Is the End Near for Cisco's IWAN?

Cisco denies it's giving up on IWAN. Prashanth Shenoy, the company's vice president of marketing for enterprise networks, says there's no end-of-life or end-of-sale planned for IWAN and that the company aims to integrate Viptela by the end of June 2018.

"Both of our solutions -- the IWAN solution and the Viptela solution -- are open platforms with open APIs, so it's very easy to integrate at the hardware level the vEdge software, which is the gateway for Viptela, into our ISR 4K," he says.

Initially, Cisco will provide the Viptela platform "as is" to new SD-WAN customers. IWAN customers will have the option to be phased into Viptela via an ISR 4000 software upgrade, says Shenoy. The next phase would involve integrating Viptela's cloud management and orchestration, called vManage, solution into Cisco's DNA Center. (See Cisco Rewrites Enterprise Networking DNA in 'Monumental Shift'.)

In response to whether the Viptela acquisition means an end to IWAN, analyst Ray Mota of ACG Research , says "There is some truth to that, but realize: It's going to be a phased approach, and there are some good things in the IWAN product. What Cisco is going to do is identify where those strong features are and where there's scalability and security, and they'll try and combine certain features into Viptela."

Mota says while Cisco talks about morphing into a software company, it's not as much about software as it is about providing a subscription-based service with a more predictable revenue stream. (See Cisco's Robbins: With IoT & Cloud, Services Beat Products.)

"Viptela -- when you look at it from at least a strategy perspective -- they kind of have a cloud-first mentality," including a subscription-based service, says Mota. Cisco will favor that model over the perpetual license that IWAN is sold under, he says. "It's not really that all the things of IWAN will go away. There will be things that will be integrated into the Viptela product as well."

Eventually, there will likely be a re-branding of IWAN, like Cisco did with Meraki, says Mota. Cisco has approached some very complex networks with IWAN, he adds, and if you wanted a hybrid environment, IWAN made sense.

"Even if you say IWAN is shutting down, there are still going to be some assets there that are going to be used," he says.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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