Browse by year:
April - 2015 - issue > Cover Story
Aryaka A Disruptor in the Enterprise WAN Space
Durgesh Prakash
Monday, April 6, 2015
When Aryaka was founded in 2009, cloud computing was just beginning to pick up momentum within the enterprise. Yet, Aryaka saw a major opportunity to disrupt the business class networking space. By moving expensive, complicated technologies, such as WAN Optimization, to the cloud and offering it as a service, Aryaka could bring these technologies to a broader section of the market.

Before Aryaka, only the largest enterprises those with enough resources to throw both money and IT personnel at the problem could afford long haul networking and optimization services. With Aryaka, the mid-market could now compete on a level playing field with large enterprise players.

Back in 2009, this seemed like a risky move. But in hindsight, it's clear that Aryaka founder Ajit Gupta timed the launch of his new company perfectly especially now that even the incumbent networking players are following Aryaka's lead, hunting for ways to transform their networking hardware into services.

Since its founding, Aryaka has emerged as the primary disruptor in the global enterprise WAN space.

For today's globalized workforce, it is crucial for enterprises to communicate and share information to their branch offices to attain optimal productivity in their daily operations. Private networks such as MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) have, until recently, been the sole resource for WAN connectivity. The MPLS links interconnected data centers and branches and offered a lot of advantages, such as any-to-any connectivity and Carrier WAN routing.

But taking into account how network traffic is evolving and how branches and offices are spreading out around the globe, private links such as MPLS fall short, failing to offer on-demand bandwidth, while also falling victim to issues such as packet loss and latency. Moreover, deploying private links such as MPLS takes months and incurs even more costs. So, in the absence of optimization or deduplication enterprises have to expend more on optimization appliances too.

Aryaka addresses the complex application and network performance issues faced by the modern distributed enterprise, something the old hardware model couldn't do. Aryaka connects enterprises to distributed workforces across branches, irrespective of their global locations, giving users instant access to mission critical applications in a seamless and cost effective manner.

Ajit Gupta's Vision of Disruption

One of the reasons Ajit founded Aryaka is because in his previous businesses he had seen employees struggle with global information sharing. "Not too long ago, it wasn't uncommon for an employee who needed to download a large file to come into the office, hit download, and then sit around with nothing to do for the twenty or thirty minutes it took for the file to download," Ajit said. "That just doesn't cut it in today's competitive landscape."

Ajit was uniquely positioned to take on this challenge. His previous startup, Speedera, which he sold to Akamai for half a billion dollars, was an early player in the Content Delivery Network (CDN) space.

With Aryaka, Ajit was determined to displace the networking status quo, which required long deployment cycles and a great deal of IT management. IT had to install boxes in the data center or on-premises, while still needing long-haul connectivity to make everything work.

"That's such an outdated approach," Ajit said. "It would be like installing a generator in your backyard rather than simply tapping into the power grid. Sure, you may want that generator in case the grid goes down, but using it as your primary power source is incredibly inefficient."

This represents a major technological shift, and Aryaka is at the forefront of this trend. Now, everything from CRM to ERP to security services have moved to the cloud.

"We're still in the very early days of this major transformation," Ajit said. "Even though we have hundreds of customer contracts at Aryaka, this market is barely penetrated. There are thousands upon thousands of companies that could benefit from what we've done, and it's our job to make sure they learn that there is a better way to do things, a way that aligns with the other technological changes enterprises must cope with."

To accelerate its global expansion, Aryaka just recently secured new funding, raising a $16 million financing round led by Nexus Venture Partners and joined by existing investors Trinity Ventures, InterWest Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Presidio Ventures.

This brings Aryaka's total funding to date to $75 million.

"This new funding will see us through to profitability and an eventual IPO. We're already growing at a rate of 100% each year, but to accelerate that growth, we need to grow, bringing in more people, especially in support, channel sales, and marketing. I strongly believe we're a multi-billion dollar company in the making, and this new funding will be the fuel that helps us achieve escape velocity. And then, watch out. You'll be hearing a lot more about us in the coming months and years," Ajit said.

Building Aryaka into an industry giant is important to Ajit Gupta. When he sold Speedera to Akamai, it's not what his team wanted. "I actually had people coming into my office, crying," he said. "The only crying for us this time around will be tears of joy as we reach each successive milestone and push aside old-fashioned incumbents along the way."

Using the Cloud to Make the Cloud Better

Aryaka's cloud journey started on day one. The company disrupted the on-premises legacy of sharing content and applications between private point-to-point local networks by providing access to mission-critical applications via software-defined WAN connections in the cloud. Aryaka offers WAN Optimization as-a-service through a model that is built in the cloud and for the cloud, thus eliminating the need of capacitating a box-type legacy model.

The disruption also fuels acceleration for the applications to be accessed across networks, irrespective of their locations, at LAN like speeds. The pay-as-you-go model enables business of all sizes to deploy it in minutes and scale according to the demand.

The story of Aryaka has really been "One Network for the Enterprise."Through Aryaka ONE, enterprise locations and remote users can securely connect to Aryaka's network to achieve end-to-end connectivity and visibility.

According to Ajit, though the cloud services offered by the likes of Amazon and Salesforce are more global, they are not built to serve up mission-critical applications. So any employee who needs to access a mission-critical application has to go through the data center located close to the company headquarters via the public internet. This results in latency issues. Aryaka answers this challenge by offering WAN as-a-Service via the cloud.

