Cisco To Acquire Isovalent, A Cloud-Native Networking And Security Startup


Cisco has revealed its plans to acquire Isovalent, a cloud-native security and networking startup, in a move that aligns with the company’s core networking and security strategy. The purchase price has not been disclosed by the companies involved.

Key Takeaway

Cisco’s acquisition of Isovalent aligns with its focus on cloud-native networking and security, leveraging the startup’s expertise in open source technologies like eBPF and Cilium. The move reflects the industry-wide shift towards software-driven solutions in the cloud environment.

The Technology Behind Isovalent

Isovalent has played a significant role in the development of eBPF, an essential open source technology that offers developers deep insight into the operating system layer, predominantly Linux, and also Windows. Additionally, the startup has created Cilium, another open source project that provides visibility into cloud-native applications, and Tetragon, an open source security visibility component.

Shifting to Software-Driven Solutions

Tom Gillis, senior VP and general manager of Cisco’s Security Business Group, emphasized that in a cloud-centric environment, the traditional hardware appliance model is being replaced by software-driven solutions. He highlighted the importance of eBPF and Cilium in providing visibility for the cloud world, allowing for a high level of insight into application interactions with the network and the inner workings of the operating system.

Implications for Cloud Connectivity and Security

The acquisition is expected to have a significant impact on cloud connectivity and security, particularly considering that Cilium is the default connectivity and security piece for Google Kubernetes Engine, Google Anthos, and Amazon EKS Anywhere. It is widely used by major enterprises, including Adobe, Bell Canada, Capital One, Datadog, Palantir, IKEA, and Sky.

Open Source and Community Impact

As with any acquisition of a startup built on popular open source projects, there may be concerns within the community and among large companies that rely on the software. However, Cisco aims to ensure the continued success and adoption of open source pieces like Cilium and eBPF, emphasizing the importance of community support and embracing these technologies as standards moving forward.

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