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Avi launches ADC for containerized applications

Startup Avi Networks has built into its application delivery controller support for containerized applications found in public and private clouds.

Avi Networks has added to its software-defined application delivery controller, or ADC, capabilities for delivering Layer 4-7 services to containerized applications running in cloud environments.

Avi has integrated its Vantage Platform with the Mesosphere Data Center Operating System (DCOS), which manages cloud and data center resources across Linux servers. The union, announced this week, lets Avi's technology distribute higher-level network services across Docker containers.

Having workloads spread across public and private clouds carries a slew of problems related to application performance, management and security. Solving these issues is fueling a growing market, given that spending on IT infrastructure for cloud environments will grow from a third to almost half of overall spending on enterprise IT infrastructure by 2019, according to IDC.

Avi's latest release is aimed at enterprises that use Mesosphere DCOS and a Docker container architecture for building and deploying cloud applications. Mesosphere has built its DCOS on top of the Apache Mesos open source kernel.

Avi is focused on making network services available to application developers using an approach called microservices. Rather than build a monolithic application, developers break it up into a suite of modular services. Each module supports a specific business goal and has a well-defined interface to communicate with other modules.

How the Avi ADC works with containerized applications

Avi's latest release is tackling the problems developers face in trying to bring network services to microservices built as containerized applications. "In these situations, applications generate a ton of east-west traffic, and it's extremely difficult to apply load balancing and security via the traditional appliance approach," said Shamus McGillicuddy, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates Inc., based in Boulder, Colo.

The Avi system tackles the dilemma through a controller that uses information extracted from Mesosphere to control, provision, orchestrate and manage services based on policies set by developers.

Applying the driver's instructions to containerized applications is done through code running on every physical server connected to the Avi system. The code, which Avi calls a service engine, executes the controller's orders.

"This integration [with Mesosphere] will be especially relevant to DevOps organizations, where the development team has more freedom to spin up containers in the production network," McGillicuddy said. "Avi will be able to keep up with the high rate of change that DevOps brings."

The service engines also continuously send user, application, server and network data to the controller, which uses the information to provide IT administrators with timely metrics on application performance. Administrators can also set baselines for application behaviors and receive alerts when anomalies occur.

In general, Avi wants companies to use its controller as a single point of control and management for Layer 4-7 networking in the data center and the cloud. Avi has integrated its technology with OpenStack, VMware's vSphere, Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure and Nuage Networks' Virtualized Services Platform. The vendor's controller is also designed to work with some DevOps management tools, including Puppet, Chef and CFEngine.

Avi launched its application delivery controller in 2014. The startup has raised $33 million in venture capital funding from Greylock Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Menlo Ventures.

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