Why VMware Bought the Network Monitoring Startup Nyansa

The deal bolsters VMware’s position in the growing SD-WAN market and helps its push into AIOps.

Wylie Wong, Regular Contributor

February 24, 2020

3 Min Read
Pat Gelsinger, then CEO of VMware, speaking at a conference in 2017
Pat Gelsinger, then CEO of VMware, speaking at a conference in 2017Horacio Villalobos - Corbis/Getty Images

VMware’s recent acquisition of AI-powered network analytics startup Nyansa strengthens its network monitoring and management capabilities, but the startup’s technology also beefs up VMware’s broader, strategic efforts to help customers automate IT operations, analysts say.

VMware said it was buying Nyansa in January. The Palo Alto, California-based startup is behind Voyance, a cloud-based network analytics system that provides network visibility and, using machine learning, detects problems and anomalies and recommends potential fixes to improve network and application performance.

Six years in existence, Nyansa has made inroads into the network performance management market and attracted some big-name customers, including Uber, Walmart, Tesla, and Proctor and Gamble.

VMware executives said in a blog post that the software giant would pair Voyance with SD-WAN by VeloCloud, its software-defined WAN platform – and that the acquisition would ultimately help it deliver on the promise of self-healing networks. (VMware acquired VeloCloud in 2017.)

Analysts said acquiring Nyansa was a smart move by VMware, making it more attractive in the fast-growing SD-WAN market while also positioning it to better compete in the emerging AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) market, where analytics and machine learning automate IT operations.

Related:Why SD-WAN Is Taking Over Enterprise Networks

“If you think about Nyansa as the platform to gain network visibility, and VMware as the management platform that can automate things happening on the network, you can see the power of them coming together: Nyansa can tell you if something is wrong, and VMware can go fix it,” said Brandon Butler, senior research analyst for enterprise networks at IDC.

VMware ranks second in market share behind Cisco in the burgeoning SD-WAN market, which IDC predicts will grow from $1.37 billion in 2018 to $5.25 billion in 2023. Other SD-WAN players include Silver Peak Systems, Nokia’s Nuage Networks, and Riverbed Technology.

End-to-End Network Visibility

Voyance has proven effective in monitoring and remediating problems on local area networks, including Wi-Fi networks, said Shamus McGillicuddy, a VP at market-research firm Enterprise Management Associates. For example, it measures user experience by inspecting network packets flowing in and out a Wi-Fi network, assigns scores to individual user connections, and then delivers an aggregate score to show overall health of the network.

Network visibility combined with machine learning-driven proactive anomaly detection not only improves network and application performance but also strengthens security, Butler said.

Related:Juniper Says Its Bots are a Step Toward a "Self-Driving Network"

Nyansa has built up its network monitoring and analytics capabilities in the SD-WAN environment over the past year, Butler said.

VeloCloud already has some native network monitoring and analytics capabilities, McGillicuddy said. Integrating it with Nyansa’s technology will enable customers to monitor and manage their networks from campus and branch LANs to the WAN, he said. “VMware’s goal is to provide and end-to-end view.”

VMware also has a tool called vRealize Network Insight, which provides visibility into data center networks. While it hasn’t announced plans to integrate it with Voyance, the company could theoretically now create a single solution for managing all enterprise networks, including data center networks, he said. 

Nyansa also aids VMWare in its drive toward automation, the analysts said. Voyance augments its existing automation tools, which include vRealize Automation for setting up and managing hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

“VMware has aspirations around AIOps-driven automation,” McGillicuddy said. “They want to enable their customers to automate a lot of things when it comes to troubleshooting and capacity management. And they see Nyansa as the brains behind a bigger automation future.”

About the Author(s)

Wylie Wong

Regular Contributor

Wylie Wong is a journalist and freelance writer specializing in technology, business and sports. He previously worked at CNET, Computerworld and CRN and loves covering and learning about the advances and ever-changing dynamics of the technology industry. On the sports front, Wylie is co-author of Giants: Where Have You Gone, a where-are-they-now book on former San Francisco Giants. He previously launched and wrote a Giants blog for the San Jose Mercury News, and in recent years, has enjoyed writing about the intersection of technology and sports.

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