Getty Images

Prosimo offers free multi-cloud connectivity

The new MCN Foundation can find and connect to public clouds and provide visibility. The company's full-stack product powers the limited free version.

Prosimo has launched a free version of its multi-cloud networking suite to attract tech buyers and rattle competitors.

Introduced this week, MCN Foundation provides cloud connectivity at no charge. Prosimo's cloud-native full stack platform, the complete suite of multi-cloud services, powers the MCN Foundation.

The starter technology can discover and connect to public clouds and provide visibility into an enterprise's cloud inventory in seven minutes, according to Prosimo.

Prosimo's full suite goes further, with technology to micro-segment cloud-bound traffic by application. It also provides access to the virtual networks serving applications running on AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

"It looks like they're trying to disrupt the industry a little bit and take a different approach," said Bob Laliberte, an analyst at TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). "A lot of established companies are coming into the space, so I think they're just looking to shake it up a little bit."

Prosimo and other startups like Alkira, Arrcus and Aviatrix compete with traditional incumbents, including Arista Networks, Cisco and VMware.

MCN Foundation is a "land grab" to see how much market share Prosimo could take from rivals, Laliberte said. Once companies try the product, they might be willing to move to the paid version for higher-level services like micro-segmentation, policy governance and security.

The tactic makes sense when viewed within the NetDevOps trend, which refers to using DevOps principles and tools in networking, Laliberte said. Software developers often download free tools that companies offer open source as an entry point to commercial versions.

"Prosimo has a lot of good stuff on top [of MCN Foundation]," Laliberte said. "They're not giving away their full stack. They're just giving away the foundational pieces."

Prosimo operates at the networking stack above the data link layer -- Layer 2 -- and the network layer, Layer 3. Layers 2 and 3 are where traditional switches and routers operate respectively.

Network managers use Prosimo's tools to build mesh networks connecting clouds. Engineers also use them to manage the virtual networks inside as subnets.

Programming to any infrastructure, including private networks and public clouds, is a major feature of many multi-cloud networking platforms. Enterprises use the software to add advanced technology and management features not found in public cloud environments, according to Gartner.

A 2022 ESG survey of 321 senior IT professionals found that 86% used two or more public cloud infrastructure providers in their IT environments, compared with 78% in 2019. Also, more than half of the respondents said they used multi-cloud service providers in a meaningful way.

Antone Gonsalves is networking news director for TechTarget Editorial. He has deep and wide experience in tech journalism. Since the mid-1990s, he has worked for UBM's InformationWeek, TechWeb and Computer Reseller News. He has also written for Ziff Davis' PC Week, IDG's CSOonline and IBTMedia's CruxialCIO, and rounded all of that out by covering startups for Bloomberg News. He started his journalism career at United Press International, working as a reporter and editor in California, Texas, Kansas and Florida. Have a news tip? Please drop him an email.

Dig Deeper on Cloud and data center networking

Unified Communications
Mobile Computing
Data Center