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An ‘Internet’ For DevOps: With Mesh VPN, Tailscale Is Fixing The Broken Internet

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Modern developers while working on creating internet-scale applications often don’t need the “internet”. That internet, as we know it today, is broken, according to Avery Pennarun, CEO and Co-Founder of Tailscale. Back in the 90s, the internet was quite different than what it is today. Originally, the idea behind the internet was a decentralized space where everything was connected to everything – it was peer-to-peer via IP addresses. Now it has become heavily centralized with very few companies as its gatekeepers.

The modern internet poses connectivity challenges for modern DevOps teams who just want to easily and securely connect to the services they are building with simple things like peer-to-peer connections. In most cases, all they want is an SSH (Secure Shell) connection. But they can’t due to firewalls and other limitations or restrictions that come by default with modern internet that is scaled to cater to billions of users. That’s the problem Tailscale is solving for them. Pennarun calls it the opposite of internet scale.; it’s ‘tail scale’. Tailscale is focussing on solving connectivity for 10, 100, or 1,000 users; not for a billion users.

Tailscale has created what Pennarun calls a mesh VPN that is different from the ‘traditional’ enterprise VPN in the sense that every node is a peer instead of there being a center point like clients and servers. As a result, there is no single point of failure in the middle. The architecture of Tailscale is a hybrid of centralized and decentralized control systems, hence reaping the benefits of decentralized and distributed systems like torrents without incurring their flaws, and adding strong security for developers.

The company is enjoying growing demand and is serving customers across the globe. The evidence of their success can be seen in the latest $100 million Series B funding round led by Insight Partners and CRV. In this episode of Let’s Talk, Pennarun details the working of Tailscale and how it’s solving connectivity and security problems for DevOps teams.


Guest: Avery Pennarun (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Company: Tailscale (Twitter)
Show: Let’s Talk
Keywords: VPN, Virtual Private Network

About Avery Pennarun: Avery is CEO and Co-founder of Tailscale. He spent the previous 8 years at Google where he launched Google’s first P2P payments transfer for Google Wallet, spearheaded the development of Google Fiber, and provided strategic analysis for several high-profile Alphabet projects.

About Tailscale: Tailscale is building the new Internet with a zero trust DevOps VPN: small, trusted, interconnected, human-scale networks. We combine WireGuard with 2-factor authentication, a distributed mesh, centralized security policies, and magic.

Useful links: Tailscale raises $100M… to fix the Internet

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