Adaptive Segmentationmicro-segmentation June 17, 2016

Hollywood vs. Illumination: CopyCat Edition

Matthew Glenn,

Every summer, Hollywood releases derivative or copycat films. Consider that when Christopher Nolan (director of Batman Begins, Inception, and others) wrote and directed The Prestige, another studio found out about the project and immediately kicked off The Illusionist. For every Babe there is a Gordy. Imitation is often the best form of flattery, but all too frequently the copy does not equal the original—it is just a movie studio making up for a deficiency in its lineup or trying to make some money.

Picture of a spinning top

This week, Illumio received the best form of flattery. Two well-known companies, Cisco and VMware, made moves to copy Illumination. Cisco is trying to build it themselves, and VMware acquired Arkin Networks.

Illumination is being copied. But why?

When we first showed Illumination to customers and analysts two years ago, there was a question that everyone asked: “Why do I need this?” For us, the answer was simple: It's how you can take your brownfield environment and learn what is talking to what.

We started with very small-scale applications, very similar to what you see in Cisco’s launch and on Arkin’s website. Illumio’s Illumination team is now Illuminating at very large scale. Consider the diagram below, which shows a fraction of one customers 50,000+ workloads (all data has been anonymized).

Illumination at scale

Illumination lets enterprises take their brownfield environment and see what is talking to what.

This customer has something we call “Application Sprawl.” They have different components of a single application spread over multiple data centers. In addition, the customer has something we call “dial tone” services—like DNS, Active Directory, Nagios, and Netbackup.

This presented challenges that we have been forced to overcome—massive scale (consider one customer's 100k-plus workloads over 100 data centers).

So Illumination is being copied. But why?

Because, just like the movie studios copy films, other companies are now copying Illumination because they have a big hole in their product portfolio and they are trying to eke a little bit of money out of an unsuspecting public.

But customers shouldn’t think they are buying a ticket to Star Wars only to find out that they actually ended up seeing Krull.  

Adaptive Segmentationmicro-segmentation
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