Mako Networks and Scale Computing Partner for HCI Scalability


By: Mary Jander

Mako Networks, a secure access service edge (SASE) solution vendor headquartered in Elgin, Illinois, has joined forces with Scale Computing, an Indianapolis, Indiana-based hyperconverged infrastructure supplier for edge networks, to offer a scalable edge solution for multi-branch enterprises.

Mako’s series of security gateways, access points, VPN concentrators, and managed switches use software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) to create distributed networks comprising thousands of sites. The vendor’s wares comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) for handling credit-card data in retail transactions. This has established Mako’s reputation among firms that manage credit-card networks for restaurants, gas stations, pharmacies, and franchise stores. Mako competes with Cisco’s (Nasdaq: CSCO) Meraki and Fortinet’s (Nasdaq: FTNT) FortiGate solutions, to name just two.

Scale Computing combines hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) with virtual private network (VPN) creation and management in a clusterable rackmount unit for campuses and branch offices. The majority of Scale Computing’s customers are mid-size businesses with up to 500 employees, according to TrustRadius, though the vendor also serves small and enterprise-size companies as well. Scale’s competitors include VMware (NYSE: VMW), Nutanix (Nasdaq: NTNX), and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE).

Two Is Greater Than One at the Edge

This alliance should benefit both Mako and Scale Computing – Mako by augmenting its SASE and networking capabilities with HCI functionality that could increase its retail reach; and Scale Computing by making its HCI solution more appealing to distributed organizations such as those in the lucrative retail vertical.

The combination of SD-WAN and HCI isn’t new. Fortinet offers integration of its next generation firewall (NGFW) FortiGate with HCI from Nutanix. And VMware’s SD-WAN Edge is designed to work with third-party NGFWs. By definition, HCI is just as much an element of SASE as other access points.

The Hybrid Cloud Angle

The integrated Mako/Scale Computing solution also points to an industry trend toward beefing up the capabilities of local branch environments, where on-premises virtualization will be key to future hybrid cloud network integration and management.

On the downside, there is no integration between Mako’s and Scale Computing’s management systems, and both are supported separately by each company. If Mako’s Central Management System (CMS) and Scale Computing’s SC//Fleet Manager, both cloud-based, could be better integrated with each other and with broader public cloud systems, that could be a key selling point. (Notably, Mako's 7000 and 8000 series concentrators already have virtual options that integrate with AWS and Google Cloud.)

For now, both vendors appear to have further integration on the back burner. Instead, they’re focused on scalability, security, access control and failover, and high availability – all of which are offered in their combined solutions.

Company Specifics

Mako Networks was founded in New Zealand in 2000 by Chris Massam, now CTO, and Simon Gamble, now president. (Jason Kubasak is Mako’s CEO.) With about 100 employees but no apparent outside funding, the company remains small and should benefit from its alliance with Scale Computing, which has 177 employees on LinkedIn and according to Crunchbase has scored $202.8 million in venture funding.

Scale Computing was founded in 2007 in part by Jeff Ready, now CEO, and Scott Loughmiller, now chief product officer, who both worked at Corvigo, a security appliance company. Three other co-founders – Ehren Maedge, Jason Collier, and Mike Olson, have moved on to other work.

Hybrid cloud deployments continue to grow, and we are likely to see many more alliances that, like this one, are aimed at scaling a strong virtualized edge solution in those environments.