Computing has historically had alternating eras of centralization, distribution, and re-centralization. Now we seem to be at the dawn of a new distributed era of computing. What is involved, and how must infrastructure be reimagined to meet the needs?  Come, join me in the exploration! This post is the first in a series of five posts, giving an overview of the topic, which will then be elaborated in the subsequent posts.

The first era of computing was of course mainframes and supercomputers, which were completely centralized and batch operated.  Then came mini-computers surrounding the mainframes, with online access via terminals, which gave rise to a degree of de-centralization.  After that came personal computers and PC-LANs, which completely exploded the whole concept of centralization. And now, of course, the internet, e-Businesses, smartphones, and IOT have made computing ubiquitously distributed!

But then the advent of cloud computing has swung the pendulum hard back to centralization! Public clouds are becoming the infrastructure of choice for most data-center based applications with e-Businesses and even enterprises increasingly adopting them for new apps. And, even legacy enterprise apps are increasingly getting migrated to public IaaS (a phenomenon known as “lift-and-shift”).  Gartner group estimates that about 18% of legacy apps have already been migrated, and more are on the way.

While the foreseeable future may still be hybrid cloud, the trend is towards increasing public cloud centralization, with the growth rates of Amazon AWS and the revitalization of Microsoft via its cloud services being strong indicators.  Gartner forecasts cloud system infrastructure services (infrastructure as a service or IaaS), to grow 27.6% in 2019 to reach $39.5 billion, up from $31 billion in 2018.   Many enterprises (even some fortune 500 firms) have initiatives in place to shift most of their non-business-critical applications to public clouds over the next few years.

SaaS is also a form of centralization: instead of many instances of apps at customer data center, it is a multi-tenanted centralized delivery model now.  Much of that SaaS also is being delivered from public cloud IaaS. Any new SaaS company almost always begins its market journey initially on one or more of the public clouds. According to the Gartner group, SaaS is the largest segment of the cloud market, with revenue expected to grow 17.8% to reach $85.1 billion in 2019.

Not just infrastructure, but Applications also have traditionally had a form of centralization in the form of being a monolithic, tightly bound development and deployment model.    On the data side, data lakes are starting to create a centralized data store model (never mind that many companies have had huge relational databases anyway for decades!).  And trust models have historically been tightly centralized with clearing houses and market exchanges holding the “truth of state” in one place, and everyone else relying upon them.

All that is starting to change, and how! On every single front — infrastructure, application development, and deployment, data, trust all of them — we are starting to see decentralized and distributed models of development, deployment, and trust.

In the subsequent posts, I intend to lay out the thesis that we are the advent of a new era of glorious distributed computing of many kinds, and therefore infrastructure has to be reimagined to meet the needs and challenges of such an era. In the next part of the series, we will explore how de-centralization via micro-services and external services is impacting application development and deployment.

Alan Boehme, CTO, P&G

Industry Veterans Alan Boehme of P&G and Pankaj Patel, former EVP and CDO of Cisco Join Co-Creation Foundry Advisory Board

Mountain View, CA – May 24, 2018 – The Fabric, a pioneer in co-creating companies focused on cloud and IoT infrastructure technology, today announced that the following new advisory board members have joined: Pankaj Patel, former EVP and CDO with Cisco, and Alan Boehme, CTO of P&G. These new advisors join an unparalleled advisory board of existing members that includes Investor/Advisor and Former SVP with Citrix Klaus Oestermann, Former President of CenturyLink Gary Gauba, Former Chief Strategy Officer of NetApp Vic Mahadevan, VP and Citrix Fellow Abhishek Chauhan, Founder of Sand Hill Group MR Rangaswami, and CMO of Quali Shashi Kiran.

The Fabric launched with a vision to create multiple companies that solve the emerging problems and deliver the needed infrastructure to power the next wave of cloud computing. Through each pool of capital raised, The Fabric has been able to focus on key market needs. With Fabric 1, the company focused on cloud infrastructure; Fabric 2 added the emerging IoT market; and Fabric 3 will add emphasis on 5G and mobile edge-cloud infrastructure. The founders bring over 20 years in infrastructure experience that enables them to identify “white spaces” of opportunity in the market, and then actively co-create companies with entrepreneurs.

Prabakar Sundarrajan, Chief Strategist of The Fabric, said: “In addition to closely collaborating, The Fabric also provides critical resources, expertise and guidance to our co-created company leadership. Our founders and advisors are well-versed in all aspects of building infrastructure companies from the ground up, from creating products to pricing and distribution to full-fledged go-to-market planning. Our newest advisors Pankaj and Alan, in addition to our existing advisors, will be invaluable resources in bringing applicable knowledge to our startup co-founders. I look forward to continuing to work with them on our initiatives.”

Oestermann said: “I’ve enjoyed advising entrepreneurs with The Fabric for several years now, and am excited to continue my association to co-create companies with my investment in The Fabric. Together, we will have the opportunity to explore and develop new category defining technology innovations for the cloud and IoT infrastructure space, such as AI driven application performance, API based Apps, and IoT security.

