Tag Archives: acquisition

Microsoft scoops up NAS vendor Avere for hybrid cloud services

Microsoft moved to bolster its cloud storage capabilities with the acquisition of NAS vendor Avere Systems, giving it a high-performance file system to manage unstructured data in hybrid clouds.

The Pittsburgh-based NAS vendor Avere’s OS file system is incorporated in FXT Edge filers in all-flash or spinning disk versions for on-premises or hybrid cloud configurations. Avere also provides a virtual appliance, the Virtual FXT Edge filers, which are available for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Google Cloud Platform. 

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Microsoft disclosed the acquisition in a blog post on its website but declined an interview request to provide more details about its plans for the cloud NAS vendor. Microsoft acquired early cloud NAS vendor StorSimple in 2012, and gives that technology to Azure subscribers to tier data into the cloud.

However, Avere CEO Ron Bianchini wrote in a company blog post that the two companies’ “shared vision” is to use Avere technology “in the data center, in the cloud and in hybrid cloud storage …” while tightly integrating it with Azure.

“Avere and Microsoft recognize that there are many ways for enterprises to leverage data center resources and the cloud,” Bianchini wrote. “Our shared vision is to continue our focus on all of Avere’s use cases — in the data center, in the cloud and in hybrid cloud storage and cloud bursting environments. Tighter integration with Azure will result in a much more seamless experience for our customers.”

Avere was founded in 2008 as a company that focused on the data center with its FXT Core Filers that used flash to accelerate network-attached storage (NAS) performance on disk systems. The company later transitioned to the cloud with its Avere FXT Edge Filers that served as NAS public clouds, allowing customers to connect on-premises storage to AWS, Google Cloud and Azure services.

In addition to NFS and SMB protocols, the Avere Cloud NAS appliance supports object storage from IBM Cleversafe, Western Digital, SwiftStack and others through its C2N Cloud-Core NAS platform.

The only other vendor that offers end-to-end is Oracle. But Oracle does not have a global namespace. Avere has a global namespace.
Marc Staimerfounder, Dragon Slayer Consulting

The NAS vendor also sells FlashCloud, which runs on FXT Edge Filers with object APIs to connect to public and private clouds. The systems can be clustered so that cloud-based NAS can scale on premises while also providing high-availability access to data in the cloud. Customers can use FlashCloud software as a file system for object storage and move data to the cloud without requiring a gateway.

“They provide a true NAS filer,” said Marc Staimer, founder of Dragon Slayer Consulting. “They provide a complete, end-to-end package. The only other vendor that offers end-to-end is Oracle. But Oracle does not have a global namespace. Avere has a global namespace.”

Avere founders Bianchini, CTO Michael Kazar and technical director Daniel Nydick came from NetApp, which acquired their previous company Spinnaker Networks in 2004 for its clustered NAS technology.

Some of Avere’s customers include Sony Pictures’ Imageworks, animation studio Illumination Mac Guff, the Library of Congress, Johns Hopkins University and Teradyne Inc. The company is private so it does not disclose revenue, but a source close to the vendor put its bookings at $7 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $22 million for the year. Those bookings were up from $4.8 million in the fourth quarter and $14.5 million in 2015.

In March of 2017, Google became an Avere investor during the company’s $14 million Series E funding round. Avere raised about $100 million in total funding. Previous investors include Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Tenaya Capital and Western Digital Technologies.

The Avere team will continue to work out of its Pittsburgh office for Microsoft.

Level 3-CenturyLink merger could open doors for UC partners

CenturyLink’s $34 billion acquisition of Level 3 Communications is complete, and the two telecom providers have merged under the CenturyLink brand. But questions linger over what will become of Level 3’s unified communications partnerships following the CenturyLink merger.

Level 3, based in Broomfield, Colo., announced a partnership with Amazon in July to offer the Amazon Chime communications service. Amazon chose Level 3 and Vonage to deliver Chime as a managed service with Level 3 targeting medium to large businesses. Level 3 also has UC partnerships with vendors such as AVI-SPL and Unify Square.

