Cloudbrink Has 600 PoPs for VPN Replacement


By: Mary Jander

Cloudbrink, whose service is geared to linking remote users with multiple clouds, recently announced the 600th point of presence (PoP) in its network of edge locations, branded as FAST (Flexible, Autonomous, Smart, and Temporary) Edges.

The news highlights a key element of Cloudbrink’s pitch, namely, that its network of worldwide PoPs improves network performance by up to 30X while reducing latency to under 10 milliseconds compared to alternative VPNs and SD-WAN connections that deliver 50 ms to 70 ms.

“Enterprises are struggling to deliver the same real-time experience that staff are used to in the office to the hybrid workplace,” said Prakash Mana, co-founder and CEO of Cloudbrink. “You need density of coverage at the edge. You can’t do it with only a couple of hundred static PoPs.”

Enter five-year-old Cloudbrink, a Futuriom 50 company that emerged from stealth last fall. The startup claims it could have up to 6,000 PoPs by the end of this year if user demand increases. Let’s take a closer look.

PoPs within PoPs

Cloudbrink offers its solution in several flavors – as Hybrid Access-as-a-service (HAaaS), or somewhat confusingly, “personal SD-WAN,” for remote workers (though the product competes against SD-WAN); unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) to improve video and audio conferences for enterprises; and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) for remote contractors and employees.

In each instance, an application called Brink is installed at the customer’s location and, via machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), locates the nearest FAST Edges and establishes a secure, zero trust network access (ZTNA) connection to cloud resources. Applications in multiple clouds can be accessed quickly from a single Brink-enabled location.

How Cloudbrink does this is via an interesting array of worldwide software-defined PoPs set up within existing cloud infrastructure. We’re talking AWS Local Zones, Google Cloud Zones, Azure Availability Zones, multi-access edge compute (MEC) services from telcos, and other software-defined locations that bring cloud and telco services closer to end users.

Each PoP, or FAST Edge, is linked to others within Cloudbrink’s network, which is also equipped with what Cloudbrink calls “pre-emptive and accelerated packet recovery.” This happens via a protocol that uses intelligence at both ends of the connection to establish an overlay that overrides the end-to-end flow control that can impact latency.

Early Days

Though Cloudbrink’s approach involves adding software-defined PoPs within a network of cloud regions and telco edge services, the vendor says the cost of that development is not reflected in its pricing. "Our service is built on hyper scalers, cloud providers, and telco edges. However, the entire platform is sold via a simple, easy-to-consume per-user per-month based pricing model. Our users have unlimited edges, unlimited apps, and unlimited connectors," stated a company spokesperson in an email to Futuriom.

For now, Cloudbrink appears to be proving itself in trials and impressing observers with its potential to remove barriers of hardware and software to improve the experience of remote workers. In doing so, it’s taking on long-established players such as Citrix and VMware (NYSE: VMW), as well as some CDN providers such as Cloudflare (NYSE: NET). That’s ambitious, and it will be interesting to see how Cloudbrink’s PoP approach stacks up against the formidable competition. We'll be tracking those PoPs.