Startup Webscale Networks has built a set of application delivery services for applications that run in public clouds. Those services include an ADC, load balancer, and Web application firewall. The startup aims to help organizations control cloud costs while also ensuring good performance and enabling failover among different cloud providers.
In a traditional premises deployment, a customer would provision infrastructure for peak demand to ensure service availability during the busiest times, such as holiday shopping. But outside that peak, resources sit idle, essentially wasting money.
Applications built in the public cloud can address overprovisioning because customers can scale resources such as compute and storage on demand.
The trick is to be able to scale up—and scale back down—at the right time. If you add resources too early, you waste money. Too late, and you risk performance problems.
Goldilocks In The Cloud
Webscale Networks aims to get resource allocation just right. The core IP of the company includes patented dynamic resource allocation smarts that use predictive analytics to provision resources for applications built on public clouds including AWS, Azure, and Google.
Resource provisioning is controlled by a set of services, including an application delivery controller (ADC), that sit inside a public cloud service and front-ends the cloud application.
“We build virtual infrastructure close to the application, put the ADC in front and scale it out,” said CEO Sonal Puri in an interview.
Puri said the company uses machine learning to understand differences among applications so it can apply more targeted scale-out principles. For instance, “This app takes 60 concurrent sessions before you need another instance, whereas another application will take 200 concurrent sessions before you need it,” she said.
Of course, stateless, cloud-native applications are the best fit for this kind of service. Puri says Webscale can help customers convert existing applications to take advantage of the service.
The Multi-Cloud Difference
ADCs, load balancers, and other such services are available from any number of sources, including virtualized instances from vendors such as F5 and Citrix, as well as from public cloud providers themselves. For example, Amazon offers auto-scaling, load balancing, and CDN services within AWS.
So why go with Webscale? For one, Puri argues that Webscale’s capabilities exceed what’s available from cloud providers.
For another, Webscale can act a unified front end across different cloud providers. This lets customers create a hybrid environment for use cases such as failover and disaster recovery.
For example, a retailer with an application running in Amazon may want to have failover capability available during the holiday shopping season not just to a separate availability zone or region within AWS, but with an entirely separate provider such as Google.
Of course, this does require having a warm standby running in the secondary public cloud, including the application itself and back end systems such as storage and databases. That will come with its own costs, which customers must weigh against the cost of outages or service interruptions.
“The customer sets up in the provider, we build up the virtual infrastructure, synch it between the two clouds, and if there’s ever an event, we make that change quickly,” said Puri.
“We’re the ADC in the front, so we are the proxy for all the traffic,” she said. “We deliver the entire site experience to the customer, so for us to redirect is straightforward. We stop sending traffic to one group of ADCs and send them to another.”
“On the back end, the app server scales out to the other service provider, redirecting the traffic to the server, and we’ve been mirroring the database and other information to the second site as well.”
About Webscale Networks
Webscale targets mid-market and enterprise customers in verticals including e-commerce, insurance, and high-tech. The company offers a free version of its ADC for a single application. Paid options include Basic, Pro, and Enterprise.
The company was founded in 2012 by CTO Jay Smith, who previously held positions at IBM and DigitalGlobe. Smith has a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering. CEO Sonal Puri comes to Webscale from Aryaka, where she was Chief Marketing Officer.
The company has raised $20 million to date, including a $12 million Series A round in October 2016. Investors include Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV), Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV), Grotech, and Silicon Valley Bank.