CenturyLink, based in Monroe, La., acquired Level 3 to expand its reach in the business communications market and compete against larger providers, such as AT&T and Verizon. UC partnerships could thrive as the Level 3-CenturyLink merger gives partners like Amazon a broader range of customers to target, according to Frost & Sullivan analyst Michael Brandenburg.

However, the CenturyLink merger with Level 3 is still in its early days. CenturyLink will take its time to refine the company’s combined portfolio with as little impact to customers as possible, he said.

CenturyLink is “willing to take on multiple solutions that fit what their customers need or want,” Brandenburg said. “I don’t think they’ll put partnerships in jeopardy at this point.”

RingCentral revenue on the rise

RingCentral’s revenue in the third quarter grew to $129.8 million, a 34% increase from the previous year. RingCentral CEO Vlad Shmunis attributed the results to growth in the unified communications as a service (UCaaS) provider’s midmarket and enterprise business, as well as its channel partners.

RingCentral, based in Belmont, Calif., also saw its software subscription revenue grow 30% year over year to $119.4 million. The vendor’s shares have more than doubled since the start of this year.   

A recent report from Synergy Research Group found that strong adoption was driving the UCaaS market. The report named RingCentral a market share leader based on quarterly revenues and subscriber seats. RingCentral was also named a market leader in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS.

RingCentral has expanded its services this year by introducing new integrations with Google G Suite, Amazon Alexa and Slack, offering expanded coverage in Latin America and adding new quality of service analytics.

Vidyo revamps product portfolio

Vidyo has streamlined its product portfolio under its VidyoCloud platform. VidyoCloud supports two key platforms: VidyoConnect and VidyoEngage, as well as the Vidyo.io platform-as-a-service offering.

VidyoCloud offers a new user interface for a consistent experience across endpoints. It also offers noise suppression to filter background noise such as keyboard tapping. The platform is powered by Vidyo’s new VP9 codec to support real-time video communications.

VidyoConnect is an enterprise meeting service for team collaboration. The service offers a unified experience across endpoints, from mobile devices to conference rooms. The service also offers a hybrid capability to manage video communication traffic within the corporate network.

VidyoEngage enables enterprises and healthcare systems to provide face-to-face video interactions with customers and patients. The service also offers integrations with DocuSign to streamline processes.

VidyoCloud also offers added support for Xamarin and Electron in Vidyo.io to allow app development from a single code base.

New RingCentral app integrations include Google, Slack, Alexa

While Cisco and BroadSoft grabbed the headlines last week with their acquisition news, another unified communications provider showcased its market momentum. RingCentral Inc., a UC-as-a-service vendor based in Belmont, Calif., unveiled several application integrations that fortify its platform and highlight the pervasiveness of open, cloud-based communications.

RingCentral has expanded its API platform that lets developers integrate voice, messaging and fax into business workflows. In today’s multicloud applications environment, RingCentral said its open platform is an ecosystem-friendly approach that can enable business communications with new artificial intelligence, chatbot and app integrations.

For instance, the newly announced RingCentral for Google is a native integration with G Suite. With the add-on service, users can promote an email conversation to a RingCentral call and send SMS from Gmail. Users can also view recent call history, voicemail, SMS and see presence for online or offline status of RingCentral contacts.

Additionally, the new RingCentral for Alexa Skills is an integration with Amazon Alexa-powered devices that lets users interface through voice to request playback and respond to voicemails. Users could also send and check text messages and start a RingCentral outbound call and SMS through the RingCentral app. This integration is expected to be available by the end of this year.

App integrations enable chatbots

Another integration, RingCentral for Slack, is designed to introduce meetings and calling capabilities into the Slack messaging platform. The integration lets Slack users use slash commands to access RingCentral and launch video meetings and audio conferences. The service is available in the RingCentral App Gallery, and it requires a Slack account and subscription to RingCentral Office, the vendor’s cloud phone system.

