Interview with Vikas Garg, SVP of Aryaka Networks

Aryaka Networks, founded in 2009 is a leader and pioneer in the WAN as-a-service sector. The Aryaka B2B WAN runs over a dedicated, private IP global network that leverages CDN PoP infrastructure. In fact, Aryaka Networks is the only one in the Ecosystem offering this type of service. The three major pieces in their global infrastructure that makes Aryaka different 1) they run over a dedicated global IP network instead of the public Internet 2) they focus on accelerating business applications like Oracle, SAP, SharePoint, and so on – thus, they don’t deliver tweets, consumers videos, and social media  and 3) they have developed a fair-use caching policy, where each customer is guaranteed a certain amount of resources, thus, more popular content doesn’t push aside less popular content.

So far, Aryaka has raised close to $100M in venture capital and debt, making them one of the most well funded companies in the industry. Aryaka is 100% focused on going public. They are not interested in getting acquired. We like to thank Vikas Garg, SVP at Aryaka Networks for the interview. Vikas is a CDN veteran with extensive experience in building and operating global CDN infrastructures. In addition, he has several patents to his name.

How is the overall state of the business?  Aryaka has achieved phenomenal growth over the past few years by converging multi-billion dollar enterprise networking markets, including MPLS, WAN Optimization, content and application delivery, and cloud acceleration. We have been doubling our customer base and subscription revenues every year, growing steadily at a 100% YoY rate for many years.

We’ve been able to maintain this growth rate because 1) we continue to add features and expand our product line, 2) we’ve entered into several strategic partnerships with the likes of Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, and 3) there is untapped market demand for solutions like this; not so long ago, complicated WAN technologies were too expensive for all but the biggest enterprises.

We have also expanded our network footprint with the addition of POPs in Los Angeles, Miami, Tokyo, Johannesburg, and Dubai. Our focus on channels and business development remains strong, as we have added service providers like 21Vianet, master agents like Intelisys and Bridgepointe Technologies, and several international resellers over the past year.

Finally, we consistently add global brands like AstraZeneca, Websense, Ruckus Wireless, Freescale Semiconductor, Invisalign, Air China, JC Decaux, and many others to our already strong customer base. And when we get customers like these, we keep them. Our customer retention rate is over 95%, easily the best in the industries we operate in.

We have received several industry awards, such as the Frost and Sullivan Customer Value Leadership Award, and we’ve been recognized as a Gartner Visionary in 2015 (in their WAN Optimization magic quadrant) for the third consecutive year.

To make a long story short: enterprises are ditching age-old MPLS, CapEx-heavy WAN optimization appliances, and traditional CDNs, and are learning that there’s a better way to do things. If you move those complicated technologies to the cloud, someone else can manage and maintain them, and your IT team can shift its focus back on meeting your business goals. The world is starting to take notice of what Aryaka is up to, and this is just the beginning!

Is the WAN as-a-service business model different than the CDN business model?  We look at CDN as a natural extension to our WAN as-a-service business. Enterprises as well as SaaS providers are putting a web front-end on their applications, so as to provide ubiquitous access to customers, partners, and employees located anywhere in the world, using any device.

Thus, productivity applications, ERP, CRM, enterprise content management, supply chain management, and customer/partner portals have moved beyond the conventional enterprise firewall. Mobility and cloud adoption have a huge part to play here. Our CDN platform addresses challenges faced by the greater WAN – outside the firewall – comprising of mobile end users, remote employees, road warriors, customers and partners. Our focus is more on critical web applications, enterprise content delivery, and SaaS providers, in contrast to traditional CDNs that are heavily focused on broadcasters, social media companies, and consumer content behemoths. While our WAN Optimization as-a-Service accelerates enterprise applications from behind the firewall (be that in an on-premises environment or a cloud datacenter), our CDN solution offers performance and availability benefits to web resources/applications outside the firewall.

