Cisco buys Isovalent for multi-cloud

  • Cisco announced plans to scoop up Isovalent

  • This will allow it to provide a security fabric for multi-cloud

  • This is Cisco's 11th acquisition of the year

Cisco has ended the year with its 11th acquisition, announcing plans to buy cloud security startup Isovalent for an undisclosed sum.

The Zurich, Switzerland-based startup was founded by the team that created the eBPF language that is used by Google, Netflix and others for security and network monitoring. The Isovalent team also made the Cilium and Tetragon eBPF-based security observability tools.

“I think it fills a pretty big hole for Cisco,” Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, commented in a phone call with Silverlinings. “One thing they were missing...was a way to address multi-cloud in a scalable way.”

“I wondered if they were going to build it themselves or go buy something,” the analyst said. Guess we’ve got our answer now!

If a company is going to go multi-cloud, Kerravala explained, current cloud provider tools don’t work across clouds. For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) tools don’t work with Azure and vice versa.

“So something’s got to act as the security and networking fabric to bring some consistency to the multi-cloud environment. That’s what these guys do,” Kerravala told us.

Roy Chua, analyst at AvidThink, added via email that "for now Isovalent's eBPF/Cilium/Tetragon open-source offering will be integrated into the Cisco Security Cloud offering, and be used to provide new capabilities to their multi-cloud and cloud workload controls and visibility especially in Kubernetes clusters hosting container workloads."

He noted in the longer term there are "many other products in Cisco's portfolio that are synergistic with Cilium/Tetragon besides Splunk (which I'm sure will happily ingest the telemetry from these solutions), including Cisco AppDynamics for improved APM, Cisco Umbrella, Cisco WAF, Cisco XDR, Panoptica for security visibility, and Cisco Thousand Eyes and Accedian for end-to-end network visibility."

Could this buyout make multi-cloud – “one workload that spans multiple clouds” as Kerravala puts it – more of a reality in 2024? We’ll just have to wait and see.