Aryaka's Cloud based WAN as-a-Service integrates the benefits of WAN optimization, application delivery and cloud access, and delivers a reliable, secure and dedicated connectivity into a single intelligent optimized network. Through the 25 globally distributed Points of Presence (POPs), Aryaka's WAN as-a-Service enables the end user to connect to the closest POP, resulting in closer and faster access to networks.

The real difference between an Aryaka POP and the traditional data center is that the data center, in addition to being more expensive, works only for point-to-point data and application delivery. Whereas Aryaka POPs are connected via a private cloud-based network with built-in optimization not only ensure great connections, but also provide integrated Quality of Service. To get an idea of the real difference between point-to-point networks and POPs from an accessibility perspective, Aryaka POPs ensure less than 30 millisecond latency for more than 90% of enterprise users worldwide.
Consuming enterprise networking as a service saves businesses from spending on CAPEX and OPEX on point solutions. Clients can have Zero CAPEX and lower total cost of ownership. CIOs have a choice and chance to recover the costs not just in the equipment, but also in terms of managing and maintaining them.

Aryaka's network of POPs has a wide global footprint, including locations in such major business centers as San Jose, Sao Paulo, London, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Sydney, among others.

How Aryaka Helps Businesses Grow

One of the companies that has taken full advantage of Aryaka's new model of enterprise-class networking is JAS Forwarding Worldwide, a leading logistics provider. JAS had to review its operations in order to improve performance and build efficiencies. With 45 subsidiaries in more than 80 countries and with more than 3800 employees, the complexity of JAS' IT operation was huge.

The major challenge for JAS was that it had a fragmented IT structure and multiple suppliers to deal with. Adding to the problem, many of JAS' subsidiaries were located in areas with limited access to internet such as South Africa. JAS was using a cloud-based solution called CargoWise for ERP, but it didn't work well for many users due to packet loss, latency and other issues that arise when apps are delivered over long distances. By implementing Aryaka's WAN as-a-Service, JAS was soon able to recover from their performance issues and gain consistent accessibility across all their locations.
"With Aryaka, not only were we able to improve the application performance significantly, but the fully managed service was a huge sell for us as well. Now we have a reliable network with management built-in globally. A simple, cost-effective solution with no maintenance or capital expenditure," said Mark Baker, CIO of JAS Forwarding Worldwide.
The shift to Aryaka resulted in 300 times faster TCP connection setup, and JAS achieved a 95 percent compression rate with a quick implementation timeframe, built-in redundancy and a fully managed service with 24/7 support.

Vertical Traction across the Economy

Aryaka has an extremely horizontal solution that finds significant traction in the manufacturing, energy, healthcare, software, business services, architecture, design and publication, and financial services verticals. Some of the firm's customers include Skullcandy, Aruba Networks, Websense, Tableau, Oxford Economics, Henny Penny, Align Technology, NTT Data, and ThoughtWorks.

Six years in, Aryaka may well be near the top already. Aryaka is the firm that disrupted the WAN space and is now serving an illustrious roster of clients; however, Aryaka hasn't lost sight of its roots and also continues to stay true to its initial focus of serving the mid-market sector. Its solution is built to serve businesses of all sizes, and Ajit intends to keep it that way.

What You do Defines You

Ajit Gupta may be a hardcore technologist, an IITian no less, but his attitude is what defines him.
"Everyday there's something new to learn, and at the end of the day it is all about building something that is worthwhile, something that helps other people," Ajit Gupta points out.

Acknowledged as one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in recent years, competing in a multi-billion dollar networking industry, and offering better solutions than AT&T, Verizon, and Riverbed, Ajit sees the acceleration continuing.

"It is like building a highway," he says.

"We build it primarily for cars, but you can't forget the other traffic, the big trucks and whatever comes along in the future. Our platform enables us to offer far more services in the networking industry than others can. "And this is what Aryaka actually stands for a road well built and an exciting way ahead.

The Perseverance of an Entrepreneur

To Ajit Gupta, perseverance was not only about setting an audacious goal and pursuing it relentlessly, but it was also about picking the right problem to solve, one that could improve what we think of as "business as usual." After his tenure at Speedera Networks, which was acquired by Akamai Technologies in 2005, it set the stage for him to thrive with his next venture. "At the end of Speedera, I felt like I had just gotten off a treadmill running at a 100 miles an hour, and I was glad that I did. But that feeling lasted a very short time, and now I'm back on the treadmill, but there's absolutely nothing I'd rather be doing today. The journey is exciting, and I intend to see it through to the end," said Ajit Gupta, Founder and CEO of Aryaka Networks.

Ajit exemplifies being a leader as he learns about his employees and listens to their experiences when they join Aryaka. He believes that a work culture revolves around the leadership, but one that doesn't let hierarchy get in the way of good decision making. He attracts passionate employees and supports an open and fun culture.

"To create something out of nothing is exciting," Ajit noted. And it's clear that this challenge brings out the exuberance of a man of supreme confidence. His managerial and entrepreneurial success rests on his undying spirit and optimism and also reflects in his role as a CEO. To constantly find good people, keep them excited, ensure they have all the tools necessary to make them productive all of this is a challenge, and Ajit Gupta has yielded the best results for Aryaka.

Share on LinkedIn