Exclusive: Numecent Eyes the Software Defined Data Center
Already making waves in client-side cloud-based application delivery, "cloudpaging" startup sets a course for the software defined data center.
It's been a big summer for Numecent. Back in August, the Irvine-based company launched its Native as a Service platform, which enables the delivery of native applications from the cloud. Earlier this week, Numecent executives spoke at CloudBeat about their partnership with engineering, construction, technical, and management services firm Parsons. And yesterday, the company talked exclusively with Enterprise Networking Planet about its plans for the future: cloudpaged application delivery to support the software defined data center.
Cloudpaging, as we previously covered, delivers small fragments—"pages"—of pre-virtualized software instructions from "cloudified" applications to the machines that execute them. Until now, Numecent has focused its effort on client-side use cases. The technology has, for example, enabled Parsons to deliver over 5 million multi-vendor CAD and engineering application sessions worldwide from two servers on the Parsons private cloud. Now, however, Numecent has its eye on the other side.
"The software defined data center is about server-side applications, and we excel in application delivery," Osman Kent, co-founder and CEO of Numecent, told me.
The idea to expand into the SDDC first came from Kiran Sanghi, Numecent's CMO, who came to the company with a long history in IT leadership and consultancy at firms like Dell and Accenture. Sanghi explained, "Everyone's still talking about components. Software defined storage, software defined network. It's all componentry. They're missing the most important piece, the applications. No one buys infrastructure to buy infrastructure. They buy it to support an application." What the network is delivering is what really matters, he added.
That's where Numecent comes in. The vendor is confident that cloudpaging can quickly, reliably, and securely deliver not just client-side applications, but also the big, business-critical server-side applications that, as Sanghi said, "can't break, can't go down, must perform, and must be secure and compliant," in a way no previous technology could. And they can do it with a much smaller footprint than one might expect.
"It doesn't require thousands of servers," Sanghi said.
"Hardware guys must hate me," Kent added. The company has drawn the attention of telcos and managed service and hosting providers, the early adopters of application and software defined data centers. Those early adopters appreciate how cloudpaging could dramatically reduce their need for increased infrastructure and bandwidth, "big fat pipes and fiber to the curb," in Sanghi's words.
"It comes down to pure economics," Sanghi said. "The economics far outweigh any kind of technical discussion. Technical is just, Does it work? Yes. Is it secure? Yes." The biggest part of a CIO's CapEx budget, he explained, is storage. Arrays cost a lot of money, and carriers need more and more of them as they grow. Cloudpaging neatly solves the problem and, by virtue of its on-demand delivery model, reduces network usage, too.
Cloudpaging fits well into the software defined narrative thanks to the flexibility and scalability it offers. The Parsons partnership proved that on the client side, as Numecent co-founder and CTO Arthur Hitomi pointed out: "These users continually switch and get these applications on demand, project by project, sometimes getting different versions each time, and this technology fundamentally changed the way they use and grab software." The software defined data center demands that same flexibility, agility, and dynamism, which Numecent plans to deliver. Cloudpaging also further decouples the applications from the underlying infrastructure.
"The other solutions are very rigid. This removes the friction points that make things fixed and static—it encapsulates the qualities of 'software defined,'" Sanghi said.
Among Numecent's early forays into server-side use cases was the cloudpaged delivery of virtual machines (VMs). Kent told me about the company's work with a Dell training partner, who asked Numecent whether cloudpaging VMs was possible. Though Numecent hadn't tried that before, the company was able to deliver a 66GB virtual machine with eight operating systems inside. And instead of having to wait for the entire VM before it could work, the cloudpaged version began running at 1.5 percent—a percentage that shrinks the larger the cloudpaged asset is.
Development of cloudpaged solutions for the software defined data center remains in its early stages, as Kent and his team freely admitted. "We do not have all the answers yet," Kent said. The next step for the company is to complete work on Linux cloudpaging, a goal Numecent plans to reach by mid-2014.
"Our SDDC story is an unfolding one," Kent said. He concluded, "We're learning as we go along. But just as we're finding in the client side, we're on to something big that we never anticipated."
Jude Chao is executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Follow her on Twitter @judechao.