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Alkira Teams Up with Microsoft to Transform the Cloud Networking Journey to Azure by@swedeyburr

Alkira Teams Up with Microsoft to Transform the Cloud Networking Journey to Azure

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Journalist, writer and media expert

Hackernoon Gets the low-down from Amir Khan, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Alkira.

Network Cloud pioneer Alkira® has announced a close collaboration with the Microsoft for Startups program, a select group of emerging businesses hand-picked by Microsoft for the benefits they offer to Microsoft Azure customers in their journey to the cloud. The select start-ups receive growth partnership and ecosystem support from Microsoft including access
to technical, sales and marketing opportunities and leadership. Alkira also
announced that the Alkira Cloud Services Exchange (CSX) – the core of the
company’s  Network Cloud platform – is now available on the Azure
Marketplace.

The Alkira Network Cloud platform, which reduces the time, cost and complexity of connectivity cloud environments, provides Azure customers with increased performance, manageability and security when
deploying Windows workloads in the Azure cloud. Microsoft Azure customers can access Alkira’s solution in Azure, or in a multi-cloud network alongside other best-of-breed products in the Azure Marketplace. 

Alkira CSX is delivered as a secure cloud networking infrastructure as-a-service (CNaaS) that dynamically scales according to customers’ needs and reduces the time taken to deploy cloud networks from months to minutes.

Mr Khan, thank you for answering our questions on this news story. Firstly, can you tell us about Alkira?

"Alkira was founded by my brother, Atif Khan, who is the company CTO, and me as CEO. We have so far raised $76M from Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Koch Disruptive Technologies, LLC, and GV Capital - (formerly Google Ventures).

Alkira developed the Network Cloud which enables enterprises to build and deploy a global unified Network Cloud that delivers network connectivity, advanced network and services, and end-to-end visibility and governance. Alkira CSX seamlessly and securely connects branches, data centres, remote users and clouds."

Is there an overarching purpose of the service?

"Alkira’s Network Cloud simplifies a customer’s journey to, across and between clouds, providing enhanced routing and security features and operations, and massive simplification of the total enterprise corporate and cloud networks. Alkira’s Network Cloud reduces the time to add Azure from months or years to minutes and hours.

The time, cost and complexity of building networks in the cloud with end-to-end security and management visibility are major challenges holding back digital transformation. Our service was developed to help businesses overcome the trade-offs, complexity and long lead times associated with cloud networking. The Alkira Network Cloud platform accelerates
the deployment and simplifies the management of cloud workloads, leaving customers free to focus on the objectives of their business."

How big a deal is the Microsoft deal?

"Microsoft recognizes that businesses are increasingly using multiple public and private clouds and sees Alkira as the best multi-cloud network and security solution.

We’re excited to be deepening our relationship with Microsoft through the Microsoft for Startups program and to be able to offer those benefits to the growing number of organizations seeking transformational solutions from the Azure Marketplace.

Microsoft customers who access Alkira’s Network Cloud through Azure Marketplace benefit from reduced procurement overheads, simplified billing and quicker deployment, as well as the assurance of Microsoft certification.

Alkira is one of a handful of strategic
collaborators in Microsoft’s start-up program and the only one focused on
cloud."







Why would Microsoft back a multi-cloud proposition?

I can think of two reasons.

First, the Alkira Network Cloud benefits Azure customers even if they never leave the Microsoft cloud environment. Networking in any cloud is challenging and the Alkira solution hides the complexities of routing and network management in Azure, making it easier to deploy and manage application workloads, integrate cloud and on-prem services and monitor network traffic from end to end.

Second, Microsoft recognizes that enterprise customers are adopting multi-cloud strategies. It can resist that trend or work with it. Flexera’s State of the Cloud 2020 Report says the average enterprise connects to 4.4 clouds and that 93% profess to a multi-cloud strategy. The endorsement of Alkira suggests that Microsoft sees the value in enabling its customers’ digital strategies, not trying to hold them back.

Enterprises often connect to different cloud environments to meet different geographic needs or to take advantage of features from a particular provider. But because different clouds implement networking in different ways, it’s much less common to see these clouds working together as a single, seamless environment for enterprise services.

Alkira’s Network Cloud platform enables enterprises to build true multi-cloud networks in a matter of hours or days that would take months or years and millions of dollars in development costs using conventional approaches. Its solution abstracts the complexities and hides the differences between cloud environments, allowing security, disaster recovery and other critical functions to be supported across the entire network with the same levels of visibility and management control traditionally associated with on-prem systems.

Whether customers rely on a single cloud provider or multiple providers, the network is the key to enabling the flexibility, scalability and resilience that enterprises need not just to avoid disaster but to ensure that their businesses triumph.

Was the OVHCloud fire a reminder of why companies should go multi-cloud?

"Absolutely. This fire at a major French cloud provider in March took out millions of websites and underlines the risks for businesses putting all of their eggs in one basket.

The fire at a facility owned by OVHCloud in March took out online services for government, banks and retailers. Nearly 2% of all websites on the .fr domain (the top-level web domain in France) were affected. Some customers had to wait a month before the company was able to bring servers back up and restore access to their applications and workloads and it has been reported that some data may be permanently lost.

The moral of the story is not that single or multi-cloud is better, but that
regardless of where applications are hosted, processing is taking place or data is stored, enterprises need to maintain control of the network that keeps critical business services running."

For more information on Alkira: www.alkira.com


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