For those of us old enough to remember Y2K, it’s hard to believe we are already in 2018. Just a scant 19 years ago we worried that the world would end when computers were asked to switch centuries on their internal clocks from 19## to 20##. ‘Future proofing’ was not a concept embraced by computer scientists in the 1970’s and 80’s. But we made it through and so much has happened in the world of technology since. Can you recall a time before the iPhone, mobile apps, social media, Google and Amazon? As these tools became more and more popular, we as consumers changed behavior and the nature of ‘real-time’ became a very tangible pain for technologists challenged to keep up with demand.
But out of pain comes innovation. Virtualization, the cloud, Big Data, Hadoop, IoT, hyper-converged infrastructures all rose to address the needs of the enterprise. But what lagged behind was a network to support them all.
Ahhhh, the network. If it’s one thing that 2017 has demonstrated, the pain for the enterprise around the network is real and the modern data center is ready for a change. That’s where Plexxi HCN™ for HCI comes in. As compute and storage consolidate and bring agility and cost-savings, providing efficient cloud-like performance, Plexxi HCN exponentially increases the benefits with application awareness, automation and a flat fabric. You’ve heard the term invisible as it relates to HCI, well, Plexxi HCN is the invisible network purpose-built to complete the HCI equation.
But the story doesn’t end with HCI. It actually scales from there to address very large, multi-tenant IT infrastructures. We’ve all witnessed the explosive growth in public cloud consumption over the last several years. We’ve heard loud and clear from Enterprise customers that they want their on-premises IT infrastructure assets to be more synergistic with agile cloud delivery models. And, as they take the opportunity to become more “Cloud-like,” they are also streamlining their entire IT infrastructures to lower capital costs, eliminate complexity and reduce operating expenses.
Customers have also made it very clear to us that to achieve their cost objectives, they can no longer take the complex, traditional DIY approach of collecting, integrating, and managing disparate components piecemeal across functional stovepipes. This is why many are turning to solutions like converged infrastructure (CI) and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), and hyper-converged networking (HCN) that offer consolidated and tested systems that are much simpler and cost-effective to deploy, manage, and scale.
One thing that’s common in every discussion we have is that the network has become an even more critical consideration in infrastructure deployments. Today, networks aren’t just dealing with client/server traffic; they need to provide essential communication and workload traffic flow across multiple clustered servers.
Enterprise customers want to ensure predictable performance, especially at scale to meet their consumer SLAs. They simply can’t tolerate congested traffic paths for critical infrastructure and application workloads. In the past, they would deploy separate networks to isolate workloads to ensure performance and security. This approach was complex, expensive, and didn’t scale. With networking solutions like Plexxi HCN, customers can easily control workload path characteristics, like isolation, through software. Plexxi HCN eliminates the capital cost of standing up separate physical networks, but more importantly, eliminates operating costs incurred to deploy, operate, and manage them.
Perhaps the biggest value Plexxi HCN delivers is cost savings, a combination of lower operating expenses, because our network is managed and controlled by software, is intuitive, automated, and no special expertise is required to support or even sell the product. Also, very important to our customers are the significant Capex savings (as much as 50% depending on the configuration) the Plexxi architecture delivers. As a software stack, Plexxi HCN runs on industry-standard, white box, switch HW. Further, Plexxi HCN supports a much more economical, flat, physical network topology that eliminates the need for expensive aggregation switches.
Now, I fully recognize that I have been talking about this for a while. It’s the nature of the beast when you are bringing a re-defining technology to market. But 2017 brings other voices to the same message who understand the value of what Plexxi brings to HCI environments. We recruited dozens of partners (see some of them here).
In addition, under the guidance of Mitch Breen, we have expanded our selling motion, rapidly accumulating new customers across verticals and of various sizes. Though each deployment is unique, they share one common thread – the need for a more agile and aware network to support their IT initiatives and drive their business. As customer continue to transition their infrastructure AWAY from fibre-channel, the need for Plexxi HCN mushrooms.
Plexxi HCN is essential for HCI, but also for organizations that want to consolidate their distributed data center assets and adopt a more efficient and cost-effective way of deploying data center resources for a cloud-like experience. To be able to independently dial-up compute, storage, and network resources to support the latest scale-out applications and infrastructure is fundamental to making the data center agile and efficient. Nowhere is this change more drastic and apparent than in the network!
So you see, the challenge of operational efficiency and cloud-like agility isn’t going away soon. Customers need a new and better way to meet these challenges, and we’re confident that Plexxi HCN and the visibility, application integration, and control it provides is critical.
What a year 2017 has been. We had several major Plexxi deployments at massive scale and we are extremely well positioned for exponential growth in 2018 and beyond. Doing things in new innovative ways always is faced with challenge from the ‘status quo’. But as people learn new paradigms and new ways to solve old problems, they improve outcomes. Dramatically.
We too continue to learn much as a company. We now understand more than ever how the new Software Controlled Flat Fabric topology of HCN can help customers save money at scale. While at the same time delivering maximum data center wide bandwidth with low predictable latency and port cost. Attributes that become even more important in the time ahead where data center strategies are dominated by FLASH, high core count CPUs, scale-out and the shift to 100GbE. As the shift to the modern software defined data center already is well under way and now appears to be accelerating, we are expanding our global market coverage in Global 2000 enterprises.
As more and more customers are embracing Plexxi HCN, we are pleased to share that 2017 was the year that Plexxi became profitable. Yes, thanks to our customers, Plexxi turned a healthy profit this year. In fact, we exceeded our revenue and earnings plan for the fiscal year, which translates to money in the bank. This is a milestone many high-tech startups never reach. For Plexxi, this means that we will take our profits and invest in our GTM to continue to expand our market presence in 2018. We will continue our success by listening to our customers and partners, following our strategy and executing to plan.
So, as we look ahead to a bright 2018, I would like to take this moment to thank all of the employees of Plexxi, our investors, our GTM and technology partners, and our customers for their trust and support. Thank you and, on behalf of the Plexxi team, I wish you and yours much joy, health and prosperity in the year ahead.
Happy New Year!