RingCentral also announced last week updated integrations for its Glip team collaboration tool with AI and chatbot capabilities to automate business processes. For instance, the Salesforce Alert Bot in Glip can capture Salesforce events and send notifications to Glip teams. This feature enables sales managers to have immediate updates on opportunities without having to open Salesforce in a separate application. The bot is expected to be available in early 2018.

Kore.ai, a chatbot platform partner of RingCentral, has enabled four bots within the Glip platform, including Salesforce, Twitter, Asana and Trello. Gong.io, a conversation intelligence platform for sales teams, provides call transcription and analytics within the Glip platform, so teams can replicate best sales practices.

RingCentral’s platform enhances business communications through an integrated and pervasive approach, said David Lee, RingCentral’s vice president of platform products, in a statement. The RingCentral App Gallery has more than 7,000 developers and over 100 cloud app integrations.

Open APIs benefit communications

While the RingCentral integrations are important, many other UC-as-a-service (UCaaS) platforms are also fairly open, as they move to an API model, said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research in Westminster, Mass. App integrations are almost becoming a mandatory feature in the market, he added.

Many vendors, for instance, integrate with Salesforce, the popular cloud-based customer relationship management platform. But Kerravala suggested customers consider additional app integrations beyond the most common ones, especially integrations that could benefit certain vertical markets or business units.   

“Now that every vendor has exposed APIs, it makes it much easier to integrate with them,” he said. “I think that’s been one of the big benefits of the industry.”

RingCentral, in particular, has the most mature UCaaS platform, plus a team messaging service with Glip, industry analyst Dave Michels wrote in a recent report. But several providers are nipping at RingCentral’s heels.

“RingCentral is firing on all cylinders — UCaaS, messaging, video, contact center and integrations,” Michels said. “They are in the enviable position of delivering today what most of the industry is attempting to create.”

A supply and demand problem

We’ve got too many UCaaS providers today. There’s too much supply and not enough demand. Some consolidation is necessary.
Zeus Kerravalaanalyst at ZK Research

The UCaaS market is particularly packed with providers, including 8×8, West, Fuze, Mitel and Masergy, among others. Traditional telecom vendors, like AT&T, are also in the UCaaS market. System integrators, like Dimension Data, sell UCaaS tools. And traditional UC vendors, like Cisco and Microsoft, offer their respective UCaaS products.    

“We’ve got too many UCaaS providers today,” Kerravala said. “I think there’s too much supply and not enough demand. Some consolidation is necessary.” 

Some consolidation occurred last week when Cisco said it will acquire BroadSoft, a deal that validates the market’s strength, Michels said. Industry consolidation will continue, he added, as UCaaS alone is increasingly viewed as a commoditized service.

For now, Kerravala added, the acquisition will have a neutral effect on RingCentral and other providers, because small and midsize businesses primarily buy UCaaS products. But that effect could turn negative for RingCentral and benefit Cisco as more large organizations start to buy UCaaS.  

Go beyond calling capabilities

Users navigating this market need to understand what exactly they are buying, Kerravala said. Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution, for instance, is a private cloud offering sold to service providers that then offer it to their customers.

RingCentral, meanwhile, is more of a multi-tenant public cloud, where one change to the service can affect many customers.

The first thing customers need to do is not jump on board cloud just to do cloud, but to understand what they want and why.
Zeus Kerravalaanalyst at ZK Research

A private cloud offers more customization, but might require more upfront work, Kerravala said. Highly distributed and regulated companies with data sovereignty issues might prefer a private cloud. Big retailers, however, might favor a public cloud if they need to get telephony out to thousands of stores.

“The first thing customers need to do is not jump on board cloud just to do cloud, but to understand what they want and why,” Kerravala said.

After that initial step, organizations should compare UCaaS vendors more closely. While the calling capabilities and audio quality are quite comparable among the vendors, customers should dig deeper and examine other services, such as team messaging and mobility.

“Looking at the services outside the core calling is probably the most important criteria for determining which of these many vendors you want to go with,” Kerravala said.

