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The ability to monitor and manage network connections from a centralized dashboard without the need for individual network devices to control traffic via configured routing tables while gaining better visibility into the network is what makes Software Defined Networking (SDN)so highly popular. Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a technology that applies SDN to WAN connections. Today, most enterprises prefer an SDN solution owing to its cloud-first feature. With the acquisition of Viptela, Cisco has made its intentions clear about moving from hardware-based networking to a software-defined approach.

The acquisition of Viptela by Cisco in August of 2017 created quite a flutter in the networking world. Cisco is already a leader in the networking segment, offering SD WAN products in the form of iWAN and Meraki-SD WAN. Still, the company invested around $610 million to acquire the California-based networking start-up, Viptela. With this acquisition, Cisco will get the powerful and robust cloud-first Cisco SD WAN solution of Viptela. In addition, the experienced network engineers of Viptelawill join the Cisco networking team.

Why Cisco acquired Viptela?

There are two important reasons why Cisco acquired Viptela. First, cloud networks are becoming increasingly complex. While being heterogeneous, cloud networks are comprised of a myriad of integrated solutions. Managing these complex networks is a big challenge for IT administrators. As cloud technologies evolve, the complexity of managing them likewise increases. To effectively manage a network, administrators should acquire better visibility into the network operations at the layer 7 application level. So, businesses are looking for a feature-rich SDNsolution that is reliable, secure and simple to use. ViptelaSD-WAN is an enterprise network solution that serves this purpose well.

By acquiring Viptela, Cisco can use vAnalytics that help administrators collect data from SD-WAN and analyze it to identify network and bandwidth issues instantly and make changes accordingly. In addition, administrators can check how each component of an application is performing on the network. If any new network component is installed, administrators can quickly gauge its performance and optimize the network accordingly.

Second, the networking world is moving towards software-defined WAN solutions due to the subscription-based pricing models, increased revenues and centralized management options. According to the Research firm, IDC, the SD-WAN market was valued at $883 million in 2017, recording an impressive 83.3% growth in that year. IDC opines that this rapidly-evolving market will touch $4.5 billion in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 40.4% between 2017 and 2022. According to P&S Market Research, the SD-WAN market earned revenue of $676.9 million in 2017. This value is expected to reach $9,691 million by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 54.1% during the period, 2017-2023.

With the new acquisition, Cisco stands tall in the SDN market as it already offers iWAN and Merika WAN. Cisco iWAN, also called Intelligent WAN, is a powerful WAN management tool that enables administrators to enjoy clear insights into network traffic. It allows you to check network traffic at the layer 7 level, which means you know which application is using the bandwidth and the protocol it runs on. By checking this information, you can segment data between different networking paths. For instance, you can set up policies to automatically route YouTube data through a less expensive connection while routing sensitive company data through an MPLS connection. Moreover, you can optimize WAN traffic to save costs. Performing QoS on layer 7 is clearly a great thing.

Cisco acquired Meraki in 2012. With that acquisition, the company added Meraki WAN, a powerful WAN management tool to its portfolio. Meraki WAN is a comprehensive suite of SD-WAN tools that allow administrators to manage networks from a centralized dashboard. The biggest advantage of Meraki WAN is its simplicity and ease of use. Merika WAN is best suited for small and medium business networks while SD-WAN can manage large and complex enterprise networks. With this new acquisition, it is understood that iWAN is going to disappear in the coming days.