The founder of Cisco launches a startup that will compete… Cisco

The two men who helped make Cisco Systems the internet networking giant – John Chambers and Pankaj Patel – have teamed up to form Nile, a startup that aims to disrupt their former home, Cisco. Both executives left the iconic company six years ago.

Their new company, based in Santa Clara, Calif., came out of stealth mode today by showcasing a next-generation network-as-a-service product that CEO Patel says requires little to no human intervention. to operate and features predictive artificial intelligence to prevent data flow issues before they occur.

Chambers, an investor and board member who served as CEO and executive chairman of Cisco for 22 years and grew the company through numerous acquisitions and new product lines, said that Nile represents the biggest change in networking in over a decade.

Nile is all about “disruptive simplicity,” Chambers said in a LinkedIn post. “We have a bold vision to innovate and change the status quo,” he assures.

“In an industry historically known for new features that define growth, the Nile team has gone back to the drawing board to deliver a new system that will transform the way customers acquire, deploy, consume, support, secure and develop. their networks, delivering much-needed simplicity, reduced risk and total cost of ownership. We are coming out of the underground with 50 solution providers already engaged with Nile Connect.”

Provision of high-quality corporate Wi-Fi

Nile’s SaaS Connect product will deliver high-quality enterprise Wi-Fi instead of the traditional method of having businesses guess how much network hardware and software they need.

“I would say we’re a company that’s defined by a pretty bold vision,” Patel told ZDNet. “From day one, we have aimed to remove this critical human dependency from network management. We hope to forever change the way enterprises will architect, design, acquire, deploy, configure, secure and maintain connectivity. Network dynamics will now do without security concerns; we will make the first-ever Zero Trust network that does not require any network operations.”

According to Patel, Nile Connect also includes the following features in its platform menu:

  • Maintaining a secure user information metadata/data store that is used by Nile’s monitoring sensors to anticipate network flow and fraudulent access issues well in advance.
  • A holistic, pay-as-you-go consumption model that simply aligns with network users.
  • Ensuring network performance levels based on the outcomes that matter – availability, capacity and coverage.
  • Removes operational overhead and reduces risk by providing full lifecycle management without AI/ML-based management.

“While the world has changed, the networks have not essentially changed,” Mr Patel said. “Of the $25 billion worth of hardware spent annually on wired and wireless access technology, we estimate an additional $75 billion is spent on operations. This situation is simply not sustainable, but operators historical haven’t responded, because they have business models, ecosystems, and an installed base to protect, and they would have to completely overhaul their own existing platforms. Nile is changing that.”

Nile considers Cisco, which has more legacy networking equipment spread around the world than any other company, to be one such incumbent.

Zero Trust security is already built-in

According to Patel, Nile’s approach offers the first out-of-the-box zero trust network that requires no network operations. Every user and device is automatically segmented, and every request must be authenticated and evaluated before access is granted. The result reduces the risk of cyber thieves spreading laterally to launch ransomware attacks. Also, without complex configuration, security teams can ensure that all connections are seen and controlled, wherever they are on the network.

CIOs and CISOs have long known that networks are one of the greatest sources of security risk, conflict, and workload in the enterprise. “Zero Trust has long been a goal for many organizations, a goal that required a lot of time and attention from network engineers,” said Andy Goodenow, CIO of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. “Nile’s holistic approach to security solves the missing link to extend Zero Trust to the network.”

Complete lifecycle management – without the management

Nile’s cloud-native design includes physical and virtual instrumentation that provides continuous monitoring, in-depth analytics, and AI/ML-driven automation, Patel said. The result is a self-managed network that is always optimized for maximum performance, he added. Software updates and security patches are orchestrated and delivered through automation to avoid disruption to users and devices, with Nile taking full responsibility for network management, Patel said.

Consumption-based model

Patel said Nile aims to provide its customers with the same benefits they get from cloud-based storage and software. This approach combines design, hardware, software, installation, maintenance and ongoing management into a simple pay-as-you-go model, Patel said. Organizations no longer need to make large up-front investments while trying to anticipate their needs for the next 5, 7, or even 10 years. The Nile will simply add or change capacity and coverage as each customer’s changing needs change, Mr Patel added.

Nile Connect is available in the United States and Canada, expected to arrive in France in the coming months, Patel said.

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