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September - 2010 - issue > CEO Spot Light
Next-Big-Opportunity-In--Networking-'Up-In-The-Clouds?'
Raj Kanaya
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
New technology leaders are created whenever there is a significant shift in computing architecture. Over the years, we witnessed customers march from mainframe to client/server models and now to web-based architectures. Leaders have emerged to exploit each of these industry-wide shifts. The move toward client/server came with a host of challenges – including the network latency of delivering applications to far off places. By tuning a lightweight remote access protocol for server-based applications, Citrix seized upon what others at the time only saw as a limitation and exploited it. In the Web era, a startup called NetScaler rose to prominence by identifying the inefficiencies of http and removing the crippling effects of web server overload.

Today, we face yet again a major fork-in-the-road but this time it’s not just application delivery models that are being re-envisioned. Cloud computing is not just a ‘north-to-south’ user-to-application delineation that past compute models were defined by. Cloud touches all things – from storage redundancy to virtual machine migrations to scale out type of application architectures. The promise of the Cloud is in transforming IT so that it is delivered as a service.

The reality is that delivering on this vision places fundamentally new and profound requirements on data center infrastructure. In the LAN, both incumbents and new vendors are introducing new infrastructure to deal with the explosion of “east-west” traffic inherent in the new computing paradigm – that is, server to server or storage array to storage array. We also see this “east-west” traffic spilling out onto the WAN where enterprises are especially ill-equipped to handle the increase in volume. At Infineta, we develop a product that optimizes the inter-data center WAN and enables improved data mobility – whether it’s storage, virtual machines, or any other form of cross-data center or cloud-based traffic. That’s our singular mission.

As for a startup’s ability to succeed in this or any other period? I think entrepreneurs today have the same set of fundamental challenges they faced thirty years back: 1) develop an idea that matters and 2) execute like crazy. For a startup, a great idea is defined by one that addresses a large market with clearcut differentiation and where the product or service is built in a capital efficient manner. As for execution, it really comes down to attracting the best people. Hiring talent and building a team around them continues to be the magic formula in Silicon Valley.

Raj Kanaya is Co-Founder and CEO of
Infineta Systems, a provider of high-performance network optimization products.

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