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Recently, Indeni’s CEO was invited to participate in Intel’s Chip Chat Network Insights Podcast to discuss trends in Network Operations (NetOps) and Automation.
Listen to the podcast or view the transcript below.

Allyson Klein [AK]: Welcome to Chip Chat Network Insights, my name is Allyson Klein. Today, I am very excited to be joined by Yoni Leitersdorf, CEO and Founder of Indeni. Welcome, Yoni!

Yoni Leitersdorf [YL]: Hi, Allyson. Thank you for having me here!

AK: So, why don’t we just get started with an introduction to Indeni and why you chose to found the company?

YL: Indeni was founded after watching IT Organizations over a period of time and trying to understand why they do what they do, in the way they do it. For years, IT has been writing code and creating software programs in order to tell computers what to do. Certain tasks have been automated; generally, simpler tasks have been automated pretty well, but we still see today a large amount of manual effort that needs to take place in IT – especially when rolling out new services across a network.

If you think about large enterprises, they have pretty considerable IT teams working around the clock, rolling out new technologies in order to allow new services. This is because the network is inherently complex – there are a lot of distributed systems and devices and local and wide-area networks. Today with IoT even way beyond those extensions and it’s just making things very complicated for IT to deal with.

So, we tried to understand what would be the different ways to get over this issue and the conclusion we came to is that automation is key. Automation has been discussed in IT for a while, but we have identified a completely different way of doing automation: essentially, crowd-sourcing automation and letting people work together to make IT more successful.

AK: So, I’ve heard of a lot of things associated with data centers and network optimization before, but crowd-sourcing was not one of them. Tell me about how you’re applying that?

YL: Well, let’s think about the world around us. If we all work together more closely, we are going to become more successful and we see this in many different industries. Interestingly enough, in IT, it’s been a bit more challenging to get about. Networking people and security people from around the world don’t collaborate as much – they have their forums and they have conferences that they go to, but they don’t regularly collaborate. We decided that we wanted to do that, we wanted to enable these people to work together and be more successful, even in competing organizations. To allow an engineer from one organization to work with an engineer from another organization, even if they compete.

We built a platform for doing that – it’s a software platform but also a community platform, where they can all work together, share their knowledge, build scripts together and make each other more successful. An interesting thing about it is that people join and contribute to the community because they get a lot more than they give. They get the world’s knowledge in their hands, just by sharing their own knowledge and that’s been working very, very well.

AK: What has the response been when you have shared this idea with operators or enterprises and how have they embraced this concept within their own organizations?

YL: The feedback has been amazing. Initially, people were kind of wondering how we would do this and how Indeni would actually work, but as they start joined and using the platform and start collaborating a lot more, they see the advantages and they see how well it is going to work for them. The perception has been overwhelmingly positive.

We see our Indeni platform as we call it, being used in data center expansions, in change activities (which is when they’re exchanging one device for another and making changes) and even being used in new cloud deployments, because essentially we are providing them with intelligence and automation across both on-premises infrastructure and public and private clouds.

Since these are now very important for people and we have become a primary source of knowledge for them, they have been overwhelmingly positive with their desire to pick this up and be part of the community.

AK: I have also heard that you have something called Indeni Knowledge Language… can you tell me a little bit about that?

YL: If you look at software development, there are a lot of different languages. There’s Java, there’s Scala, Python, and many other languages. Software developers have a knack for software programming and languages because that’s how they grow up, get educated, that’s how their work is. With IT, it’s very different. IT people are more accustomed to Command Line Interfaces (CLIs) and are less accustomed to software development. When we needed a language for people to communicate their knowledge and share their knowledge, we had to figure out how would they actually teach a computer to automate this knowledge?

So, we asked the IT network and security engineers what languages they are used to and a lot of them talked about AWK. AWK has been around for a few decades. A lot of them also talked about a language called YAML for the description of data. What we decided to do was take those two languages that IT was already familiar with, and essentially build more capabilities into them. This allows them to code in a very simple-to-use language that they can understand and allows them to write scripts very rapidly and increase the number of checks and devices that their platform can support, it allows them to automatically deploy more and more capabilities in their environments. So, essentially, that’s what we built and we called it Indeni’s Knowledge Language. It allows them to describe knowledge in a very easy-to-use language.

AK: What has the response been in terms of increased efficiency or agility from customers who have actually deployed the solutions?

YL: The first thing that customers have achieved is a massive reduction in issues and outages. Some of our customers talk about a 90% reduction in what’s called Sev1 (severity one) outages, which is a massive, massive accomplishment.

The next level, actually, of value to them is their ability to pick up new technologies and roll out new services that they were working on.

For example, almost every single enterprise today has one or more network initiatives around public clouds. Freeing time through automation allows them to give more attention to that but also they are learning through our technology and our community, how to better migrate into the public cloud environments. Imagine you have a firewall or load balancer on the premises which used to be hardware – now we are trying to think of how to get it in the cloud! The mix of our technology and our community helped make that happen. So, they can now achieve projects that they want to achieve, and they are learning things that they couldn’t learn before. All those things together make them more successful and as a result, the enterprises that they work for more successful.

AK: You guys are involved in the Intel network builders program. Tell me why you chose to join network builders and what the collaboration with Intel and the community has been like?

YL: We have actually been with the network builders program for several years now. We joined it because, when you look at the concept of running software in a very agile and flexible way, the Intel capabilities, most notably the Intel CPUs are the main thing that enables this, that make this happen. When Intel started building a network builders program, we were really interested in joining, because for us, networking security is very important and we realized the thought leadership that Intel has because of the history in hardware and where Intel is going…
We have seen a lot of value in the network builders program and it is very much around the ability to connect with other partners, with Intel, to identify thought leadership, to get involved in essentially what is the future of networking and security. We have been very happy to be part of this program.

AK: Yoni, thank you so much for the collaboration, thank you for being on the program today – it’s been a real pleasure. One final question for you: where can folks find out more about the Indeni Solutions and engage with you in a trial or deployment?

YL: – of course, they can also engage in the community! There are links at the top of the website to go to the community, see what kind of information is being shared by people and engage! Anyone who would like to try the software: click on the link to Download Indeni from the main website and you can get access to the software for free. If you join as part of our community and share your knowledge with other people, we will actually give you licenses for free forever, as long as you’re contributing. The number one thing that we care about it people working together.

AK: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much, we would love to have you back on the program soon.

YL: Thank you so much for having me, Allyson, and have a good day!

BlueCat acquires Indeni to boost its industry-leading DNS, DHCP and IP address management platform to help customers proactively assess network health and prevent outages.