Another SD-WAN startup has snagged a high-profile executive to be its leader, as Viptela today named Praveen Akkiraju as CEO.
Akkiraju most recently served as CEO of VCE, and for 19 years he worked at Cisco, leading every major routing business at the company. In his last role, he was senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Enterprise Networking group.
During his three-year tenure as VCE’s CEO he led the converged cloud infrastructure business. He left VCE in April 2016; late last year, the VCE brand was retired and absorbed into the newly merged Dell EMC.
At 4-year-old Viptela, he’ll combine his expertise in routing and cloud “to bring an application-cloud context to Viptela,” Akkiraju says.
“We’re in the middle of a pretty significant transformation in overall IT architecture,” he says, referring to the migration of applications to the cloud. “I felt like Viptela represented the second wave — SDN migration to the cloud.”
Viptela hosts 90 percent of its software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) customers in Amazon Web Services (AWS). The vendor separated the control and forwarding planes to be able to orchestrate and manage thousands of devices at edge. Its controller architecture runs in AWS (in 90 percent of cases) to drives its end devices. The other 10 percent of customers are huge enterprises that have their own data centers.
“It’s very heavy-duty at the edge in the current architecture,” Akkiraju says, and he thinks this is a brilliant foundation for future services.
The Cloud Promise
While Viptela initially established its SD-WAN to help enterprises save money on their MPLS connections, they’re now able to “extend this fabric to offer more capabilities, including seamless connectivity to the cloud,” says Akkiraju. “That’s the potential I saw in the company that got me excited.”
He says his focus is to use the foundation Viptela has already built to simplify the connection to cloud and to offer services beyond SD-WAN. He envisions future use cases in security and Internet of Things (IoT).
Viptela co-founder and former CEO Amir Khan will continue playing an active role as president and a board member.