Versa Networks raises $84M to protect cloud networks

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Versa Networks, a security vendor in the software-defined networking space, today announced that it closed an $84 million series D funding round co-led by Princeville Capital and RPS Ventures, with additional participation from Sequoia Capital, an existing investor. CEO Kelly Ahuja says that the proceeds — which bring Versa’s total raised to $196 million — will be put toward scaling the company’s platform and expanding its marketing and global sales teams.

According to Gartner, the secure access service edge market (SASE) is expected to be worth almost $11 billion by 2024, with least 40% of enterprises having SASE strategies in place over the next three years. A term coined by Gartner, SASE aims to simplify wide-area networking and security by delivering both as a cloud service directly to the source of connection — i.e., an edge computing location — rather than an enterprise datacenter. Security is based around identity, real-time context, and enterprise security and compliance policies. As for identity, it can be attached to anything from a person to a device, branch office, cloud service, application, or an IoT system.

San Jose, California-based Versa was founded in 2012 by brothers Kumar and Apurva Mehta following an 8-year stay at Juniper Networks, where they led the development of Juniper’s MX series routers and mobility portfolio. During their tenure, the Mehta brothers came across a customer need to integrate cloud services services into routers, which presented complexities. They developed a software-defined, programmable solution that integrated network and security with a decoupling of software and hardware, which formed the basis of Versa’s first product.

“During the pandemic, many businesses used the downtime in branch offices to accelerate refreshes and prepare for the upturn, and shifted priority to enabling work-from-anywhere, including a hybrid environment. The results were stellar as we experienced two times year-over-year growth,” Ahuja told VentureBeat via email. “Versa is among the fastest-growing companies in one of the fastest-growing categories. The demand for our solution has been astronomical. We are not opportunity-limited, but have been capacity-limited in our go-to-market.”


Available via the cloud, on-premises, or as a hybrid of both, Versa’s platform connects enterprise branches and end-users to remote apps. It offers an architecture combining security, networking, analytics, and automation into one software solution, with hardware appliances and admin dashboards that offer policy configuration and access control options.

According to Ahuja, Versa uses AI and machine learning for several aspects of its platform, including in its networking and security in addition to its its management, orchestration, and analytics tools. “In networking and security, we use telemetry datasets from the various elements, as well as from the underlay or cloud and software-as-a-service reachability, to program the optimal path to connect users to applications,” he explained. “In our management, orchestration and analytics, we use all the datasets gathered to train [machine learning] models that allow for faster and automated correlation of operational issues and resolving them.”

Beyond security incumbents like Zscaler and Palo Alto Networks, Versa considers Cisco, VMware, and Fortinet its competitors. But the company, which has close to 500 employees, has managed to attract over 5,000 customers and more than 500,000 sites under contract to date.

“Versa enables multi-cloud deployments for small to very large enterprises with security, reliability, and complete visibility for IT organizations,” Ahuja said. “It supports enterprise-wide internet of things implementations by automatically detecting new devices, authenticating, and applying appropriate policies and security practices for each device … And it delivers secure, high-performance, and low-latency deployments for unified communications, videoconferencing, and VoIP to enterprise branch offices, remote teleworkers, and home-based call agents, ensuring a high-quality experience.”


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Tech News

How to text iPhone vids that aren’t blurry on Android (and vice versa)

Sadly, our friends don’t all have iPhones. That means some of our Message chats are peppered with green bubbles and send over regular SMS instead of via Apple’s ultra-fast iMessage system. But it’s not just the color and speed that makes iMessage superior: it’s also the clarity and downright watchability when dealing with videos.

If you thought the latest Game of Thrones episode was hard to see, clearly you’ve never sent a video from Messages on your iPhone to a friend with an Android phone. If they responded with something like, “What is this?!”, it probably wasn’t because of the content—it’s because they could barely see what was going on in the clip. By the time it reached their device, the video is a blurry, garbled mess. That carefully edited HD clip you took on your new iPhone was reduced to an unwatchable sludge once it reached your friend’s phone. And the same is true of the videos they send you.

iphone android blurry IDG

Your Android friends will see a blurry mess where a video is supposed to be.

The phenomenon can also affect group messages. As they say, once bad apple can spoil the bunch, so if one of the recipients in your group is on an Android phone, then the entire message will be sent over SMS. Hence, all users will see blurry, barely watchable videos, even iPhone users with iMessages enabled.

What gives? While it might seem like it’s the result of sabotage between platforms, that’s not the case. It has to do with compression. Apple handles the iPhone-to-iPhone delivery of texted videos, so no matter the size, videos are sent and received in their original quality. However, that’s not the case when not using Apple’s system from start to finish—your carrier gets in the way, and that’s when things break down.

Sent Pictures are mostly OK (large ones will be compressed but still viewable), videos files are hit hard. Texting from Android to Android will see minor compression, but it’s compounded when going from iPhone to Android or from Android to iPhone, since Apple’s system gets in the way. Even when sending relatively short video clips (around 15MB to 20MB), they’ll be compressed on one end and stay that way, resulting in a blurry, unwatchable video.

How can you fix it? Convince all of your friends and family to get an iPhone, of course, so everything you send will be over iMessage. Since that’s probably not realistic, here are some workarounds.

Use a third-party messaging app

The reason why texting video between iPhones and Apple’s Messages app doesn’t result in blurry photos is because Apple controls the compression on both ends. The same is true when you’re using another messaging service, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, etc. If you send a video using any of these services, it’ll reach your recipient with its quality intact (as long as you don’t run into any file-size limitations). However, you need to convince your friends to sign up and use the same service you use.

Use email instead

If there’s one messaging service that tried and true, it’s good, old-fashioned email. We all know how it works: launch your client of choice, create a new message, choose the video you want, and hit send. And you’ll be sure that it arrives in the same quality as it was sent.

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