Palo Alto Networks Focuses On SD-WAN Post CloudGenix Buy

‘The appetite from our partner community to embed this into their portfolio has been through the roof. There’s a need for it in the market,’ says Palo Alto Networks global channel chief Karl Soderlund.


Palo Alto Networks has debuted two new SD-WAN appliances, machine learning and analytics capabilities and an integration with Prisma Access to cement its leadership position.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based platform security vendor said the enhancement builds on the $420 million acquisition of CloudGenix announced in March and should help customers eliminate up to 99 percent of their WAN and application access trouble tickets. The integration with Prisma Access, meanwhile, will allow branches to be rolled out in minutes rather than months by leveraging the power of the cloud.

“The appetite from our partner community to embed this into their portfolio has been through the roof,” said Karl Soderlund, Palo Alto Networks’ senior vice president of worldwide channel sales. “There’s a need for it in the market.”

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[Related: 10 Things To Know About The $420M Palo Alto Networks-CloudGenix Deal]

Palo Alto Networks is rolling out two new SD-WAN appliances as part of the launch: The CloudGenix ION 1000 for retail and small offices/home offices; and the CloudGenix ION 9000 for large campus locations. The ION 1000 has a list price of $490, a smaller footprint than the company’s current appliance portfolio and ensures security policies are consistently applied from the headquarters to branch or home offices.

Meanwhile, the ION 9000 has a list price of $10,000, and delivers twice the performance of the company’s current ION 7000 series, said Anand Oswal, senior vice president of product management and engineering for firewall as a platform. The appliance is future-proofed and supports multi-gigabit throughout and “fail to wire” high availability capability to mitigate the effects of physical WAN outages.

From a machine learning standpoint, Oswal said Palo Alto Networks will be collecting data from all sorts of control points in the network and looking at real user data flowing through the systems to identity root cause events and dramatically reduce the time to resolution. By automating the resolution wherever possible, Oswal said users will be able to focus their time on higher-value activities.

Capacity planning can also be made easier with machine learning since a single root cause event can lead to multiple alarms, and Oswal said pinpointing exactly what the problem is can help streamline manual work. And from an analytics standpoint, new capabilities allow operators to understand what WAN connections they’re using, when they’re using them, and what applications are driving that use.

And Oswal said the seamless integration of Prisma Access’ cloud-delivered security with CloudGenix’s SD-WAN has made it possible for customers to automatically onboard CloudGenix devices onto the Prisma fabric without the need for more hardware or software controls. The CloudGenix CloudBlades platform allows services like Prisma Access to be integrated using a cloud-hosted API architecture.

From a channel perspective, Soderlund said the CloudGenix offering presents solution providers with an opportunity to move into a market that will be worth $4 billion two years from now. The Palo Alto Networks and CloudGenix partner communities had very little overlap, so Soderlund said their SD-WAN technology represented a greenfield opportunity for many Palo Alto Networks solution providers.

Many Palo Alto Networks partners started in the networking space and expanded into security, meaning that CloudGenix and Prisma Access are very much within their comfort zone since they have the same customer base and consumption model. Partners can deliver implementation and lifecycle management services around SD-WAN, and Soderlund said there will be upcoming opportunities specifically for MSPs.

Prior to the acquisition of CloudGenix, Palo Alto Networks could address the security needs around SD-WAN but had to leverage third-party partnerships to fulfill the network transport requirements, according to Optiv Chief Technology Officer Todd Weber. But now, Weber said Palo Alto Networks is able to provide the full SD-WAN suite using their own technology.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Weber said SD-WAN has been extremely helpful at providing remote users with access to security controls outside their home without experiencing any performance degradation. Weber specifically praised Palo Alto Networks for rolling out SD-WAN appliances that help ensure posture and trust for users, application and assets in both corporate and BYOD environments.

“It’s great that they’re going to be addressing both the corporate situation as well as home users,” Weber said. “Not many people are back to the office yet.”