Ahead Of Acquisition By VMware, VeloCloud Challenges Cisco By Aiming For Outcomes, Not Intents, With New SD-WAN Offering

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"We've fully integrated the APIs into our portal, so our customers have full visibility and control over their SD-WAN," Frane said. "The challenge with SD-WAN is getting it to play well with everything the customer already has. This really lets you set those expectations for the outcome you want and let the technology do the work for you. SD-WAN is far and away the fastest product I've seen customers want to adopt, and the dynamic nature of outcome-driven is really taking the market by storm. It's not an insurance policy anymore. It really solves business problems every day."

Cisco did not respond to a request for comment before press time.

VMware intends to make VeloCloud a key component of its NSX network virtualization business, and the companies have a sweeping vision for the future of the networking market, Wood said. "Right now for every SD-WAN vendor, there's a demarcation point between the data center and the WAN. With VMware, we will abolish that demarcation point," he said. "These types of models will be more of a seamless integration and connection not only across the WAN but extending into the data center, whether it's private, hybrid or public. Eventually, there will be a ubiquitous system available."

Outcome-Based Networking eliminates manual programming and configuration and automates deployment based on users' stated business outcomes, like retailers' need to separate and secure customers' credit card information or an enterprise's need to improve call center voice quality. Those outcomes are applied and visible across the network, whether on-premises or in the cloud. The system is also self-learning and provides analytics and predictive insights, the company said.

"IT can click on the outcome they want to achieve, and that can be propagated to the entire network, and have everything configured automatically," Wood said.

VeloCloud partners will get instant access to Outcome-Driven Networking, and the company is encouraging solution providers to get it in front of customers as soon as possible. While there aren't any new incentives attached to the product itself, Wood said the system allows partners to operate more efficiently and close more deals.

"They will be able to address more of the problem set that their customers have," Wood said. "If they were winning seven out of 10 deals, that will probably go to eight or nine. This will dramatically improve their operations and their profitability mainly because they'll be able to move on to the next deal. They won't spend as much time designing and architecting, and they won't spend as much time deploying and troubleshooting systems. They're actually going to be able to win more deals per month than they did before mainly because they're going to be able to move on. They won't stay with the customer for a couple of days helping them to learn more about the system. They'll be able to move on."

Cisco is now leaning heavily on its intent-based networking initiative to pull the company out of the world of expensive, proprietary hardware-based networking and into the burgeoning software-defined market.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said recently that more than 1,100 customers had adopted the company's Catalyst 9000 switch, which is the foundation of its "Network Intuitive" intent-based networking initiative.

For now, Cisco may have an advantage in the rapidly developing market for software-defined networking solutions, said Chris Bottger, vice president at AVI-SPL, a Billerica, Mass., solution provider that works with Cisco.

"There are many companies that are racing toward automating the network like VeloCloud, and as a result of that there is a lot of complexity, and that provides opportunities for partners.," he said. "The key is can you integrate end-to-end with differentiated services that enable partners to make money and deliver better customer experiences? I think that is where Cisco has the upper hand in its architecture and approach across the spectrum."

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