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Viptela Names Ex-Cisco Exec as New CEO

Ray Le Maistre
1/12/2017
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SD-WAN specialist Viptela has appointed Praveen Akkiraju, an executive with some serious routing and cloud chops, as its new CEO, replacing founder Amir Khan, who becomes the company's president.

Akkiraju spent nearly 20 years (1993-2012) at Cisco, where he held a number of roles, including senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Services Routing Technology Group. He then became CEO at VCE, the cloud infrastructure business set up by Cisco, EMC and VMware, from July 2012 to April 2016. (The VCE business was swallowed up by the merger of Dell and EMC.) (See Cisco & EMC's VCE Gets a CEO.)

According to his LinkedIn account, Akkiraju has been an "advisor" at Viptela since November last year.

Now he's taken on the top executive job at Viptela, where he'll be locking horns with former Cisco colleague Kelly Ahuja, who took the CEO role at rival SD-WAN vendor Versa Networks last November. (See Ahuja's Next Chapter Is Versa.)

In the Viptela Hot Seat
Praveen Akkiraju is the new CEO at SD-WAN solution specialist Viptela.
Praveen Akkiraju is the new CEO at SD-WAN solution specialist Viptela.

The aim of both Akkiraju and Ahuja will be to land the biggest slice of the SD-WAN technology market, which is gaining significant traction as network operators invest in SD-WAN capabilities and launch services: Analysts at IDC expect the market for SD-WAN services to be worth more than $6 billion in 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 90% during the 2015-2020 period.

Viptela already has some major network operator customers under its belt, including Verizon, SingTel and more recently Pakistan's PTCL. (See Verizon's Next With VNFs and SingTel Teams With Viptela on SDN-Based Service.)

And the company has received significant funding, raising a $75 million Series C round in May 2016 to take its total funding to almost $110 million. Its investors include Redline Capital, Northgate Capital and Sequoia Capital.


Want to know more about the companies, people and organizations driving developments in the virtualization sector? Check out Virtuapedia, the most comprehensive online resource covering the virtualization industry.


Of course, there's plenty of competition to land the SD-WAN technology deals that are being handed out by network operators and enterprises: In addition to Viptela and Versa, the likes of ADVA, Cisco, CloudGenix, Cradlepoint, Nokia's Nuage Networks, Riverbed, Silver Peak, VeloCloud and more are offering SD-WAN solutions in what is one of the hottest markets in 2017. (See Getting Hotter: Fog, LTE-A Pro, MANO, NB-IoT & SD-WAN and SD-WAN Boom Coming in Next 2 Years.)

For more, see:

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
1/12/2017 | 12:56:07 PM
Consolidation
At a recent LR event, service providers and vendors talked about how SD-WAN is likely to be part of a portfolio of services offered by SPs to enterprise customers. That suggest SD-WAN specialist vendors are likely to be acquired or outcompeted by vendors offering a full portfolio of technologies. 
mrobuck
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mrobuck,
User Rank: Moderator
1/12/2017 | 11:28:55 AM
SD-WAN winners?
No doubt a heavy hitter win for Viptela. It will be interesting to see if the companies that started out with routers, such as Cisco, or cloud-based SD-WAN vendors emerge as the winners. It does seem as though some service providers are hedging their bets by having both for now. 

Despite how hot SD-WAN is right now, Orange's John Isch said we can expect some consolidation in this space. 
Ray@LR
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Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
1/12/2017 | 11:27:25 AM
Reminding me of the SBS/VoIP networking boom
The SD-WAN bom is reminding me of the way that multiple companies sprang up and/or evolved their portfolios in the early years of the 2000s to get in on the session border controller and other VoIP infrasructre niches - VC money flowed in and folks with major IP vendor backgrounds showed up as CEOs.

And of course there's a good chance that, just like those markets, the consolidation phase will be swift and brutal. 
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