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Cisco to acquire cloud-native networking and security startup Isovalent

Image Credits: Vertigo3d / Getty Images
Image Credits: Vertigo3d / Getty Images

The cloud-native security and networking startup Isovalent should fit nicely with Cisco’s core networking and security strategy; the firm revealed this morning that it plans to purchase it. The acquisition money was not split amongst the firms.

With Cilium, another open-source project the firm launched, Isovalent has contributed to developing eBPF. This critical open-source technology provides developers with deep insight into the operating system layer, generally Linux and Windows. The open-source security visibility component of the organization is called Tetragon.

A hardware device previously supplied the combination of these three components. Still, in the cloud world, Tom Gillis, senior VP and general manager of Cisco’s Security Business Group, notes that this is becoming increasingly software-driven. “In a cloud world, boxes are still present but hidden behind several software layers. Thus, he told TechCrunch, “eBPF and Cilium provide that visibility for the cloud world.”

That entails explicitly seeing all that transpires throughout an application’s network interaction and judging whether or not that appears regular. Thanks to this, anyone may now give a great degree of insight into an application’s internal operations. Thus, Cilium can intercept and see traffic between small containers as well as the inner workings of the operating system itself, he explained. Thus, this turns into a platform that enables us to offer connection, such as whether or not this specific cluster should communicate with that specific cluster. Additionally, security inspection—what are they talking about, exactly? Does this make sense? Does this appear to be logical?

It should be noted that Cilium serves as Google Kubernetes Engine, Google Anthos, and Amazon EKS Anywhere’s default connection and security component. A who’s who of major corporations, including Adobe, Bell Canada, Capital One, Datadog, Palantir, IKEA, and Sky, are also using it.

Purchasing a firm founded on well-known open-source projects like this is always problematic, and it may raise concerns in the community and among the larger businesses that have grown reliant on this software. Isovalent is a significant code contributor with essential positions in the eBPF Foundation and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). However, Gillis asserts that it is in everyone’s best interest for the open-source components to succeed as a standard.

“For that to occur, Cilium and eBPF must prosper, and the community must continue to support them because the standard’s widespread adoption is what gives it such power,” he stated. Gillis compares it to Kubernetes, a Google open-source project. “I often refer to it as the Kubernetes of the data route. He stated, “It’s an open standard that anybody can use, enabling everyone to innovate on this platform and create incredible products.”

According to Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of security and collaboration at Cisco, cooperation between businesses is crucial when it comes to security. One of the difficulties we have stated is that, in terms of security, the real enemy is not your rival but the [familiar] foe. Additionally, we must remain flexible in this industry and collaborate with others to develop new ideas. According to Patel, one of the most incredible models for collaboration, in my opinion, is open source.

Having invested in the business’s $29 million Series A at the end of 2020, Cisco was already acquainted with the company before today’s announcement. In 2022, the business secured a $40 million Series B round in which Cisco, Microsoft, Google, and Grafana Labs were among the strategic investors that also participated.

This is Cisco’s eleventh purchase of the year and its fifth in the security space. The corporation has been very acquisitive this year. By far, the largest of the lot was the $28 billion Splunk acquisition, which was revealed in September.

This deal is anticipated to conclude in the third quarter of the company’s fiscal year or the second quarter of the following year.

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