Cisco UCaaS gets more complicated with BroadSoft buy

After it completes the $1.9 billion acquisition of BroadSoft, Cisco will have to sort through many overlapping products to deliver a cohesive UCaaS portfolio.

This week, Cisco announced plans to acquire BroadSoft in the first quarter of 2018. BroadSoft would bring to Cisco a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platform licensed to many large service providers. The latter then sell the service to mostly small and medium-sized businesses.

Once Cisco completes the acquisition, it will control two products, BroadWorks and BroadCloud, that duplicate what the company delivers through Spark, WebEx, Unified Communications Manager and a UCaaS product called Hosted Collaboration Solution. Like the BroadSoft products, Cisco UCaaS provides voice calling, video conferencing, team collaboration and UC features for contact centers.

The duplication within the combined portfolios creates uncertainty over which products will survive, which makes users nervous.

“The big question is whether Cisco continues to maintain separate platforms — even if there’s some competition between them — harmonizes the product line down the road, or develops integrations that would, for example, allow a service provider using BroadWorks or BroadCloud to integrate with Spark,” said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

Cisco downplays product overlap

Cisco has said the product overlap isn’t a problem because BroadSoft serves mostly SMBs, while Cisco focuses on large and medium-sized enterprises. Cisco, however, will have to merge those technologies to meet its goal of creating a “full-stack cloud collaboration offer to the entire market.”

During a conference call with financial analysts, Rowan Trollope, the general manager of Cisco’s internet of things and applications group, said some integrations are likely. They include using BroadSoft’s cloud-based PBX across Cisco’s UCaaS products, including Spark.

“Ultimately, what we will deliver to the market is a single, cloud-calling capability,” Trollope said.

Also, Cisco is likely to integrate WebEx, the company’s video conferencing software for online meetings, with BroadSoft products, Trollope said.

Cisco UCaaS faces service provider dilemma

Along with cleaning up a messy joint portfolio, Cisco will have to devise a strategy for selling UCaaS to enterprises without competing with BroadSoft’s service providers. Cisco has said it wants to help BroadSoft customers reach larger companies.

How Cisco will avoid competing with service providers is not clear, but the company insists it can keep everyone happy. “We’re not intending to compete directly with our service providers, but to broaden the offerings that we bring to that channel,” Trollope said.

While Cisco navigates touchy BroadSoft customers, smaller competitors without that headache are sure to add competitive pressure in the SMB market. Those UCaaS providers include 8×8 Inc., RingCentral Inc. and Vonage.

Meanwhile, Cisco’s biggest competitor, Microsoft, will continue building out Teams, which the company is developing into its flagship UCaaS offering within Office 365, the cloud-based suite of workplace applications.

Office 365 has 100 million monthly commercial users who have the option of turning on Teams at any time. BroadSoft’s UCaaS platform has 19 million business users.

As a technology, UCaaS has matured to the point where it has capabilities that exceed on-premises UC, according to Gartner. As a result, enterprises are starting to move more communications to the cloud.

The UCaaS market is growing 29% annually, according to Synergy Research Group, based in Reno, Nev. In its latest report, Synergy said the market is generating more than $400 million per quarter and will soon reach $2 billion in revenue annually.

For Sale – Macbook 12″ Gold: 1.1GHz Core m3, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM – As New Condition

Selling my wife’s MacBook 12″ as it is sitting unused due to acquisition of larger MacBook Pro.

I bought this in-store from the Apple Store in July 2016, so it is the mid-April 2016 onward model (M3-6Y30), with the following spec:

12″ Macbook
Gold Colour (not Rose Gold)
CPU 1.1 GHz Core m3
8 GB RAM
256GB SSD

It also comes with an extremely useful, matching gold HDMI/USB/Lighting hub adapter.

As mentioned, this has been used very, very little over the past year – I would estimate 100-200 hours in total! It is in 100% mint condition, with no scratches, scrapes, marks at all on front, back or inside. It’s a great looking little notebook, which I am sure the new owner will enjoy.

