Array Networks to invest $20-50 million in India

Michael Zhao, CEO & President, Array Networks Inc

Investments will be made for the development of the channel partner community in HCI, while setting up of development centre in India

Array Networks will invest US$ 20-50 million between 2018 and 2020, following the company’s 2020 plan for India. The money will be invested in channel partner acquisition, setting up of a development centre in India and other initiatives. The networking major is performing well in the BFSI and Smart Cities verticals in India. “Going forward, the focus will be on the development of Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) solution for the India market. An MoU has also been signed with Netmagic and the company is scouting for national level SIs for developing as-a-service category for HCI,” states Michael Zhao, CEO & President, Array Networks Inc.

CIOs are looking for an agile, flexible infrastructure. Quick to respond to changing demands, a software defined approach, consumption based IT, edge computing can provide the answer. A complete reliance on public cloud is not recommended to do data processing in the wake of the combined emergence of Industry 4.0, robotic technologies and artificial intelligence (AI). Even though 5G technology is in the works in India, fibre is being extended to villages – to the last mile. Data computing will have to be done locally.

The legislature also talks tough about data residence, which makes local data processing even more important. Enter the burgeoning demand for more smart IT architectures and data centre, to enjoy the benefits of public cloud on private infrastructure. The benefits include: software defined things, on-demand provisioning, subscription based IT services in the private cloud, etc. All these public cloud facilities can be put into the private setting with the same software the customer is familiar with.

Enter HCI
Array Networks has devised hyper convergence for networking solution with super fast packet processing engines to reach the customer along with the required compute and storage capabilities. Zhao claims market leadership in the area of SSL processing. Array Networks offers a hyper converged device that has virtual machines with dedicated resources. Every application has its dedicated VM. “The system has been designed such that a total of 32 instances can run altogether without any latency in any of the instances. Secondly, there are no overheads in processing the packets in the packet processing engine which has been continuously improved for the last two decades. Thirdly, the SSL processing: every application is run on Https and not in Http, which provides the ideal performance at the hardware level. These three characteristics form the stepping stones for providing flexibility, subscription model for consumption based computing, and guaranteed performance in the shared environment,” says Zhao.

Array Networks provides a dedicated hardware infrastructure to customers. On top of that, the company is also talking to the channel partner community to spin this off into as-a-service model. The idea is to provide a subscription based hardware, software on an as-a-service basis.

An MoU has been signed with Netmagic to help enterprises, to provide as-a-service consumption model to become more agile.

The company has a 32-member team in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. “We rely on partners to support our solutions, and we are also looking for new partners who can develop services which can run on our platform,” says Zhao. There are 60 partners in India for the current product and solution portfolio of the company. The plan is to extend and build more partnerships only in the area of HCI.

“Talks are underway with Tier 1 partners, who have the necessary engineering capabilities for the HCI space. It’s important to note that network devices are P1 devices and are critical in nature. It is the entry and exit point for all applications. The customers usually trust their local SIs for point products. For HCI, Array Networks is working with Tier 2 SIs for smaller businesses in the states, but the company is looking for national brands for bigger implementations,” adds Shibu Paul, Regional Sales Director – APAC, Array Networks.

Going forward, HCI will drive the revenue growth for the company. In the area of point products, BFSI and the government verticals are going strong. Array Networks currently has 70 per cent market share for the payment processing space in India. Smart Cities and other government related projects are also doing good.

The largest bank in India runs the applications on Array Networks for the last seven years. These are the largest applications with respect to the users accessing them. Ninety per cent of the co-operative banks are Array Networks’ customers. “We haven’t lost a single order in the co-operative banking sector. 80-85 per cent of the declared Smart Cities are our customers,” says Paul.

PoCs in process
A private enterprise in India has done a PoC and has bought the Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) solution running a firewall, Web Application Firewall (WAF), load balancer over a single device rather than having point solutions for them. The company was running the point solutions from Array Networks and it had come for renewal.

“The largest manufacturing company in India is doing a PoC with us for running its WAN optimisation, load balancing and firewall to be provided as a single solution,” informs Paul. These applications are provided by three different OEMs and SIs, in 50 different locations. Since every SI is not available in every location, Array Networks is solving this problem by putting all of the three applications on a single solution box, thus reducing the complexity of operations and management.

The company had originally asked for the load balancing services. “We suggested them to do it for all the three applications. The vendors will remain the same, but the overall application management becomes easy,” explains Paul.

An RFP is already out for one of the PoCs done with an agricultural bank in India.

Partnership with Nutanix
Nutanix is a dominant player in the HCI technology; however, Array Networks has partnered with Nutanix because of its expertise in storage and compute. “There are some flavours of networking too, but that is not its strength. We bring in the expertise in the networking and then drag in compute. Storage is not our strength,” says Zhao.

For security too, the HCI solution allows to integrate the firewall or any security solution into the core solution, be it firewalls, DDoS solutions from any vendors. They can be replicated at the branch level without any extra investment or vendor lockin. The solution is also flexible to any changes in the overall security design architecture.


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