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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