Cisco + Viptela: Where is the WAN?


Where’s the Beef?
In the era where hamburgers were all about the bun and very little about meat, Wendy’s ran a memorable campaign called, “Where’s the Beef?”

The point? The real benefit of the hamburger is the meat, not the bun – and Wendy’s was taking on the problem of customer satisfaction, not by bringing in fancier buns, but beefing up their patties.

While SD-WANs are not yet as popular as hamburgers, they’re becoming a mainstay in the IT networking landscape. A rapidly increasing number of enterprises are deploying SD-WAN worldwide, recognizing its benefits, such as its ability to connect enterprises to the cloud, savings in cost, reduced complexity, and faster deployment.

For an example of this, check out Volex’s global SD-WAN Success Story.

Independent analysts and research firms are already aware of the growth potential of this market, suggesting that the SD-WAN market value could reach into the billions by 2020.

Cisco Acquires Viptela
The news earlier this week that Cisco is buying SD-WAN provider Viptela for $610 million further raises the profile of SD-WAN technology and points to the urgency to move to next-generation, cloud-focused networking technologies.

By acquiring Viptela’s technology, Cisco is trying to become relevant again by closing the gap in their own solution – a gap that Cisco has been trying to close for years.

Viptela’s solution will now be a part of Cisco’s feature-set, which leaves open many questions about what functionalities will rule the day. Cisco and Viptela’s customers, respectively, are now entering a period of “wait and see,” as Cisco decides how, when, and which features will be phased out or in.

Big-Box Gobbling Up Small-Box?
But will the Viptela acquisition solve all the pain points for the modern WAN?

Probably not.


While the WAN edge is going through a major transformation, and the Viptela acquisition helps significantly in simplifying deployment, streamlining operations at the branch, and cutting costs, this combo of Cisco + Viptela ignores the elephant in the room: MPLS.

Both Cisco and Viptela rely on MPLS, which is rapidly becoming a legacy technology, because it fails in the areas of cloud connectivity, rapid deployments, and reducing complexity.

Internet is not a suitable transport for mission- and business-critical applications that are time-sensitive, especially in global deployments. Hence, combining MPLS + public Internet in the form of an SD-WAN, does not solve the challenges of global enterprises.

Without re-inventing the global WAN itself, there are three major challenges that the combined Cisco-Viptela solution will not be able to address:

  • Global Connectivity Challenges: The Viptela and Cisco hookup lacks a global network that can connect sites and cloud providers around the world. Many of the Viptela success stories revolve around a heavy reliance on MPLS — installing or using existing MPLS connections on the network. MPLS has its own challenges – it’s expensive, time-consuming to deploy, and if you have a global WAN, it can result in a vendor management nightmare, as you might have to manage multiple MPLS providers.
  • Global Application Performance Challenges: If you don’t control the network, you can’t control the performance of either on-premises or cloud/SaaS applications. Edge-based SD-WAN appliances like Viptela combine MPLS and the public Internet to simplify network operations and reduce costs. And since none of these connectivity options address performance for mission-critical and business-critical applications deployed globally, combining them doesn’t address it either. Cloud and SaaS application performance suffers the most.
  • Global Deployment Challenges: Whenever MPLS is involved, there is a challenge of service delivery. MPLS networks take months to configure through service providers. Further, you must deploy, pay for, manage, and maintain edge-based SD-WAN appliances and WAN Optimization hardware separately at each location – adding complexity, costs and delays.

So… Where’s the WAN?
The key ingredient required to address global connectivity, application performance, and deployment challenges – a global private WAN – is still missing from a combined Cisco/Viptela solution.

Wendy’s addressed the hamburger challenge by beefing up their patties – and Aryaka is doing the same by beefing up the WAN.

Aryaka has designed a solution that is yet to be imitated. It created a global private network that can be delivered “as-a-service” – which means that, unlike the Cisco/Viptela pairing, Aryaka is a consume, not a construct, model.


In order to aid the ease of consumption, Aryaka’s global SD-WAN is the only SD-WAN that includes a global private WAN. Aryaka has 28 points of presence (POPs) across six continents, each less than 30 milliseconds away from 95% of the world’s business users. These POPs are interconnected by a backbone of private network connections delivered by top service providers.

Enterprises use the Internet for last-mile connectivity to Aryaka, but Aryaka’s global backbone delivers network transport that is far superior to the Internet and MPLS, in addition to providing built-in cloud and SaaS connectivity.

For Aryaka, delivering a global network-as-a-service means abstracting connectivity from a secure private WAN into the cloud – so it’s as simple as connecting to the network, because we have already done the work of deploying the infrastructure. There’s no CapEx, and you can deploy in days, if not hours. You can learn more about the specifics of how we deliver the network on the Packet Pushers podcast.

SD-WAN is layered into Aryaka’s network, along with WAN Optimization, and the network itself retains MPLS-grade reliability, security, and QoS – in addition to layering in private connectivity to all third-party cloud platforms, like AWS and Azure, and SaaS applications, from Salesforce to industry-specific ERPs. This enables Aryaka’s global SD-WAN solution to offer faster performance for mission-critical, time-sensitive applications over global WANs.

Thus, Aryaka’s global SD-WAN solves global connectivity, WAN performance, application performance, and deployment challenges. But most importantly, it puts control into the hands of the enterprise and not a box vendor.

If you’re looking for a network experience that gives you one provider, one management service, and one bill all the way to the edge, along with faster application performance anywhere in the world, we’d invite you to try a proof of concept with Aryaka today.

About the author

Gary Sevounts
Gary Sevounts

Gary Sevounts is the Chief Marketing Officer at Aryaka Networks, and is responsible for Aryaka’s global marketing efforts. He has extensive experience with software and SaaS products in the IT infrastructure and security space, as well as marketing and sales technology, having held marketing and product management leadership roles with a number of industry leaders.