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Cisco's Viptela acquisition could mean IWAN is dying or dead

The Cisco acquisition of Viptela -- and its available SD-WAN options -- leads one industry observer to believe Cisco IWAN doesn't have long to live. Lumina Networks spins off from Brocade and will continue to support the SDN controller.

Completed last week, Cisco's acquisition of Viptela left Greg Ferro, a PacketPushers blogger, contemplating what the vendor's move will be in enterprise WAN. A Cisco blog post about the acquisition discussed the three versions of SD-WAN the vendor now has under its wing: Viptela's cloud-based SD-WAN, Cisco Meraki and Cisco Intelligent WAN, or IWAN.

Scott Harrell, Cisco's senior vice president of product management, said Viptela's SD-WAN will be Cisco's first option.

"For customers and partners that require cloud-first SD-WAN solutions with advanced routing, complex topologies or granular segmentation capabilities, Cisco's SD-WAN solution based on Viptela will be the preferred solution," Harrell wrote.

To Ferro, the Cisco acquisition means Cisco IWAN will be fading out.

"Cisco intends [to] lead with Viptela SD-WAN, which implies that IWAN is dead. This is because IWAN cannot do 'cloud' which Cisco has proposed [to] shareholders that it will do in the form of recurring revenues like Meraki," Ferro wrote.

Harrell said customers will have the option to migrate to a different SD-WAN option if they so desire, signaling another death knell for IWAN, Ferro said.

"Why? Because [the] section, 'customers will be able to migrate to the new unified solution' suggests that people should migrate," he wrote. "I've heard an overwhelming number of horror stories about IWAN and very few successes."

With the end of IWAN possibly in sight after the Cisco acquisition, the vendor is likely to split the enterprise WAN market in two, Ferro said.

"Meraki for simple and SME [small to medium-sized enterprise], and Viptela for complex, large deployments," he wrote.

Read the rest of Ferro's post about his concerns after the Cisco acquisition.

Lumina Networks branches off from Brocade's SDN controller

After acquiring Brocade's SDN controller products, Lumina Networks officially launched as its own company this week. In a blog post, Andrew Coward, former Brocade vice president of strategy, penned his welcome memo as the new CEO for Lumina.

Coward said Lumina intends to continue providing the SDN controller it acquired from Brocade. This controller, now called the Lumina SDN Controller, is based on OpenDaylight (ODL), a leading open source option for SDN. The software will also include optional controller-based applications, Coward said.

In his post, Coward touted the controller's ability to offer a "common, open platform for developers," while also providing more development and implementation control. But, he said, there's more.

"What you may not realize is how widely deployed the ODL controller is today, now supporting 1 billion users worldwide," he wrote.

Despite the number of ODL users, open source networking is still considered to be in the testing phase. According to Coward, Lumina intends to change that. He said Lumina believes its job is to help move open source software networking from the testing phase to real-world environments using its portfolio of products.

Cato Networks integrates IPS with its SD-WAN

Cato Networks is working to fortify its SD-WAN security by integrating an intrusion prevention system, or IPS, component. In a blog post, PacketPushers blogger Drew Conry-Murray expanded on Cato's strategy.

According to Conry-Murray, Cato uses a typical customer premises appliance at a remote or branch office edge. How Cato differs from other vendors, however, is through its private collection of points of presence (PoPs) that form its Cato Cloud, Conry-Murray wrote.

"Within the PoP, Cato applies services, such as the newly announced IPS, and then routes the traffic across its backbone to the Cato PoP that's most appropriate for the destination ('appropriateness' being some combination of physical location and network performance)," he wrote.

Conry-Murray said by shifting any "heavy lifting into the cloud," Cato can potentially avoid cramming a CPE with more functions that could constrain  network performance.

But, he also said there were some caveats, including familiar tradeoffs that come with IPS. "These tradeoffs aren't unique to Cato," he said. "Every vendor that delves into detection and prevention wrestles with analysis, signature development, false positives and false negatives."

Conry-Murray said he still thinks vendors that sell stand-alone security products might feel more pressure as SD-WAN supports more security features.

"As the SD-WAN gateway swallows more functions, it will be harder for other vendors to justify the costs of stand-alone security products," he wrote.

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