Network virtualization company Viptela recently appointed tech industry veteran and former Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and Dell EMC executive Praveen Akkiraju as its new CEO. 

Viptela, which provides software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology, allows global companies to build cost-effective WAN technology. As the firm seeks to gain presence in the budding market, it has reunited 19-year former Cisco exec with some of his longtime colleagues at San Jose, Calif.-based Viptela.

Seeking to Expand into IoT, Security

Four-year old Viptela seeks to help enterprises simplify their diverse network connections with software-defined networking. A whopping 90% of Viptela’s customers are hosted on Inc.’s (AMZN) public cloud platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS). The remainder of Viptela’s clients are other large enterprises that use its services in their own on-site data centers.

In his last role at Cisco, Akkiraju served as VP and GM of enterprise networking, previously holding the position as CEO of VCE, a cloud computing infrastructure venture between Cisco and VMware Inc. (VMW). Akkiraju is credited with helping VCE grow into a $2.1 billion converged infrastructure provider. Viptela indicates that after spending significant time in the cloud infrastructure space, he sees the next market opportunity in innovating to help connect companies to their applications in the cloud. Beyond SDN, the new Viptela CEO foresees growth in cybersecurity and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Following After Arista

Viptela has raised over $100 million since its founding in 2012, including investment from Sequoia Capital, Redline Capital, Northgate Capital and Moment Ventures. In the most recent round of funding, eight months prior, Viptela was valued at approximately $900 million.

Viptela’s rise follows the success of Arista Networks Inc. (ANET), another tech company founded by former Cisco execs. Software-driven cloud networking company Arista, which is continuing its legal battle with the networking hardware industry pioneer, threatens to grab a greater share of Cisco’s switching business. (See also: The Challenge Facing Cisco in 2017.)


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