Guest Blog: Infiot: Ushering the Borderless Enterprise Era
Authored by: Neotribe Ventures
We have entered a new era of the borderless enterprise. An era in which everything is connecting, we have a remote-first perspective, and we are moving beyond the four walls of the office. But, as we enter this era, legacy network architectures are lagging behind and weighing us down. The enterprise network was never designed for this world. It was built on the premise that we would be physically present in the office, and this has made it obsolete. The growth of remote-work, tele-health, IoT in manufacturing, and micro-branches are examples of how the edge is becoming a vital part of any business. The momentum and direction is clear. The demands on the enterprise network have fundamentally changed, and we are now facing new challenges that require new solutions.
At Neotribe, we are looking for the companies that are leveraging a non-obvious insight into an emerging macro-trend to create a new category of product. We like to back the most innovative rebels who reject preconceived notions of the world today and look to carve out new visions of the world tomorrow. Infiot is that rebel.
One-to-one: The Point-to-Point Internet/WAN Optimization Era
To understand where we are, we must first understand where we’ve come from. In the early 2000s, consolidated enterprises connected to consolidated data centers using a dedicated MPLS link. As the internet evolved, the distributed enterprise eventuated as branch offices proliferated. In an aspirational experiment to boost productivity, large corporations began replicating data centers to enhance the user experience. However, this proved costly, and the unsustainability of the model eventually dawned, yet the distributed enterprise persisted.
When bandwidth requirements began to exceed availability, the hole in the market surfaced. The solution to the growing problem came in the form of WAN optimization. Compression, deduplication, and data caching worked to overcome latency, minimize packet loss, and increase network throughput. Among the companies that reaped the benefits were Riverbed (acquired for $3.6Bn), Silver Peak (acquired for $925Mn), and Perabit (acquired for $337Mn).
One-to-Many: The SDWAN/Cloud Era
Applications migrated to the cloud, and the SaaS model quickly propagated. As the trend gained momentum, the existing routing path became ever more non-sensical. Enterprises would hairpin the traffic through the enterprise network to the cloud, and as the traffic to cloud applications mounted, it became clear that this was a temporary and shortsighted solution.
Onto the scene came SD-WAN, spearheaded by VeloCloud, allowing branches to connect directly to entities rather than have them circuitously route all traffic through the enterprise network. The WAN router was put in the cloud, and application-aware routing enabled optimum connection per application. The result? Greatly improved WAN performance for a new era of cloud applications. Companies that won in this era were Velocloud (VMWare), Viptela (Cisco), and CloudGenix (Palo Alto Networks).
Many-to-Many: The IoT/ Edge Era
Up until this point, devices had used proprietary, non-IP based protocols. Today, devices are internet-enabled; the refrigerator, the CNC machine, the security system, and even the dog’s toy are connected. We can monitor, update, and troubleshoot remotely, but with great power comes great responsibility. Give the devices an unfettered connection to the network, and security becomes a strenuous risk. These devices need to be given finely grained access to protect data lakes as the flow of IoT data increases.
Additionally, the emanating raw data cannot be sent as-is since it would flood WAN links. Oftentimes, we need third-party software to massage and compress the data at the edge to make it manageable and intelligible. However, existing solutions cannot run applications at the network edge, leaving critical AI-powered insights on the table.
As the remote-first world permeates and more things connect, users and IoT devices need access to enterprise infrastructure, security, and computing power from anywhere. This has remained a fundamental problem of the new “many-to-many” world until just recently.
Infiot — A New Category for the Remote First Enterprise
Infiot extends the enterprise beyond the four walls of the office in delivering a thin, wireless edge, purpose-built for remote-first applications. They bring cloud-native architecture to any enterprise edge, converging network, zero-trust security, and edge-compute in an extensible form factor.
Unlike SD-WAN, which made the branch edge dumber and moved compute to the cloud, Infiot is empowering the edge by adding compute at the extreme edge, making it intelligent about what to process at the edge and what traffic to move to the cloud. Third-party software applications can now be deployed on each device and the entire network managed, from anywhere, through one portal.
Led by the core management and technology leaders of VeloCloud — the market leader in cloud-delivered SD-WAN that was acquired by VMware for over half a billion in 5 years — the team possesses rare industry expertise combined with experience-backed vision.
Onwards and Upwards
COVID-19 has applied immense pressure to businesses everywhere. Many were not ready for this upheaval and have subsequently met their ends. But, the ones who adapted have become more effective than ever. To thrive and prosper, one must evolve when landscapes shift and circumstances change. In a new era with new challenges, Infiot solves the remote-first, many-to-many problem that companies are facing. They represent the quintessential Neotribe portfolio company that is creating a new category. We are excited to stand behind Infiot on the mission to empower, unify, and democratize the edge for the connected world.
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