Prior to reading their write-ups, I did however, take a look at the whitepaper, FAQ (focus on Licensing and Bill secton), and also watched the videos by Dante Malagrinò on Embrane’s website.
What really caught my eye after going through the material was the Embrane Pricing Model. Based on my customer experiences (Enterprise to mid-market), heleos would do wonders for them, although they are NOT cloud service providers (CSPs), and that is who much of Embrane’s marketing material is targeted at…for now.
heleos Pricing Model
For example, I’m working with a customer who just purchased a hardware based FW with approximately 1Gbps throughput to segment approximately 5 different zones in the data center. Being that this is a Greenfield data center, no one knows throughput requirements, so we used prior experience to guestimate and provide a device that will meet requirements and provide “some” growth. But with heleos, the customer may have been able to purchase a subscription of some capacity less than 1Gbps and then as traffic increases (if it does), pay by use, and then potentially upgrade the subscription at the end of the contract term, whenever that may be. Or this customer could have deployed several DVA FWs, one for each zone, even though it’s not technically a multi-tenant environment. Seems extremely flexible for all types of customers if you ask me :).
One comment on Brad’s blog by Marco Di Benedetto, Embrane CTO, also caught my eye. Here it is:
“…The initial services are developed by Embrane, but the value of the platform approach we’ve taken is that we can open it up to others over time.”
It is an interesting question (also asked by Brad in his own comments!), “what’s more important brand/manufacturer or the architecture?” It would seem based on Marco’s response, they are leaving it open, but it really does seem the architecture will be the money maker (IMHO).
I would need to dive deep into whiteboard sessions with others to probably REALLY understand the platform, but the one thing sticking in my head is this “3 Gbps” limitation of a DPD as pointed out in Ivan’s post. Is there really no way of surpassing 3Gbps here? If not, this means a GSLB? If this is the case, maybe it makes sense for Embrane to develop a simple and effective GSLB software based solution to account for what could be a major flaw in any Virtual Appliance architecture due to CPU, I/O, etc..
Ultimately, in an OF/SDN network, we can have a smart SDN controller direct traffic to particular DPDs based on load, function, tenant, etc. :).
Going back to the pricing model Embrane is using here, I wonder how OF/SDN companies such as Big Switch and Nicira will price their solution re: controllers. Comparing them to WLAN controllers, they will be priced on how many endpoints are being controlled. This could mean an endpoint is equal to a switch, port, OF-enabled VLAN, etc. Of course, there will also be added costs to layer on the applications on top of the SDN Controller. Maybe I’ll have to write another post about this speculating or just wait and see after they come out of stealth mode :).