As per photos, it comes complete with all original packaging, accessories, documentation and the hub. I have properly formatted and re-initialised it so that it is all ready to go. It was never registered with any online Apple services either, so this may be beneficial to new owner.

I would be very happy for buyer to see/collect in person, or can arrange for safe/secure courier delivery at an agreed cost.

Asking £780 ono

Price and currency: 780 ono
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer or Cash on Collection
Location: Aberdeen
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Macbook 12″ Gold: 1.1GHz Core m3, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM – As New Condition

Selling my wife’s MacBook 12″ as it is sitting unused due to acquisition of larger MacBook Pro.

I bought this in-store from the Apple Store in July 2016, so it is the mid-April 2016 onward model (M3-6Y30), with the following spec:

12″ Macbook
Gold Colour (not Rose Gold)
CPU 1.1 GHz Core m3
8 GB RAM
256GB SSD

It also comes with an extremely useful, matching gold HDMI/USB/Lighting hub adapter.

As mentioned, this has been used very, very little over the past year – I would estimate 100-200 hours in total! It is in 100% mint condition, with no scratches, scrapes, marks at all on front, back or inside. It’s a great looking little notebook, which I am sure the new owner will enjoy.

As per photos, it comes complete with all original packaging, accessories, documentation and the hub. I have properly formatted and re-initialised it so that it is all ready to go. It was never registered with any online Apple services either, so this may be beneficial to new owner.

I would be very happy for buyer to see/collect in person, or can arrange for safe/secure courier delivery at an agreed cost.

Asking £780 ono

Price and currency: 780 ono
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer or Cash on Collection
Location: Aberdeen
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Cisco acquisition of Viptela could mean IWAN is dying — or dead

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.

ShoreTel acquisition boosts Mitel’s CPaaS, SMB portfolio

Unified communications analysts have hailed Mitel’s $430 million ShoreTel acquisition as a smart move that will combine complementary portfolios and benefit small and midsize businesses.

Analysts recently blogged about the Mitel-ShoreTel deal, which was announced in late July. The combined company could become a “champion of small and midsize businesses in a way that competitors are not” and offer a solid alternative to Avaya, Cisco and Microsoft, according to Robin Gareiss, Nemertes Research president.

Gareiss wrote that ShoreTel’s operating costs for IP telephony and unified communications (UC) have traditionally been one of the lowest among UC providers for small and midsize businesses. With the ShoreTel acquisition, Mitel can reduce its own operating costs by learning from the simplicity of ShoreTel’s engineering.

ShoreTel customers have given the vendor high marks for its technology, value and customer service. However, ShoreTel’s ratings have declined this year, according to Gareiss. She said Mitel must examine what issues caused the decline among customers and address them immediately.

Bringing together complementary portfolios

CPaaS is a growing market and presenting competitive challenges to UCaaS solutions.
Elka Popovaanalyst, Frost & Sullivan

The two companies are also complementary in terms of channel, verticals and geography. According to Mitel, there is little channel overlap between the two companies.

ShoreTel has strengths in verticals such as healthcare and education and has a strong U.S. user base on the west coast and northeast. Mitel, on the other hand, is stronger in the hospitality and retail verticals and in southwestern and central U.S., according to ZK Research analyst Zeus Kerravala.

Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofsky said he was curious to see how the two companies will combine their portfolios. Both companies offer collaboration software that blend call center, voice over IP, web conferencing and team messaging.

ShoreTel acquisition brings Mitel to CPaaS space

With the ShoreTel acquisition, Mitel also gains a foothold in communications platform as a service (CPaaS). Mitel has lacked a CPaaS offering, but will gain one through ShoreTel’s Summit platform. ShoreTel acquired the CPaaS platform after buying its developer, Corvisa, in January 2016.

The Summit platform will give Mitel opportunities to expand its communications portfolio and offer cloud and on-premises customers tailored services, Frost & Sullivan analyst Elka Popova wrote in a blog.

