Clash of the SD-WAN Titans: CloudGenix CEO on ‘Ripping Cisco Routers with SD-WAN and 300 % Growth

CloudGenix CEO On SD-WAN Explosion

Software-defined WAN specialist CloudGenix is witnessing massive growth in the enterprise and aims to take on networking giant Cisco and other competitors like VMware in the fast-growing SD-WAN market. 

“We saw a 300 percent growth rate in 2017. We grew the business massively. The vast majority of growth came in the Fortune 500,” said Kumar Ramachandran, founder and CEO of CloudGenix, in an interview with CRN.

Ramachandran has two decades of networking expertise, including an 11-year stint at Cisco, with roles that included director of product management and marketing for the network leader.  Ramachandran spoke to CRN about SD-WAN technology differentiators, why channel partners are winning with CloudGenix and fierce market competition.

What are you ripping out with SD-WAN? Old MPLS, pipes, routers?

We absolutely are ripping out Cisco routers. In the enterprise space, Cisco has a large installed base. We go in and completely eliminate the need for a Cisco hardware router. Cisco is a layer-3 router. What we are providing is a layer-3 through layer-7 application routing device. It establishes what a customer needs when they’re trying to establish a cloud-ready infrastructure. We’re ripping and replacing the Cisco router. We tell customers that we can co-exist with a Cisco router. They let the co-existence happen for a week, then say, ‘Great. We’ll have you. Let’s take down that Cisco router.

How are you competing head-to-head against Cisco’s SD-WAN offerings?

In the enterprise itself, we see it as a two-horse race. There’s Cisco with all of their products and Viptela, then there’s us. Right now, our win rates are very high. … We have a 90-plus win rate against Cisco. They haven’t done any favors for themselves. In fairness though, they do have a tough problem. They have the whole legacy code they have to somehow sustain.

Cisco has about six different products: the iWAN with the ISR [router]; Viptela, Meraki, the Glue [Networks partnership], they have some virtual edition of the product, then APIC-EM (Application Policy Infrastructure Controller Enterprise Module) – a ton of different product sets. Most customers we meet are concerned about the fact that Cisco can’t keep this many products alive for the same market use case, and that Cisco is going to end-of-life several of these. Customers are concerned about which one of these products they’re buying.

What was CloudGenix’s SD-WAN sales growth from 2016 to 2017?

We saw a 300 percent growth rate in 2017. We grew the business massively. The vast majority of growth came in the Fortune 500. Many of these customers come in and they’ve done production pilots, production deployments, testing Cisco and us. Then they go all-in with us. We’ve just been seeing tremendous growth and the channel is a big part for us. When you have that growth rate, you can’t keep trying to add seasoned sales people in your company alone and experience that kind of growth rate. We just invested very heavily in making sure the channel is enabled. So having 400 channel engineers trained on CloudGenix gives us so much reach and so many more feet on the ground with all these customers.