Revolutionizing Cloud Networking With Cisco’s Isovalent Acquisition

Cisco’s recent announcement of its intention to acquire Isovalent marks a significant step in revolutionizing cloud-native networking and security. The move aligns seamlessly with Cisco’s core networking and security strategy, signaling a shift towards a software-driven approach in the cloud era.

Isovalent’s contributions to the tech landscape are substantial, particularly in the realm of open source technology. The company played a pivotal role in developing eBPF, a key technology offering profound insights into the operating system layer, not limited to Linux but extending to Windows as well. Complementing this, Isovalent introduced Cilium, an open source project designed to provide visibility into cloud-native applications. Tetragon, another component, enhances security visibility, creating a comprehensive suite of tools.

Tom Gillis, Senior VP and General Manager of Cisco’s Security Business Group, emphasizes the transformative potential of this acquisition. In the evolving cloud landscape, traditional hardware appliances are giving way to software-driven solutions. Gillis underlines the significance of eBPF and Cilium in providing unparalleled visibility in the cloud environment. These technologies offer insights into network interactions within applications, enabling the assessment of normalcy in operations. Essentially, Cilium intercepts and scrutinizes traffic between containers, delving into both application and OS functionalities. This platform not only facilitates connectivity between clusters but also conducts thorough security inspections.

The prominence of Cilium is evident in its adoption as the default connectivity and security component for major platforms like Google Kubernetes Engine, Google Anthos, and Amazon EKS Anywhere. Its widespread use across enterprises such as Adobe, Bell Canada, Capital One, Datadog, Palantir, IKEA, and Sky underscores its industry acceptance and reliability.

The acquisition of startups rooted in popular open source projects often raises concerns within the community and among companies reliant on these technologies. Isovalent holds crucial roles in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and eBPF Foundation, serving as significant contributors to their codebase. However, Gillis reassures stakeholders, emphasizing the mutual benefit in ensuring the thriving continuation of these open source elements as industry standards.

He draws parallels between eBPF and Cilium’s potential and the impact of Kubernetes in the realm of data pathways. Gillis highlights their open standards, inviting widespread participation and innovation atop this foundation, fostering the development of groundbreaking products.

Jeetu Patel, Executive VP and General Manager of Security and Collaboration at Cisco, emphasizes collaboration and openness in tackling security challenges. Patel underscores the importance of co-innovation, identifying open source as an ideal model to foster collaborative advancements in the security landscape.

Cisco’s familiarity with Isovalent predates the acquisition, having previously participated in the startup’s funding rounds. This acquisition, scheduled to conclude in the second quarter of next year, underscores Cisco’s aggressive acquisition strategy, positioning itself as a prominent player in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

In summary, Cisco’s move to acquire Isovalent not only signifies a strategic alignment with its networking and security goals but also emphasizes the company’s commitment to innovation and collaboration within the open source community. This acquisition holds the promise of reshaping the cloud-native landscape, setting new standards for networking and security paradigms.