“CPaaS is a growing market and presenting competitive challenges to UCaaS solutions,” she said. CPaaS, however, also enables UC providers to provide a more holistic approach to their communications services.

Kerravala said as digital transformation becomes the norm for organizations, communications infrastructure needs to be programmable, and having a strong API platform is key to success for UC vendors.

The future of Viptela SD-WAN under Cisco

Cisco’s $610 million acquisition of software-defined WAN vendor Viptela marks the beginning of the end for Cisco IWAN — a competing product that fell short of traction in the SD-WAN market, industry experts said. Also, Cisco is likely to eventually toss the vEdge appliance that runs the Viptela SD-WAN today and deliver the product as a virtual network function that will make the underlying hardware less relevant.

Last week, Cisco said it completed the purchase of Viptela, but provided no details on the product’s roadmap. However, a close review of Cisco’s overall networking software portfolio offers hints of the direction the company is likely to take the former startup’s technology.

Cisco IWAN will fade away

Maybe not today, tomorrow or two years from now, but IWAN is probably going to go away once enough customers have migrated from it to Viptela.
Shamus McGillicuddyanalyst at Enterprise Management Associates

First is the slow death of Intelligent WAN, or IWAN. Cisco has said it would continue “to invest in the roadmap of IWAN,” but analysts mostly agreed that the SD-WAN product, which many companies complained was too complicated, would be phased out over time.

“Maybe not today, tomorrow or two years from now, but IWAN is probably going to go away once enough customers have migrated from it to Viptela,” said Shamus McGillicuddy, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates Inc., based in Boulder, Colo. “Complaints about IWAN are out there for everyone to see. It wasn’t a great success.”

Viptela SD-WAN under Cisco

Industry observers believe Cisco has learned from IWAN’s failure and will apply those teachings to how it delivers Viptela’s product. Today, an enterprise would choose one of three Viptela vEdge routers running the SD-WAN software. In the future, Cisco will likely offer the software as a virtual network function (VNF) that provides more options for the underlying hardware.

“It’s hard for me to speculate on how they will integrate their technologies, but in the long term, I would not be surprised if [Viptela] becomes a VNF,” said Dan Conde, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., based in Milford, Mass. “I think the goal is for Cisco to offer a general platform for network functions for their own and third-party VNFs.”

Turning the Viptela SD-WAN into a VNF would make it a component in Cisco’s Enterprise Network Functions Virtualization architecture for delivering software-based network services to the branch office. ENFV includes a Linux-based hypervisor for running VNFs as service-delivering virtual network appliances. Services Cisco provides today through the ENFV platform include firewalls, routing and WAN acceleration.

Viptela SD-WAN hardware options

As the hardware host for ENFV, Cisco offers its Unified Computing System E-Series Server or the 5000 Series Enterprise Network Compute System. Companies that need less horsepower could run VNFs on the hypervisor within Cisco’s Integrated Services Router.

Cisco has said it would let third-party VNFs run on the ENFV platform, but has remained silent on whether it would let other companies supply the hardware. Andrew Froehlich, president of the network consultancy West Gate Networks in Loveland, Colo., said he expects Cisco to bundle the Viptela SD-WAN with the company’s IOS network operating system and deliver it as a virtual machine instance that can run on any virtualized hardware in a private data center or public cloud.

Tying the software to proprietary hardware would make Cisco less competitive in the SD-WAN market, Froehlich said.

“Most in the industry would almost universally tell you that this would be a terrible move for Cisco,” he said. “And I have to believe that the people responsible for shaping the direction of Cisco’s future know this better than anyone.”

Cisco bought Viptela to provide the technology it needed to grab a bigger slice of the fast-growing SD-WAN market, which, in turn, could help the company reduce its dependency on declining network hardware sales.

Cisco is gradually shifting more of its business to software-based security and networking. By July 2020, software will account for more than 30% of revenue, compared to 22% this year, according to projections released this summer by the company at the Cisco Live conference.