Prakash Mana, Chief Executive Officer, Cloudbrink

NetEvents Global Live! – CxO Perspectives: Empowering Remote & Hybrid Workforces – Prakash Mana, Chief Executive Officer, Cloudbrink

Cloudbrink was formed in 2019 by networking industry veterans Prakash Mana and Subbu Ponnuswamy. They could see that while enterprises continued to pour billions of dollars each year into networking and security, that investment was focused on corporate headquarters and branch offices. Meanwhile the world was changing, as more of the workforce adopted remote and hybrid working practices. A year later, the pandemic brought that message home with a vengeance, sparking a major shift in working patterns and starting a global debate on the future of work.

Cloudbrink emerged from stealth mode in late 2022 with $25 million in venture funding for a service designed to reflect the changing shape of networks and the changing needs of the workforce. The company has already attracted the attention of analysts and the media. In early 2023, it featured in the Futuriom 50 and CRN magazine dubbed it one of the 10 hottest cloud companies to watch.

NetReporter spoke to Prakash Mana, co-founder and CEO.

NetReporter: If Cloudbrink is the solution, what’s the problem?

Prakash Mana: Cloudbrink is in the business of delivering in-office performance to the modern remote and hybrid workforce. Less than 9% of the global workforce wants to go back to the office full time and this has massive implications. CFOs are worried about secure employee productivity. The human resources department is worried about employee morale and employee retention. CEOs are worried about employees’ happiness. So, in this new norm of hybrid and remote work, Cloudbrink transforms any home internet connection to give people in-office like performance and productivity with built-in security so that your employees are happy, they are productive, and businesses are hitting their top lines.

NetReporter: There are other vendors in the networking space talking about the challenges of remote workers and hybrid working. What is different about Cloudbrink’s approach?

Prakash Mana: We’re seeing a generational shift. How, when and where people work is fundamentally changing. And in this new metaverse/gig economy, traditional solutions, such as remote access, secure access, VPN, SD WAN are not going to scale. The reason is threefold. To deliver an in-office experience to users anywhere, you need a service that is highly distributed, available anywhere and everywhere. You need a level of density that only a cloud native solution can provide. Once you bring services close to end user, you then need to solve the last mile. That’s where the power of AI comes in and overcoming those last mile network challenges to turn any broadband internet into an enterprise grade network. Once you have solved the problems of connectivity and bringing applications closer to the user, the last problem is security. That’s where we need to make sure that we deliver much higher levels of security than experienced before in the market.

NetReporter: Cloudbrink is talking about 30 times performance improvements for remote users. It sounds too good to be true. How are you doing that?

Prakash Mana: To deliver higher levels of performance and experience, again it goes back to a couple of points. The first one is that you really want to minimise the distance between the user and the application that they are connected to. And that’s where the 600 PoPs that we have currently available come in. The FAST edges as we call them provide our end users with no more than seven to 20 milliseconds of latency. Typically you would see at least 70 millisecond latency to any cloud location and 300 milliseconds latency to any data center application. When we get so close to any user, we can react in real time. The second point is that once we’ve solved the connectivity problem, security is always bolted on. When you look at rest of the industry everybody says “we’re tunnelling a connection”. If you really want to deliver the highest level of security at the wire speed, you need to bring security into the network data plane itself. That’s the second thing that we have done, which is that security is an integral part of the data plane, so that there is no additional “tunnel” that we are building. Bringing those two things together enables us to deliver much better performance.

NetReporter: You mentioned that you have 600 points of presence or PoPs, while some bigger and better established companies have only a couple of hundred. I’m interested to know how you’re doing that.

Prakash Mana: There are new technologies at our disposal that allow us to build an architecture that can be so distributed that we can get very close to end user. We have 600 POPs today, but we can also have 2000 by the end of this year. And by 2025, we will have 10,000 of these soft PoPs and edges available. There are three technologies that play a critical role in delivering this architecture. The first one is becoming cloud native. Unlike traditional players, it doesn’t take us six months to push a PoP out. In fact, it takes us less than two minutes to make a PoP available anywhere on this planet. Second, you need to make sure users are connected to the closest edge that is available to their location. That’s

where we use tremendous amount of machine learning to pair the user to the right edge. And finally, we use quite a bit of AI to make sure we can overcome any of the last mile challenges. We understand the applications that needs to be delivered to those end users. And we can pre-emptively position those applications closer to the users.

NetReporter: Where is the service available today? Is it US only or do you have bigger global plans?

Prakash Mana: Cloudbrink is offering services on six out of seven continents, and I like to joke that it will be coming to Antarctica soon as well. Today clobbering services available anywhere from Liberia to London, South Sudan to San Francisco. If users are anywhere, the service must be everywhere.

NetReporter: To put every user within 10 or maybe 20 milliseconds of the network, you’re going to need to have points of presence everywhere, maybe tens of thousands of them. Is that feasible?

Prakash Mana: Absolutely. It goes back to the point that once you become cloud native, once you start harnessing the power of machine learning and AI, then you can easily get to these numbers in in much shorter fashion. When we look at a traditional player, they will add one to two POPs in any given year. Cloudbrink as I shared before will have more than 2000 PoPs before the end of this year. And we will be looking at deploying 10,000 of these soft PoPs globally by 2025.





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