Ramesh Prabagaran, Cisco’s senior director of SD-WAN, said the software can run on all ISR and ASR routers, as well as ENCS 5000 routers, that are four years old or younger. “The company has more than one million of these routers deployed, and now they can run Viptela’s SD-WAN capabilities with Cisco IOS XE software,” said Prabagaran. “Existing routers will suddenly become cloud controlled.”
He said these younger routers, sold within the last four years, run Cisco’s IOS XE software. And Cisco has been able to integrate the Viptela SD-WAN software into IOS XE.
Prabagaran, who came over to Cisco along with the Viptela team in August 2017, said that at the time of the acquisition Viptela’s SD-WAN technology was deployed with about 200 customers. Since joining Cisco “that same product has been deployed to almost 1,000 customers,” he said. “We’ve seen in the last year deployments in leaps and bounds.”
Of course new customers can also deploy Cisco SD-WAN. A typical new implementation for adding a branch to the corporate WAN starts with shipping the desired router to the site to provide MPLS, Internet, or 4G LTE access to Ethernet or WiFi nodes in the office. Local office workers power up the router without needing any technical configuration knowledge. IT uses vManage as a cloud application to connect with the newly installed router, and it downloads configuration files.
The next phase of Cisco’s integration of Viptela includes extending the functionality beyond the WAN into the data center, cloud, and access networks. “That’s planned for the next few months,” said Prabagaran.
Fortinet has been bragging that it’s won a couple of big SD-WAN deals competing against Cisco because Fortinet’s technology includes security. Asked how Cisco’s SD-WAN deals with security, Prabagaran said, “We have covered it slightly differently; we build core functions and build security into the mix.” He named application firewalls and segmentation as two Cisco security features. Segmentation keeps sensitive data from co-mingling with regular traffic.