Cisco to boost software-defined offering with $610m Viptela acquisition

US networking giant Cisco is putting its hand into its pocket once more to acquire privately-held software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) player Viptela.

Scott Bicheno

May 2, 2017

3 Min Read

US networking giant Cisco is putting its hand into its pocket once more to acquire privately-held software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) player Viptela.

While not on the scale of its recent IoT-focused acquisitions such as Jasper and AppDynamics, $610 million is still a significant chunk of change. This one is all about SD-WAN and the broader migration of everything to do with controlling the network into the cloud.

Most of the virtualization initiatives we hear about concern the cellular network (RAN) but Cisco, which already has a strong position in enterprise communications, wants to be the company that helps businesses keep their WANs up with the times – hence this acquisition. The usual virtualization adjectives apply, such as: agile, flexible, efficient, etc.

“Viptela’s technology is cloud-first, with a focus on simplicity and ease of deployment while simultaneously providing a rich set of capabilities and scale,” said Scott Harrell, SVP of product management for the Cisco Enterprise Networking Group. These principles are what today’s customers demand. With Viptela and Cisco, we will be able to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of comprehensive on-premises, hybrid, and cloud-based SD-WAN solutions.”

Cisco has presumably been keeping an eye on Viptela since it was founded in 2012 as it is run by several former Cisco execs, including CEO Praveen Akkiraju. “Our groundbreaking innovation delivered a single cloud-managed network-fabric that created a secure overlay across MPLS, Broadband, Mobile and Satellite connections,” blogged Akkiraju. “Our differentiation comes from leveraging the scale and simplicity that flow from the design principles of Routing and Cloud technologies which underpin the Viptela Fabric architecture.”

Akkiraju and his colleagues presumably felt unable to create this novel architecture while employed by Cisco and that has ended up costing Cisco a pile of money. But much of the best innovation is done by small, focused startups whose exit strategy is often to cash in via acquisition. You can read farther analysis at Light Reading here.

How have open source groups influenced the development of virtualization in telecoms?

  • They have been essential to the process and it would have failed without them (36%, 77 Votes)

  • They have been positive and helped move things along (31%, 66 Votes)

  • They are just one part of the mix - neither positive nor negative (20%, 43 Votes)

  • They are a drain on resources and actively hinder the process (7%, 15 Votes)

  • It's not always clear what value they add and should be less involved (6%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 213

About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

Get the latest news straight to your inbox.
Register for the newsletter here.

You May Also Like