David Takes Down Goliath in Vegas!

cgx iwant teamThe event could have been a page out of the Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath”. Cisco, a genuine behemoth in the world of technology and downright dominant in the networking space, was called out by a leaner, and extremely hot startup, CloudGenix. 

Everything was set up to be an epic battle. Cisco’s annual “Cisco Live” event was in full swing making it a true “home game” for Goliath.  The room was packed with existing Cisco customers, partners, and even Cisco employees – who in the spirit of friendly and open competition were welcomed with open arms. They were all interested in seeing how the legacy “packet/protocol based” IWAN product(s) would hold up against CloudGenix’s next generation “Application-Defined” solution.

The use cases were simple:

  1. Set up and configure a very basic SD-WAN configuration
  2. Enable direct-to-cloud over Internet selectively for cloud based applications (ex. SalesForce and Microsoft Office365)
  3. Monitor/Manage the solution to collect business relevant analytics

The MC and host of the evening was Packet Pusher’s very own networking guru, and CCIE Ethan Banks. Members of the audience, and Ethan were invited to put each of the solutions thru the paces.  Like a good host, Ethan led from the front in encouraging the audience to take the IWAN solution for a spin, while volunteers from the audience test-drove the CloudGenix solution.

IMG_2594You could cut the tension in the room with a knife — OK, maybe not, as most had cocktails in their hands, and were in very good spirits.  

The IWAN table started very optimistic given the vast number of CCIEs who were in the room to help with the IWAN solution.  However, pressure was building and the room was quickly getting warm on the Cisco side.  Pages from an IWAN configuration cheat sheet that was made available at the Cisco station were being furiously examined.  By the time the IWAN table got through the first use case, they had already been lapped by 2 audience members who finished the entire cycle on CloudGenix.  

We won’t drag this one out any further than needed; the IWAN table threw in the towel about 30 minutes after completing the first use case knowing that if they wanted to get home to spend time with family this weekend, a “bow out” would be necessary.  The level of effort to address these important use cases with a legacy packet/protocol based solution is measured in days, not hours, and certainly not minutes. Of course, after watching the results of the first IWAN test, the other audience members focused on test-driving the CloudGenix solution.

Final Results of the test: successful IWAN test completions – 0, successful CloudGenix test completions – 10 during the period of the testing

Feedback from partners, customers, and even the Cisco employees was off the charts good.  No PowerPoint slides, whiteboards or presentations… Marketing was held to a minimum.  Yes, CloudGenix leveraged some marketing and PR to drive awareness to the event, but when the bell rang, it was all about two products side by side addressing important use cases that customers are challenged with every day.  

The results from this challenge are not surprising; Malcom Gladwell’s book outlines it well.  Had we fought Goliath with traditional warfare (shown up to the challenge with a legacy based packet and protocol solution) the best result we could hope for would be a draw.  However, we believe the industry is not looking for a “better router.”  The WAN is long overdue for true dramatic disruption.  A solution that is designed from the ground up to address a customer’s most important asset — Applications.  In a sea of “better routers”, CloudGenix offers the only “Application transaction” based networking solution in the market.  We eliminate and minimize routing protocols at the branch, and leverage a session and flow based system in combination with rich Layer 7 analytics to ensure the best end user experience possible.   

We are truly changing the game and disrupting the status quo.  A packet centric solution never had a chance at winning this challenge.   David beats Goliath and the customer wins.

Don’t rely on vendor talk. If you’d like to take the challenge yourself and be the judge, send an email to – hey we may even enter you into a drawing for a drone!

Matt Hickey, VP of Sales, CGX