I am extremely excited to be joining the talented and visionary team at Apstra. Networking has been at the heart of my career (3 decades strong!). I’ve seen first hand the creative destruction of the status quo that makes the world of networking so interesting. Today Intent-Based Networking is challenging the status quo and I love that we at Apstra are at the center of helping our customers on this revolutionary journey.

Every once in a while we witness a seismic shift in the world of networking. In the 80’s it was Cisco’s routers. In the 90’s it was the dominance of Ethernet and the proliferation of switches and routers which dramatically increased performance and reduced costs, an expansion that continues to accelerate today. Today, we are in the middle of a shift to software-first Intent-Based Networking. These shifts are so disruptive you forget what was before. (Remember Token Ring, Token Bus, FDDI, Novell Netware, Banyan Vines? Neither do I) And when the seismic shift happens, it becomes the new normal. It makes you wonder why didn’t I do it this way before? It changes how you do business. The shift pushes everything else out as obsolete because it solves the problem elegantly, it saves time and resources, it saves money and it delivers on its promises.

Today’s networks are being challenged by distributed applications, the convergence of high performance compute and flash based storage systems. AI and ML workloads process more data than ever imagined, enabling applications that would never have been possible before. The networks that are being used to achieve these levels of performance and scalability are increasingly spine and leaf CLOS based networks. Unfortunately the world of these deployments has been mired in custom configurations and the efforts of a few specialized IT professionals who are always stretched thin. Add expansion and adds, moves, and changes to the equation and you get to a status quo that cannot be sustained. Vendors will approach you with their own locked-in architecture and their own vision for your network, good luck making it multivendor. If you can’t get it right, your company’s ability to compete is limited. Let’s face it, today it is brutally difficult to design your network to do the things you intended it to do.

What if there was a better way? A way that utilized software to build a network that did exactly what you intended? Imagine deploying in hours instead of weeks and months. What if this software worked with all of your switches and routers so that you managed your network not your devices? What if the software used best practices for network design and deployment for scalable bandwidth and reliability? Imagine, adds, moves, changes and expansion that are built in and deploy with a push of a button. Troubleshooting, identifying the root cause and fixing failures quickly at scale is challenging. What if the software told you when the network didn’t deliver on its intent? Imagine you had software that was able to tell you which applications were affected, identified the root cause and then auto-remediated the problem before your applications and users are affected? What if your network actually did what you intended it to do? Not just from the day you deployed it, but every day it is in production? That’s a momentous shift, and it is what Intent-Based Networking delivers.

Today we are going GA with our latest release AOS 3.1. It represents another huge step in delivering on our vision of Intent-Based Networking. It accelerates VMware NSX-T deployments by bridging the integration and visibility gaps with the physical network underlay. The integration was announced and showcased at VMworld this year. We also are delivering enhancements on multidomain unified group-based policy, cloud-scale Intent-Based Analytics and root cause identification, and expanded our enterprise-class features and multi-vendor support. These enhancements increase application availability and reliability, and accelerate troubleshooting and root cause identification. It’s the result of a lot of hard work by the team here at Apstra.

One final note, I am passionate about engineering teams who create amazing software that makes it all possible. Apstra’s engineering team is delivering that software today. This talented team is one of the major reasons I joined Apstra. I’m excited about what’s next and look forward to contributing to the success of the team here.

Herb Schneider
Vice President, Engineering