Alkira and Itential Hook Up for Multicloud Solution


By: Mary Jander

Alkira and Itential have integrated their two platforms in a groundbreaking move that should bring more control and visibility to enterprise multicloud networks.

To review: Alkira, founded in 2018 by brothers Amir and Atif Khan, specializes in multicloud networking (MCN), which helps enterprises to better connect their private networks to multiple private and public clouds. Presented as a network-as-a-service (NaaS), Alkira's CSX offers a “digital design canvas” customers can use to quickly generate network connections across multiple clouds. CSX works with AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud, and it features integrated security from Palo Alto Networks (PANW), among others.

Itential, founded in 2014 by Ian Bresnahan and Chris Wade, offers a multi-patented, cloud-native platform designed for NetDevOps. Itential's Automation Platform creates low-code, end-to-end network and IT system infrastructure orchestration and automations. The solution has become important for many network operations teams looking to automate network orchestration tasks and move the automation beyond scripting.

One Plus One Equals Many Use Cases

Now joined by application programming interfaces (APIs), the integrated Alkira/Itential platform provides a way for joint customers to create multicloud network configurations and then orchestrate and manage them for consistency and security. The solution also works in league with other integrated IP address management and IT service management applications. Here’s how Chris Wade, CTO of Itential, put it in the press release:

“The combination of the Itential Automation Platform with Alkira's Multi-Cloud Networking Platform gives enterprises the power to create self-service automations that can operate on the entire network, simplifying their operations and securely delivering applications and services at an unprecedented pace.”

The vendors give the following list of potential use cases for their joint solution:

  • Cloud onboarding
  • Cloud to internet connectivity
  • Cloud security
  • On-prem to cloud connectivity
  • Multi-cloud connectivity
  • Cloud backbone (inter-region connectivity)

All of this addresses a major trend among NetDevOps teams to deploy and manage hybrid and multicloud network architectures. These new hybrid cloud environments are meant to produce more flexible and automated IT environments that can blend resources wherever they may reside, whether on premises, in a cloud, or in multiple clouds.

More Angles to the Deal

Whenever two established players jointly offer a product, the question emerges as to who’s going to support the solution. In the Alkira/Itential partnership, it looks like both will likely offer customer support through cooperative sales arrangements. This seems to have played out with S&P Global, a joint customer that has installed the dual platform. Itential is offering a webinar with Alkira and S&P Global on August 22 to describe the implementation.

Another question: To what extent does this new partnership presage similar arrangements? Both Itential and Alkira offer integrations with a range of technology partners – Alkira with at least 10, Itential with at least 17. They share common partners with Cisco and network observability startup Kentik. Notably, Kentik unifies application, user, and customer data with network traffic in real time. The goal is to tie every network event or analysis to something that matters – revenue and costs, customer and user experience, performance and risk. With the unified platform of Alkira/Itential, the potential uses of Kentik could increase.

Interestingly, Itential already has a partnership with Aviatrix, often described as a competitor to Alkira, though both vendors appear to address different segments of the market. Itential offers an “adapter” for Aviatrix environments that automates the building of transit networks across multiple clouds. As of now, though, the level of integration does not appear to be as deep as that with Alkira, and a demo of the Itential/Aviatrix integration apparently has been removed from Aviatrix’s site.

Still, the potential for further integrations is intriguing. And the Alkira/Itential partnership is one more indication that one vendor alone won’t be able to meet all needs of emerging NetDevOps teams.

Futuriom Take: The integration of Itential and Alkira platforms will help NetDevOps teams drive more automation into cloud networking when working in hybrid and multicloud environments.