to discuss the trends toward multi-cloud and Aviatrix’s growth since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, how this trends is shaking up the networking market for both the incumbents and the cloud giants, and the areas of opportunity for the channel as Aviatrix builds out its own partner strategy.

Here’s what Mullaney had to say.

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