Cisco SD-WAN is the new name for Viptela, post-Cisco acquisition. I spent more than two years deploying Cisco IWAN, seeing the good and the bad. After spending some time with Cisco SD-WAN, I’m extremely impressed with this new solution. I’d like to share my top three reasons why I’m excited for the arrival of Cisco SD-WAN.
1. Zero-Touch Provisioning/Orchestration
The Cisco SD-WAN solution was built from the ground up to be centrally controlled by the vManage controller. Being able to push all the configurations via templates, centralized code upgrades with verification and rollback, and a robust Zero-Touch Provisioning (ZTP) system makes this solution easier to manage and allows you to scale out your deployment quickly. If you can standardize your branch topologies, you can migrate them to SD-WAN extremely quickly and efficiently.
Once the solution is online, the orchestration of the platform kicks in. Being able to make changes to templates and policy that affect hundreds of routers in a single click is extremely powerful. Changes that used to take days now take seconds to implement.
2. WAN Segmentation
Segmenting certain networks (customer records, credit card process, etc.) at the branch is something we have been doing with VLANS, VRFs and firewalls for years. Extending those secure segments end-to-end over the WAN has always been a challenge requiring the use of complex technologies such as MPLS.
With Cisco SD-WAN, segmentation is built in, allowing traffic to maintain segmentation across a common WAN transport. This is done with a “VPN” tag inside the IPsec header.
3. Cloud Integration
The Cisco SD-WAN solution has a feature called “Cloud onRamp” to support SaaS and IaaS deployments.
SD-WAN routers at the remote sites and primary sites perform quality probing on their internet exits to support SaaS applications, such as Office 365, and build a quality of experience (QoE) score. The internet exit with the best QoE score is selected to carry the traffic for the selected SaaS application.
This allows customers to take advantage of SaaS applications with confidence knowing their SD-WAN solution can optimize the experience.
Many customers also have investments in private clouds using an IaaS consumption model. Virtual Cisco SD-WAN routers can be installed in AWS or Azure directly from the marketplace, allowing customers to extend their SD-WAN fabric into their cloud networks.