Cisco completed the acquisition of Viptela this week and the blog post on the announcement makes interesting tea leaf reading.
I think this is the key section:
Cisco is committed to offering the broadest range of SD-WAN solutions to our customers. Selecting the right solution is based on understanding our customers’ needs and goals. With that in mind, we’ll provide our customers with the following options:
- 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.
- For customers looking for unified threat management (UTM) solutions with SD-WAN functionality or are existing Cisco Meraki customers looking to expand to SD-WAN then Cisco Meraki is the recommended solution.
- For customers of Cisco’s IWAN solution, we will continue to invest in the roadmap of IWAN and support customers on Cisco’s IWAN solution. As new unified offers are made available with Viptela’s technology incorporated in the ISR and ASRs, customers will be able to migrate to the new unified solution as needed or desired.
Here is what I read into this:
- Cisco intends lead with Viptela SD-WAN which implies that IWAN is dead. This is because IWAN cannot do ‘cloud’ which Cisco has proposed shareholders that it will do in the form of recurring revenues like Meraki.
- Cisco is forking the Enterprise WAN into two markets. Meraki for simple & SME, and Viptela for complex, large deployments.
- Although “we will continue to invest in the roadmap of IWAN and support” I believe this is double-speak for IWAN is deprecated. Why ? Because this section is “customers will be able to migrate to the new unified solution” suggests that people should migrate. (I’ve heard a overwhelming number of horror stories about IWAN and very few successes.)
The internal politics inside Cisco’s organisation is a complex game-of-thrones between warring fiefdoms. Incentives may be poorly aligned to customer needs and executives are often generously rewarded for making mistakes. Viptela demonstrated that they have a product that customers want and many people saw it as a threat to Cisco’s core WAN routing business.
Slow To Change
What concerns me is that there are large numbers of people whose financial bonuses depend on the survival of IOS and the legacy mode of CLI, non-cloud operation represented by IWAN and Prime. Highly motivated and bright teams of people are incentivised to continue to develop, promote and sell the legacy mode of IOS operation.
Management will call this “giving customers what they ask for” and its worth appreciating a supplier that wants to supply obsolete technology in the long term. At the same time, it prevents customers and Cisco from moving forward quickly.
This strategy leaves a substantial gap for competitors to attack the IOS customer base, sell modern products that offer better features and pricing.
Link: Accelerating our vision with Viptela – https://blogs.cisco.com/news/accelerating-our-vision