Alkira: Reinventing Networking By Simplifying Any-To-Any Network Connectivity

By Amit Chowdhry • May 15, 2024

Alkira is a company reinventing networking for the cloud era with global unified network infrastructure delivered as a service. Pulse 2.0 interviewed Alkira CEO Amir Khan to learn more about the company.

Amir Khan’s Background

Amir Khan

Khan is the President and CEO of Alkira, an on-demand networking infrastructure company that he co-founded with his brother Atif in 2018. And Khan said:

“Before we started Alkira, we founded Viptela, a technology for Wide Area Network (WAN) virtualization that allowed global companies to build carrier agnostic, policy-controlled, cost-effective WANs. Viptela was acquired by Cisco in 2017.”

“Prior to Viptela, I was senior director of product management at Juniper Networks with P&L responsibility for Juniper’s Enterprise routing portfolio. I led Juniper’s foray into the Enterprise routing space with a focus on Data Center, Campus and Wide Area. Before that, I led iOS routing software, Desktop switching, and NG wiring closet strategy at Cisco. I also held multiple leadership positions in product management and marketing at Procket (core routing), Nortel (Accelar & Passport) and Bay Networks.”

 “I have an MS degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder.”

Formation Of Alkira

How did the idea for the company come together? Khan shared:

“In 2018, shortly after Cisco bought Viptela, we were looking for the next big problem to solve. After speaking with past customers and partners in the industry, we noticed quickly that cloud networking was very difficult to manage, even in a single environment. As you bring other clouds into the mix, it becomes exponentially complex. We wanted to develop a comprehensive solution that could make this process incredibly simple, while ensuring it was secure and compatible with platforms that the industry was already using. Once we had a product that met this vision, Alkira was born.”

Challenges Faced

Has the current macroeconomic climate affected Khan’s company? Khan acknowledged:

“The current macroeconomic climate is affecting all companies in one way or another. Across industries, organizations are reducing headcount, and the employees that remain are naturally expected to produce more than they were previously. Given that Alkira’s product has been designed to simplify the complex work of any-to-any network connectivity, we have seen demand for our product go up at a healthy rate. On top of that, the use of AI is growing, and enterprises will continue to increase their reliance on the cloud, so Alkira is well positioned for where things are headed.”

Core Products

What are the company’s core products and features? Khan explained:

“Our main product is Network Infrastructure on Demand, and it’s the fastest way to unify clouds, sites, and users. It’s also the only platform built in the cloud and offered as a service. With Alkira, users can auto-connect clouds, sites, users, as well as SD-WAN fabrics, all with end-to-end security. They can immediately unify users, sites, and clouds. They can also extend segmentation and leverage built-in troubleshooting tools – all in one platform. Multi-cloud support is built-in to the platform, and adding a new cloud is as simple as drag-and-drop. And, since it’s delivered as a service, there’s no hardware to buy, no software to download. Best of all, you only pay for what you use. Alkira’s Network Infrastructure on Demand is extremely flexible, built to scale, and designed with the future in mind.”

Evolution Of Alkira’s Technology

How has the company’s technology evolved since launching? Khan noted:

“We’re constantly enhancing our product offerings to meet the latest enterprise challenges. Recently, we announced partnerships with RestorePoint.AI – a Secure Managed Data-as-a-Service company – and SITA – the leading IT provider in the air transport industry. Both of these partnerships underscore critical market shifts, and the value of secure, flexible networking that can easily adapt and evolve alongside modern businesses. Industries are changing rapidly and networking is a major force leading that charge.” 

“Prior to those partnerships, we announced the addition of a Cloud Exchange Point (CXP) in China, which extends our platform in the country for seamless global network connectivity. This allows enterprises to simplify deployment and operations without the complexity of deploying and managing separate domains of infrastructure for China regions. We provide a unified management and control plane for China and the rest of the world, which hasn’t been available to enterprises until now.”

“Before announcing our China CXP, we announced a partnership with Itential. With Itential’s network-centric automation and integration platform combined with Alkira’s multi-cloud networking capabilities, enterprises get the richest set of intelligent cloud, network, and IT infrastructure automation features to easily manage and orchestrate multi-cloud networks, reducing complexity and delivering IT infrastructure more efficiently.”

“Before that, we unveiled our Extranet-as-a-Service offering, which helps simplify shared resource management with cloud-based hyperscale infrastructure and provides enterprises with complete end-to-end visibility, control, and management. This addresses use cases like mergers and acquisitions and partner connectivity.”

“All these developments happened over the last few months, which gives you an indication of the speed at which we’re moving.”

Customer Success Stories

After asking Khan about company success stories, he highlighted: 

“There are a couple of good examples to share, which show the versatility of the Alkira platform.” 

“For Koch Industries, a global giant that had acquired five companies in a two-year span, Alkira helped seamlessly integrate those new networks into Koch’s core network, vastly reducing the complexity involved in the process. Our network segmentation and resource sharing approach enabled Koch to unify its on-premises and multi-cloud networks with just a few mouse clicks. Prior to Alkira, it took Koch 12 to 24 months to integrate their networks due to the massive complexity. Today, Koch can set policy and have the entire network abide within 24 hours.”

“For Warner Music Group (WMG), they were adopting a multi-cloud strategy, and they were facing several networking challenges, including connecting disparate infrastructures, gaining visibility and governance over this complexity, and ensuring security across it all. Their IT infrastructure was decentralized, with many of the network and data center components left to the responsibility of the regions. Their goal was to build a common, holistic network across its different clouds and across its foreign affiliates, and that’s exactly what Alkira helped them do. By working with Alkira, WMG has significantly enhanced its security and has greatly improved time-to-market for mergers and acquisitions.”

Differentiation From The Competition

What differentiates the company from its competition? Khan concluded:

“Alkira is distinct from its competition in a variety of ways. Alkira is the only vendor providing end-to-end network infrastructure as-a-service. Customers buy our solution because of its comprehensive network capabilities, the diversity of use cases that it can address, as well as the simplicity and ease of consumption that it offers. In terms of competition, there are cloud native providers, colocation providers, SD-WAN solutions, and networking orchestration platforms. While all of them offer aspects of what Alkira does, none of them can do everything that we do in one platform. Delivering simplicity is paramount in today’s landscape, where networks are becoming exponentially complex to deploy and manage, and Alkira’s platform has prioritized this from the start.”