Cisco bought SD-WAN vendor Viptela for $610 million last year. Its new Cisco SD-WAN Security product combines Viptela’s technology with Meraki, Cisco’s cloud-managed IT service and wireless LAN product, plus Cisco security software.
On the security side of things, Cisco’s SD-WAN now integrates Cisco’s application-aware enterprise firewall, URL filtering technologies, and intrusion prevention system using Talos for threat intelligence. And its vManage dashboard simplifies how to deploy Cisco’s cloud security technology called Umbrella.
Jeff Reed, SVP of product management for Cisco’s security business group, hinted at this combined SD-WAN and security product earlier this year at the RSA Conference. In an interview with SDxCentral, he said the “SD-WAN transition and the integration of security into that” are top of mind for Cisco, and added that there are “a lot of really interesting things we are doing between Viptela and Meraki on the SD-WAN side and Umbrella in cloud security.”
Cisco also partnered with Microsoft on its new offering so that its SD-WAN monitors in real-time all available paths to the Microsoft Office 365 cloud. Using Microsoft Office URLs, Cisco determines the user’s closest cloud, which it claims results in up to 40 percent faster performance.
Both the networking and security capabilities can be purchased through a single license model and managed through a single interface. The SD-WAN Security and Microsoft Office 365 software will be available in the fourth quarter.
Service providers and other partners can build new services on top of Cisco SD-WAN via open APIs. To this end, Cisco DevNet created new SD-WAN learning labs and sandboxes to help developers and network engineers.
And finally, Cisco is offering two new integrated services routers (ISR) designed for small and large branch offices, and a new fixed-price, SD-WAN Quick Start service that gives customers access to SD-WAN remote implementation and knowledge transfer capabilities.
Versus VMware’s SD-WAN?
The new SD-WAN and security product “brings the best of breed SD-WAN and security into a single platform,” said Prashanth Shenoy, vice president of marketing at Cisco.
This sounds an awful lot like VMware’s story it’s selling with its newly-branded VMware NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud. VMware acquired VeloCloud last year, and in May it folded the SD-WAN technology, along with other networking and security products, into its NSX portfolio.
Last month, Gartner published its first Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure. It ranked VMware ranked highest in vision and Cisco’s SD-WAN placed first in execution.
Shenoy says Cisco’s new product has several differentiators.
“The first thing: we acquired Viptela over a year and a half back to make sure the underlying routing platforms we have — that VeloCloud and NSX don’t have — is built into our platform,” he said.
Plus, Cisco has a broader security portfolio compared to VMware, which offers microsegmentation capabilities from NSX and AppDefense workload protection.
“This is truly best of breed, whether our firewall or our IPS [Intrusion Prevention System] security,” Shenoy said. “What VMware has is more an enterprise agreement where they clubbed VeloCloud and NSX together.”
New Catalyst Products
In addition to its SD-WAN announcement, Cisco also extended its Catalyst 9000 portfolio for wired access to wireless and mid-market customers. It introduced two new products: the Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controller and the Catalyst 9200 switch, which is designed for customers that need a simple branch switch.
Both products are built on IOS-XE, which standardizes Cisco’s operating system for campus, branch switching, routing, and wireless. The move also expands Cisco’s intent-based networking capabilities such as automation from large wired networks to wireless and simple branch deployments.
“We’ve been on this path of providing intent-based technology across multiple domains, whether the data center environment or the WAN environment,” Shenoy said. “With this we are bringing the concept and capacities of intent-based networking everywhere, to deployments of all sizes with wireless being a key domain.”
The Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers can be deployed on premises, in any public or private cloud, or virtually embedded on Catalyst 9000 switches. The new wireless controllers integrate with Cisco’s DNA Center software, which allows customers to manage both their wired and wireless environments from the same place. They also include 100 GB performance, hot-patching to simplify and eliminate software updated downtime, encrypted traffic analytics (ETA), and streaming telemetry, all of which Cisco says are industry firsts for a wireless controller.
The new Catalyst 9200 switch comes with built-in security features. It supports policy-based microsegmentation and macrosegmentation and can detect malware on the device. It also automates patching and updates software without needing to reboot.