CloudGenix CEO: We’re Coming For Cisco’s Customers

The SD-WAN is a highly competitive one dominated by networking giants, but CloudGenix is on a mission to prove that a small scrappy company can, like David, chip away at a Cisco-size Goliath.

In an interview with SDxCentral, CloudGenix CEO Kumar Ramachandran credited much of the SD-WAN vendor‘s growth in 2019 — reportedly 300% year over year — to its ability to take on its much-larger rival and convince large enterprise clients to switch.

“What we find is that our products and solutions stack up tremendously well against Cisco,” he said, citing one of the largest financial institutions in the United States that ditched Cisco for CloudGenix as an example. While Ramachandran wouldn’t name the bank in question, he said the same “story is repeated across a large number of enterprise customers.”

Standing Out in a Crowd

According to Ramachandran, there are three factors that set the SD-WAN vendor apart from the rest of the crowded market and put it in a good position to convince customers to defect to their way of thinking. The first of these factors has to do with how CloudGenix approaches SD-WAN.

“I think we did something completely different from every other SD-WAN player,” he said. “We said SD-WAN cannot be about delivering some cost savings between MPLS versus broadband. You have to go beyond.”

By going beyond, Ramachandran means giving customers the ability to accurately and automatically apply application policy to ensure security, compliance, and performance across the WAN.

However, unlike other vendors including Cisco, Ramachandran says CloudGenix doesn’t rely on packet-routing to apply application policy. Instead, CloudGenix developed what it calls an application flow, application session-based architecture that can identify and apply application policies at router line rates.

The second factor working in CloudGenix favor is the early application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to not only make branch telemetry more actionable, but allow for greater degrees of automation. This seems to be catching on. Case in point: this week VMware purchased AIOps provider Nyansa for an undisclosed sum in an effort to bolster its own VeloCloud SD-WAN offering.

“All the way back in 2013, we built a system where we collect tremendous amounts of telemetry and application data at the branch, at the data center, and at the cloud, and all of that is stored in a centralized data lake,” Ramachandran said.

He said this investment in network telemetry and data science has paid dividends for the company, enterprises, and managed service providers, which are benefiting from fewer disruptions and lower operational costs.

Solving Customer Problems

This was the case for Diamond Crystal Brands. According to the company’s Director of IT Arlete Bacon, Diamond Crystal, which had been using a Cisco Viptela-based SD-WAN supplied by Verizon, switched to CloudGenix after experiencing a range of performance and quality of service issues.

Automatic failover “never got implemented fully,” said Bacon. “When the MPLS went down, the ISP was supposed to automatically failover, and that did not happen.”

Bacon said because of the Cisco system, Diamond Crystal had ongoing problems with application performance. “We actually had a help desk incident that was open for over 10 months,” she said.

Many of these performance issues were addressed in Gartner’s latest WAN Edge Magic Quadrant report, which saw Cisco slide from Leader to Challenger. Gartner also highlighted several challenges faced by Cisco and its WAN customers, including system lock-in, a complex licensing structure, and scalability challenges.

Targeting Cisco’s ISR Customer Base

Finally, Ramachandran says CloudGenix’s CloudBlades platform positions the company to go after Cisco’s integrated services router (ISR) install base by offering them more flexibility without the need for additional hardware or manpower to manage it.

He said while many vendors rely on additional hardware to achieve these features, CloudGenix’s CloudBlade’s platform utilizes resources colocated in Equinix facilities to allow customers to spin up additional CloudGenix services anytime they are required.

New Year, New Ambitions

CloudGenix aims to continue its rapid growth rate into 2020.

In pursuit of this goal, Ramachandran says the company will be branching into international markets as part of a new sales effort, as well as working to further expand its carrier partnerships. “We do expect international expansion to be a huge part of our story,” he said.

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