Startup Profile: Viptela Targets WAN Cost, Complexity - InformationWeek

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12/2/2014
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Startup Profile: Viptela Targets WAN Cost, Complexity

Sequoia-backed software-defined network company creates encrypted overlay network for architectural flexibility and reduced WAN costs.

Viptela is a startup that aims to tackle the cost and complexity of traditional WAN options such as MPLS or Ethernet circuits. In particular, the company targets such organizations as banks and retailers that have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of locations that require connectivity.

Here's how it works. Customers place Viptela's hardware appliance, the vEdge router, at each end point that needs connectivity. Customers can run multiple connections through each appliance, including MPLS and Ethernet circuits and lower-cost options such as broadband and LTE connections. The appliance then merges these connections and applies customer policies to the traffic.

Policies are defined and managed from a central location, such as a customer's core data center, using Viptela's vSmart SDN Controller. The controller is a software package that runs inside a VM. The vManage Network Management System provides the user interface and dashboard.

Viptela creates a full mesh between each appliance and lets customers set up encrypted tunnels between appliances. Encryption is key to Viptela's pitch, because it means customers can choose broadband Internet connections, which are cheaper than traditional carrier options, while still securing traffic.

Viptela also uses cryptography to authenticate every vEdge Router with the vSmart SDN Controller and to encrypt management communications between the controller and routers. Each vEdge router uses a TPM chip to store its private keys. Viptela's controller software handles all the key management.

Because Viptela creates an overlay network that's centrally controlled, customers can make policy changes to the overlay without having to send requests to a provider -- requests that might take days or weeks to be implemented.

And because customers can use any network connection, they have more architectural flexibility. For instance, branches that rely on cloud applications can set up connections at local peering points, rather than sending all traffic to a corporate data center and then out to the cloud application. This improves application performance.

Viptela positions itself as an SDN startup. Much of the SDN focus has been on the data center, but Viptela's WAN play demonstrates SDN's potential for disruption throughout the network. Though just two years old, Viptela has attracted tens of millions of dollars in funding from Sequoia Capital.

Product: Secure Extensible Network

Principals: Amir Khan, co-founder and CEO; Khalid Raza, co-founder and CTO

DNA: Khan led Juniper Networks' product management and enterprise routing business for Juniper's MX and M series routers. Raza is a former Distinguished Engineer at Cisco and was a Distinguished Technologist at HP.

Founded: 2012

Funding: $33.5 million

Investors: Sequoia Capital

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

Early Customers: Undisclosed

Competition: CloudGenix; Cisco Dynamic Multipoint VPN

Pricing: Undisclosed

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Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio
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pfretty
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pfretty,
User Rank: Ninja
12/20/2014 | 10:05:53 AM
Security is vital
The focus on security is crucial especially for multilocation corporations or firms collaborating with customers and suppliers at a deeper level. Far too few organizations appreciate the value added by combining these offerings with VPNs to enabling a range of access methods and allowing connections from any device or end-point. 


Peter Fretty, IDG blogger working on behalf of AT&T
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