Patel said: “The Fabric has assembled an impressive team of cloud industry experts that bring an outstanding technical foundation to the companies they co-create. I am looking forward to working with The Fabric on delivering breakthrough technologies to enterprises. Cloud and IoT infrastructure are ripe for disruptive innovations.”

Boehme said: “I am delighted to partner with The Fabric’s team and entrepreneurs to help cloud and IoT security infrastructure technology companies thrive in this expansive market. The Fabric could not be better positioned to propel industry growth with its innovative, collaborative approach and deep technical expertise.”

Today’s news falls on the heels of recent news that The Fabric closed a third pool of capital from Verizon Ventures, March Capital Partners, Citrix and Hitachi, bringing its total investment raised to $41 million. The capital will be leveraged to invest in early stage cloud infrastructure companies that it co-creates with entrepreneurs. Since founding in 2012, The Fabric has co-created eight companies, of which three have already been acquired: VeloCloud acquired by VMware, Perspica acquired by Cisco, and Appcito acquired by A10 Networks.

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About The Fabric

The Fabric is a co-creation foundry with a focus on cloud and IoT infrastructure. Launched in 2012 by Rajan Raghavan, Prabakar Sundarrajan, and Sumant Mandal, The Fabric has a team of proven company creators who deeply collaborate with entrepreneurs to help them grow from concept to company. The Fabric takes a unique approach of co-creating, funding and launching companies in the cloud and IoT infrastructure space. With this high-touch approach, The Fabric accelerates values and lowers risk to entrepreneurs and investors. Based in Mountain View, the company has raised over $41 million to enable growth of the infrastructure industry, and has launched eight companies including VeloCloud, Perspica, Appcito, IoTium, Pensa, Spanugo, KMesh, and Rosetta Cyber Security. To learn more, visit:

A new sovereign has ascended the throne of enterprise infrastructure space – it is cloud-delivered Infrastructure.

It has been close to five years since Rajan Raghavan and I joined with Sumant Mandal to launch The Fabric. At the inception, our vision was to create a series of innovative new companies in the cloud infrastructure space. After nearly five years, it is gratifying to see that vision turning into reality. The Fabric has been able to attract awesome entrepreneur teams and collaborate with them deeply to co-create and launch seven companies across two pools of capital thus far. Starting with VeloCloud and now with our latest to spawn, Spanugo it has been an amazing and productive journey. It is also exciting to note that we, at The Fabric, are not stopping or even slowing down! Since the initial vision, we have added IoT infrastructure to our scope, with IoTium leading the charge on that front.

Our thesis when we launched was: as compute, storage and bandwidth (both LAN and WAN) become plentiful and almost commoditized, entrepreneur driven infrastructure innovation will move from hardware (chips and boxes) to software. Not only that, it would move from bare metal to virtual and scale-out rather than scale-up.

But wait, there is more! We had a strong belief that infrastructure would move from on premise installed systems to become cloud delivered services. Boy, were we … dare I say, right?! We seem to have bet on the right horse about the direction infrastructure would move.

Our insight came from our own entrepreneurial and investment journey and how that shaped our lens on the market trends. As we watched hardware oriented companies struggle to get market traction, software-defined infrastructure start to take hold, and enterprise adoption of cloud starting to accelerate, we could look back on the innovations the burst forth from earlier disruptive market trends, to reach our “cloud delivered” thought process. At that time, it seemed non-obvious and we did have to face and overcome some healthy skepticism (which did help sharpen our thinking, so sincere thanks to the skeptics).

It is now common to see so many infrastructure elements being delivered or at least controlled from the cloud. Even wireless LAN is now mostly cloud controlled. Not surprisingly, the legion of The Fabric co-created companies stands testament to this trend: VeloCloud has pioneered cloud-delivered SD-WAN and is the market leader, with glowing industry accolades. Appcito innovated on cloud delivered application delivery control and got acquired by A10. Perspica’s artificial intelligence powered analytics delivered as SaaS enables enterprises to keep their critical services running at the speed of business. You might recall Rajan recently blogged welcoming Tom Joyce to Pensa Networks (, whose flagship cloud-based service enables the rapid adoption of Software-Defined Virtual Infrastructure technologies.

More recently, IoTium has charged out of the gate fast as the first secure network infrastructure company for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT); they have blazed the trail in delivering a zero-touch cloud-delivered service and created an amazing open ecosystem of partners instead of the closed vertical apps that seem to be par for the course in IoT. Cancun has opened up a fantastic opportunity by accelerating big data computing tremendously with their unique software-defined memory lake technology. Spanugo although just a few months since inception, has already signed up eager pillar prospects and is working closely with them to further speed-up enterprise agility by assuring continuous policy compliance.

And, have I mentioned? Every single one of them is cloud delivered and/or cloud controlled! To summarize, The Fabric’s initial vision of infrastructure as a set of cloud delivered software services is proving to be prescient and now, a market reality.

We will continue to collaborate with top-notch entrepreneurs to co-create new innovative cloud and IoT infrastructure companies. I will elaborate in a future blog about what we are thinking about for the future. Here is a hint: you can bet it has to do with more cloud delivered services!

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