Viptela: SD-WAN for Enterprise

Peter Welcher
Architect, Operations Technical Advisor

There were two SD-WAN vendors at #NFD13 — you may have already read my blog on the first, VeloCloud. Viptela was the second. Viptela did a stellar job of presenting, with heavy focus on user visibility and control.

My main takeaway was Viptela’s emphasis on enterprise SD-WAN, whereas VeloCloud heavily touted its provider capabilities, although noting enterprise features as well. That said, Viptela has a VRF-like segmentation capability: See Khalid Reza’s blog (Viptela) and Matt Conran’s blog about this.

Networking Field DayViptela claims 15,000 sites deployed, over 100 customers, and the three largest SD-WAN deployments of 1000+ sites. One is a 3000-node bank network. Viptela apparently has an active sales model, and is not passively counting on its service provider partners to sell its product.

My understanding is that Viptela uses a BGP variant to do some level of routing “under the hood.” This provides robust routing, with the controller then able to add policy rules into the edge of SD-WAN devices’ forwarding tables.

I’ve also heard that Viptela has some unique crypto features, including robust mechanisms for rekeying. Ease of PKI and rekeying is another item for our evolving SD-WAN features checklist.

Viptela responded to #NFD13’s Ethan Banks on some questions, including some that touch on this topic.

The Viptela hardware devices also apparently have tamper-proofing mechanisms, including location awareness to mitigate social engineering (steal a box that is shipped to a site, use it as a back door into the corporate network). You can likely get more details on an NDA basis from Viptela.

Viptela uses a U.S.-manufactured Cavium chip for potential FIPS compliance — and assurance the chip does not have a foreign-controlled backdoor. According to the Computer Security Resource Center (NIST CSRC), Viptela FIPS testing is in progress.

Describe competing products, pros/cons

Having just blogged about competing products, I won’t repeat myself. Adding to my prior points on the topic, I’ll note that SD-WAN products generally include management tools. Cisco IWAN is architectural, as in if you want a GUI, you need APIC-EM/IWAN, and/or Prime Infrastructure, or LiveAction (all of which are on the Cisco price list).

Here’s an interesting third party blog: Viptela versus Cisco IWAN.

Links and other blogs

If you want to learn more or see the demos (NFD is big on demos), be sure to check out the streaming videos.

Some relevant links you may find of interest:


Comments are welcome, both in agreement or constructive disagreement about the above. I enjoy hearing from readers and carrying on deeper discussion via comments. Thanks in advance!

Disclosure Statement
Cisco Certified 20 Years

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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.