Data Center POST interview with Jeff Gray, CEO and Co-Founder, Gluware
Jeff Gray is CEO and Co-Founder of Gluware, a company that helps enterprises put powerful network automation to work. Gluware is the leader in Intelligent Network Automation, delivering an Intent-Based orchestration engine that empowers network operations to successfully automate and orchestrate mission-critical networks at scale. Gluware applications keep complex multi-platform, multi-vendor networks in policy while enabling new features as business objectives evolve.
Jeff has led Gluware since 2011, bringing the first SDN (Software-Defined Network) orchestration platform to market and achieving blue-chip enterprise adoption. Prior to his work with Gluware, Jeff held a number of leadership roles across the technology industry, including Vice President of Business Development at Yelofin, a virtual network operator, Director of Business Development at Firefly, a Cisco learning partner, and a management consultant at Deutsche Bank GTS/Cards.
Data Center POST recently had the opportunity to chat with Jeff about Gluware’s technology solutions, the enterprise network’s biggest challenges, industry drivers and more.
Data Center Post, Question (DCP-Q): Can you give us a brief explanation in your own words about what Gluware does?
Jeff Gray, Answer (JG-A): Gluware is the leader in Intelligent Network Automation, bringing a powerful layer of intelligence to today’s complex, multi-vendor enterprise networks so organizations can automate their networks at scale — code-free and error-free.
DCP-Q: What is the one thing that differentiates Gluware within the industry?
JG-A: Gluware’s patented network automation technology takes Intent-Based Networking (IBN) to the next level with “Intent-Engineering”, declaratively deriving business intent from networks that are already deployed. Gluware’s high-resolution change capability can detect the current state of a vast number of devices, compare that with the intended state, provide previews of how that change will affect the devices, deliver all of the necessary commands in a two-way dialogue with the correct syntax and semantics at scale, and then provide validation that the changes were delivered as intended.
DCP-Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing enterprise networks today?
JG-A: Modern enterprise networks are comprised of multi-vendor, multi-platform devices with legacy or “technical debt” built into each configuration. To make matters worse, many Global 2000 companies still rely on outdated and error-prone manual processes to manage this complexity. Such challenges inevitably lead to critical outages, outdated and out-of-compliance nodes and critical security issues. The global pandemic has amplified these issues and raised others. For instance, when there are drastic disruptions to critical supply chains, the idea of maintaining existing brownfield networks is more practical. Additionally, when physical access to specific equipment or staff is limited, remotely automating network nodes becomes necessary. As a result, more organizations are ready to make the switch from manual to automated network management.
DCP-Q: In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, what advice do you want to give to enterprise networks for consideration today or in the future?
JG-A: It is important to recognize that network automation is no longer ‘nice-to-have’ on some future roadmap, but rather a strategic imperative needed now to help ensure business continuity. Enterprises are searching for proven solutions that can help them easily maintain business operations without any required time-consuming and error-prone coding, especially if technical team members are out for long periods of time or specific equipment is suddenly inaccessible. By rapidly implementing Gluware® Intelligent Network Automation on their network, enterprises can leverage a proven solution that is already automating some of the world’s most complex enterprise networks, including Mastercard. Gluware accelerates the ability to achieve 90 percent self-operating capabilities with fewer resources, delivering immediate results and faster time-to-value. There has never been a better time to ensure that your core LAN, WAN and data center networks are automated, preventing outages, enhancing security and increasing agility and efficiency.
DCP-Q: Based on your experience and industry knowledge, what are you seeing enterprise businesses doing with technology that is a ‘waste of time?’
JG-A: As companies move to network automation, they look toward approaches like scripting to shift from manual network management to automation. They also look at newer approaches that are intent-based. While these methods may advance the needle somewhat, they have serious limitations, especially when your network is comprised of multi-platform devices. When network configurations are read as unintelligent blocks of text, you are unable to detect or adjust to what is intended. Scripting and even some Intent-Based Networking (IBN) approaches blindly push a configuration out to the network. As a result, the user must “load and pray” with a high possibility of error and no visibility into the implication of the change. These approaches tend to be a waste of time and resources and put companies on a dangerous footing. What is needed instead is a more intelligent Intent-Based Networking solution that can target the pre-checks, delivery, and post-checks required to accomplish a network change or task reliably at scale, enhancing network availability and agility.
DCP-Q: What is the most important driver of change taking shape today?
JG-A: Today, we face an urgent and growing need for network security and the promise of network continuity — a critical aspect of overall business continuity. Large enterprise networks typically host tens of thousands of security violations — many of Armageddon-sized proportions — that are lurking in the networks like hand-grenades waiting to explode. In modern enterprises, a large majority of network changes are still performed manually, and most policy violations are due to human errors. The COVID-19 pandemic is making matters worse as IT organizations face new challenges such as disruptions to the global supply chain and changes in network traffic patterns due to remote work. With more and more organizations recognizing this mismatch between modern networks and outdated network management methods, an industry sea-change in network automation is inevitable.
DCP-Q: What products or services are you most excited to share with the enterprise community at the ONUG Digital Live Spring event?
JG-A: At ONUG we are announcing that the Gluware® Intelligent Network Automation software suite is available for the first time on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. Qualified customers can now spin up Gluware in minutes and free up valuable IT resources to remain better focused on business continuity challenges.
To help organizations foster business continuity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Gluware is offering a 30-day pilot-to-production free trial and waiving the cost of our network automation software, services, and support fees for qualified customers, a $25,000 USD value.