Shekar Ayyar, Chairman and CEO of Arrcus
The world is abuzz about Web 3.0, decentralized finance, NFTs, cryptocurrencies and so on.
While these applications are going through their own cycles of maturity, the biggest issue is making sure we can upgrade the Internet to support applications and use cases like these. Broadly speaking, next gen applications like the Metaverse and Web 3.0 will test the robustness of the underlying internet. Therefore, as we upgrade the Internet to meet today’s demands, we also need to accommodate for this next phase.
As a society, we’re built and heavily reliant on digital services. What are some of the new applications you see emerging, and how does the Internet need to evolve to meet those?
There are three classes of applications that I see emerging quickly, asking for the Internet to be a better connected network than it has been before. First are “productivity enhancing applications” - those that are making life easier, simpler, better, and are extensions of what we do today (for example, video conferencing). COVID and remote work accelerated the path for evolution and maturity in some areas, but this class of applications will be constantly evolving and changing our day-to-day existence. Next is Web 3.0 applications and the Metaverse. These are nice-to-have applications that may not have as much direct impact on improving our lives, but will evolve and require accommodation. Last, is pushing the envelope on scale and remoteness, getting the Internet to parts of the world and geography that otherwise has proven difficult.
Why push forward with the grid versus focusing solely on the edge? What role will the Grid play in 5-10 years, and how does the edge fit?
I don’t see the Grid and Edge as mutually exclusive. The concept behind the Grid is to have a set of connected parties, both in a technical sense, as well as a business concept, that can evolve to become a network. That network can then provide a utility for those that are participants and consume from it. The Grid will benefit from having connected edges. No network, including the Grid, will be useful unless people in a global sense can actually get connected and extract value from it. As the OGA progresses, I believe we must be accommodating of edge computing and make it a part of how the Grid evolves.
How does your company’s mission and services fit with the Open Grid Alliance? Why are you passionate about the Open Grid?
At Arcus, we enable our customers to deploy routing and switching in a distributed, disaggregated, scalable and programmable way. We’ve always been a leader and forerunner when it comes to networking, and we see the raw potential of the Grid. We’re thrilled to be a part of the pioneering effort, the dialogue and the thought partnership that goes along with the other participants in the Open Grid Alliance. Arrcus is a key technology enabling the Grid, and together with the other members I truly believe we’re going to change the world and make it a better connected place.
About Shekar Ayyar
Shekar Ayyar is a seasoned technology executive and industry leader with over twenty-five years of experience spanning general management, research, strategy, mergers & acquisitions and business development. Before joining Arrcus, Shekar was Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Telco and Edge Cloud business at VMware. He incubated and grew this business to become one of the largest vertical opportunities for VMware in the context of 5G and Edge Computing.
Prior to his General manager role, Shekar was EVP of Strategy and Corporate Development, leading VMware’s M&A and strategic investments for several years. From opportunity and target identification, to deal structuring, negotiation, and closure, he oversaw over 60 acquisitions and investments across a wide range of target companies and transaction sizes. These included the acquisitions of Nicira for software defined networking, Airwatch for mobility management, Velocloud for software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), Heptio for cloud-native Kubernetes orchestration, and Uhana for AI driven closed loop automation of mobile networks.
Before joining VMware in 2007, Shekar led product management and business development at companies like BindView, a compliance and security software company acquired by Symantec and Instantis, Inc. a web application automation company acquired by Oracle. In prior roles at other companies, including Lucent and McKinsey, Shekar advised C-level executives on a wide range of strategic technology and business decisions.
Shekar has an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated as a Palmer Scholar. He also holds a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, both in electrical engineering.
Shekar is on the board of Altair as well as the regional board of Room to Read, a non-profit focused on supporting literacy and girls’ education globally.
The OGA Blog Series highlights the knowledge and strong opinions of today’s top executives with regards to the open grid, and how the Internet will evolve over the next ten years. The statements in each blog are of the author, and not of the Open Grid Alliance as a whole.