Managed Services

Cisco to Acquire Isovalent to Secure Cloud-Native Networking


Cisco announced this week its intent to acquire Isovalent, a leader in open-source cloud-native networking and security, to bolster its secure networking capabilities across public clouds. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in Q3 of 2024, the companies said in a statement.

This is technology M&A deal number 339 that ChannelE2E and MSSP Alert have covered so far in 2023. See more than 2,000 technology M&A deals for 2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020 listed here.

Cisco, founded in 1984, is based in San Jose, California. The company has 99,809 associated members listed on LinkedIn. Cisco's areas of expertise include Networking, Wireless, Security, Unified Communication, Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Virtualization, and Unified Computing Systems.

Isovalent, founded in 2017, is based in Cupertino, California. The company has 158 associated members listed on LinkedIn. Isovalent's areas of expertise include Kubernetes, security, observability, networking, k8s, eBPF, and zero trust.

Isovalent’s team is a major contributor to the open-source extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) technology, and has led the development of Cilium, a cloud-native solution for networking and security. eBPF provides visibility into the inner workings of the operating system to help teams build security systems that can protect a workload while it runs. Isovalent has also recently introduced:

  • Cilium Mesh: allows for the easy connection of Kubernetes clusters with existing infrastructure across hybrid clouds,
  • Tetragon: an eBPF-based open source security solution that provides visibility to and enforces runtime behavior within an application and on the network.  
  • Isovalent Enterprise: an enterprise distribution of Cilium and Tetragon

The acquisition of Isovalent will build on the Cisco Security Cloud vision, an AI-driven, cloud-delivered, integrated security platform. The Cisco Security Cloud enables customers to abstract security controls from multi-cloud infrastructure to provide advanced protection against emerging threats across any cloud, application, or workload.

“Together with Isovalent, Cisco will build on the open source power of Cilium to create a truly unique multi-cloud security and networking capability to help customers simplify and accelerate their digital transformation journeys,” said Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of Security and Collaboration at Cisco. "Imagine in today's distributed environment - of applications, virtual machines, containers, and cloud assets - having security controls with total visibility, without hindering networking and application performance. The combination of Cisco and Isovalent will make this a reality.”

“Cisco is committed to nurturing, investing in, and contributing to the eBPF and Cilium open source communities,” said Stephen Augustus, Head of Open Source at Cisco. “Isovalent’s team will join Cisco's deep bench of open-source governance and technical leadership to solve complex cloud-native, security, and networking challenges. Their knowledge will accelerate innovation across the business and help further strengthen the Cisco Security Cloud platform to meet the growing demands of our customers.”

Isovalent holds leadership positions in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and eBPF Foundation, in addition to upstream software contributions, and this acquisition strengthens Cisco's role in supporting the open-source ecosystem, the company said. Cisco and Isovalent will continue to build solutions powered by eBPF technology that aim to solve the challenge of protecting workloads no matter where they reside, according to the statement. Cisco is committed to Cilium and Tetragon as open-source projects and intends to create an independent advisory board to help steer Cisco's contributions to these important efforts in a way that is aligned with the needs of the open-source community, Cisco said. 

The Isovalent team will join the Cisco Security Business Group once the acquisition closes, which is expected in the third quarter of fiscal year 2024.