How is Aryaka different from the Akamai’s and Level 3’s of the world? Aryaka’s CDN is built for enterprise content and application delivery. Our entire optimization software stack is built from the ground up for optimizing the delivery of dynamic, bi-directional content.

Traditional CDNs were built for a read-only web. Static content is their bread and butter. Dynamic acceleration was only an afterthought. With a middle mile that’s built over the unreliable public Internet, enterprise traffic over traditional CDNs must compete with all the other internet traffic over congested middle-mile links. Aryaka avoids congestion of the middle mile using dedicated bandwidth over a private core network that has better consistency compared to the public internet. Therefore, Aryaka’s CDN offers superior performance, reliability and consistency for dynamic, real-time, bi-directional, and personalized enterprise traffic.

Furthermore, traditional CDNs prioritize popular consumer content from large content providers or aggregators. Enterprise or B2B traffic is thus compromised in terms of cache availability, and does not get the same level of performance. At Aryaka, we’re not focused on broadcasters and social media companies with commodity delivery requirements. We have a fairness-based caching policy and multi-tenancy, so that all enterprise customers are allocated equal resources on cache. This ensures cache availability and optimal performance for all customers.

Industry-standard, third-party tests indicate that we deliver content and applications up to 3 times faster compared to traditional CDNs.

I understand that Aryaka runs on private network. Is the private network a competitive advantage? The reason I ask is because any CDN in the industry can go out and buy MPLS or VPLS, and connect their POPs. The private core is a massive competitive advantage. Our customer base largely comprises of enterprises and SaaS companies delivering personalized, dynamic, real-time web applications and content to their customers.

With traditional CDNs, the middle mile is still over the Internet. Thus, whatever you are accelerating, it’s competing with ever-increasing Internet congestion in the form of cat videos, tweets, live streams, and so on. Since Aryaka’s CDN completely bypasses the unreliable public Internet and as dynamic content travels over an enterprise-grade private network, our customers’ web resources and applications benefit from significantly faster performance, higher consistency, and 100% availability.

CDN vendors adding MPLS or VPLS to connect their POPs would be shifting their focus away from what they do well. Doing this means the CDN player will now focus heavily on the enterprise CDN and dynamic site acceleration segments, thereby letting go of the opportunities that exist with the more conventional CDN customer base such as broadcasters, social media companies, and content providers. This would be a tough tradeoff for most companies.

Also, building a CDN platform over a private network is not in the DNA of CDN companies. It takes a huge amount of R&D as well as expertise to build the optimization software stack on top of a private global network, as the underlying network dynamics are completely different compared to the public Internet. Managing the private network, and SLAs with MPLS/VPLS providers is another challenge.

Is there a difference in the way Aryaka caches and delivers content compared to a traditional CDN?  The global cache eviction policy of traditional CDN vendors dictates that enterprise content suffers heavily as it competes with cache space that is monopolized by large content providers/aggregators whose content is more frequently accessed because of its popularity. This means that with many traditional CDNs, enterprises don’t get the same level of value as content providers with popular content would get. This is the reason why we, at Aryaka, are focusing on enterprise content delivery with our CDN offering.

We do not target broadcasters and social media companies with large bandwidth and commodity delivery requirements. So, enterprises do not have to fear competition for cache performance due to large video, social media or ecommerce and retail content that is popular and therefore more frequently accessed.

We have a fairness-based caching policy and multi-tenancy, so that each customer is assigned certain resources, which ensures they are not affected by unfair cache eviction due to the popularity of other customers’ content – even if delivered off the same server.

In terms of security, does Aryaka plan on offering a more robust security suite like a Web Application Firewall, DDoS Mitigation via scrubbing centers, malware scanning, etc.?  As of today, our edge proxies are intelligent enough to absorb multiple DDoS attacks, determine invalid attack requests and free resources quickly. Only valid requests for the customers’ data would be sent upstream to the origin server. That, combined with a large capacity, makes us a truly secure solution. That said, we continue to innovate and invest in security. In fact, some more robust and intelligent security features are on our near-term roadmap, including a Web Application Firewall.

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