January 22, 2020
With its acquisition of network operations startup Nyansa, VWware is looking to extend its SD-WAN operations, optimization and troubleshooting capabilities into the LAN (local area network) and help service providers bolster their enterprise business.
VMware announced plans to acquire Nyansa, a Silicon Valley startup, on Tuesday. The deal is set to close during VMware's first fiscal quarter, which ends April 30.
Nyansa has developed LAN tools for providing performance analytics, optimization, troubleshooting and network optimization; eliminating device performance blind spots; and enabling network planning, architecture and validation. Customers include healthcare providers, retail, manufacturing and public venues, including lululemon, Uber, Duke and Stanford Universities, Tesla and Nvidia.
The VMware deal pulls Nyansa's capabilities into the market for service providers offering SD-WAN as a managed service, says Steve Woo, senior director, product management, for the VMware VeloCloud business unit.
VMware's existing SD-WAN services, based on its 2017 acquisition of VeloCloud, provides troubleshooting and optimization on the wide area network; Nyansa will extend those services to the LAN, says Woo, who co-founded VeloCloud. VMware previously offered optimization services in the data center as well, through its vRealize Network Insight (VRNI).
Learn more about how SD-WAN is transforming service providers at Light Reading's SD-WAN content channel.
VMware could accomplish LAN optimization by delivering its own WiFi access point hardware, says Woo. But the better approach is to provide optimization as an overlay, as Nyansa does, and as VMWare has done in SD-WAN. Nyansa supports a variety of vendors, including Cisco, Palo Alto, Fortinet and Aruba.
As part of Nyansa's service, the company offers natural language recommendations, explaining in plain language how to remediate network problems that arise.
"If your car stopped running on the highway, you know it stopped running but you don't know why," GT Hill, Nyansa director of technology and product marketing, told us in 2016. The company's Voyance+ service finds cloud application performance problems, flags problems for attention, and recommends remediation in plain English, the company claimed at the time.
VMWare's competition is "the usual suspects," Woo notes. These include: Cisco; Arista, which acquired Mojo Networks in 2018, to expand beyond its roots in the data center into enterprise campus networking; and Juniper, which acquired Mist last year. Mist was a provider of managed WiFi and AI-driven network optimization to maximize user experience, similar to Nyansa.
VMware declined to disclose terms of the Nyansa deal. Senior leadership of Nyansa will join VMware, but VMware said it is not disclosing other personnel details. Nyansa has just over 40 employees.
Why this matters
VMware and Cisco are the leading SD-WAN vendors, and the technology is emerging as strategic for service providers. Enterprise services are a potential growth area as mere bandwidth becomes a commodity and hypercloud and OTT providers eat service provider profits. But enterprise services overall are seeing flat returns -- with the exception of SD-WAN, which is seeing strong demand.
However, SD-WAN startup flexiWAN recently threw shade on the wisdom of service providers relying on the likes of Cisco and VMware for SD-WAN services. If all service providers rely on reselling the same products and services from the same vendors, they'll find it hard to differentiate. Naturally, flexiWAN believes it can offer that differentiation, but clearly it isn't going to be the only company looking to claim unique SD-WAN features.
The Nyansa acquisition is the latest in a startup shopping spree for VMware, which has made several networking purchases. To learn more about that history, and other recent related highlights, see these articles:
And for more about Nyansa:
— Mitch Wagner Executive Editor, Light Reading
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