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Bringing Software-Defined Networking to the WAN

Today, I am pleased to announce that we will be showcasing the  Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) Application for the APIC-EM controller with early adopter customers at Cisco Live San Diego next week. For those of you familiar with Cisco’s SDN solutions, the APIC-EM builds on Cisco’s ACI architecture to extend Software Defined Networking from the Data Center to the WAN and Access areas of your network.

Before diving into the IWAN App, you might be wondering what is “Software Defined Networking for the WAN” or “SD-WAN” is. The simple answer is that the same benefits that SDN brings to the Data Center can be applied to the Wide Area Network. SDN for the WAN is all about moving from feature by feature configuration to policy and intent driven management. Benefits achieved include reduced costs to operate the WAN and optimize bandwidth. It’s about improving your application experience, enabling digital experiences in your remote branches, and enabling you to move to cloud based applications without giving up on application performance. Finally, it’s about WAN resiliency. Crucially, you must achieve all of this while maintaining end-to-end security and this requires enhancing security capabilities.

Sounds like a lot? It is, and that’s why we (and most of the industry) are so excited about the changes happening in the WAN. To boil it down, as I talk to customers about evolving their WAN architecture to meet the growing bandwidth and performance demands generated by mobile devices, digital stores, cloud based applications, and IoT sensors – to name a few – customers are focused on a short list of business outcomes:

  • Greater business agility with faster application delivery
  • Reducing costs with simplified operations and management
  • Improving business continuity with high availability and resiliency

If these business outcomes sound familiar it is because we are addressing them today with our Intelligent WAN Solution (IWAN) and have been talking about them for the past few years. What’s unique about Cisco is that we have built IWAN to be integrated with our industry leading ISR and ASR 1000 routers while many others have chosen to go with a pure overlay. By combining the strengths of IOS XE software with rock solid hardware to provide detailed visibility across all layers of the network, the Cisco IWAN solution has a much more intimate understanding of network conditions and can make better and faster decisions about how to direct traffic over the WAN. IWAN also retains all of the inherent resiliency, security, and self-healing aspects that routing protocols were developed to provide. Combine this with Cisco’s industry-leading security portfolio as well as our end-to-end vision for policy based infrastructure (ACI) and we have a solution is pretty hard to beat. Read More »

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Cisco Intelligent WAN Delivers on SD-WAN Business Requirements

I was excited to attend the Open Networking User Group Conference last week at Columbia University in New York. The Open Networking User Group is a community of IT business leaders who exchange ideas and best practices for implementing Open Networking and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) designs. One of the ONUG working groups is the SD-WAN Working Group which was my main interest for attending this event. The SD-WAN working group has determined a set of 10 business requirements (based on user-developed use cases) that Enterprises should consider when evaluating SD-WAN solutions:

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Secrets to Ensuring Application Performance at the Branch

Ensuring application experience at the branch is a daunting task. IT must look beyond traditional WAN challenges (like bandwidth, transport type, and speed) to applications experience. As time-to-market becomes a pillar of enterprise’s competitive advantages, application experience is key to ensuring fast service and high customer satisfaction.

In today’s connected world, users demand instant connectivity and seamless experience. As the business innovates, the burden on the WAN intensifies, yet three-fourth (75%) of today enterprises say their bandwidth budget will remain flat[1]. IT knows this, and they plan ahead. They evolve their network into a hybrid WAN (see Figure 1), utilize the latest technologies, but application performance still suffers. Why?

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IT Business Leaders Open Up at ONUG

This week, May 13-14, ONUG, or the Open Networking User Group, will meet at Columbia University’s Alfred Lerner Hall in New York City, NY.

Columbia-Campus_SM-300x200

ONUG is the leading user-driven community of IT Business Leaders, CTOs, network architects, especially including those implementing SDN, who are focused on leveraging the power of their engineering and procurement to influence the pace and deployment of open networking solutions.

ONUG

If you are planning on attending, I’d like to provide you with a quick overview of the activities Cisco will be participating in at the Open Networking User Group.

On conference day 1, May 13, the SD-WAN and the Virtual Network Overlay Working Groups will present their top ten findings and present their work.

Check out the SD-WAN Working Group Update with Cisco speaker, Steve Wood, Principal Engineer, Enterprise Routing, from 10:00-10:45 am.

Then during the Technology Showcase Break, meet Sumanth Kakaraparthi, Product Manager, Enterprise Routing and Bill Reilly, Technical Marketing Engineer, Enterprise Routing who will deliver an IWAN/SD-WAN Demo at the Cisco demo station.

Next, attend the Virtual Networks/Overlays Working Group Update with Cisco speaker, Mike Cohen, Director of Product Management, Insieme Networks, on May 13 from 12:00-12:45 pm.

Following these updates will be a luncheon presentation: “Faster WAN Delivery: Software Defined WAN-as-a-Service” on May 13 from 1:30-2:30 pm delivered by Cisco speaker, Jeff Reed, VP, Enterprise Infrastructure and Solutions Group.  Jeff will be joined by partner speakers: Jeff Gray, Glue Networks CEO and Matt Cook, Forsythe Sr. Director – Network & Workspace Solutions.

From 4:05-5:00pm, there will be a lively debate on “Closed vs. Open Source Software” moderated by Ernest Lefner, Bank of America, between Charles Giancarlo, Silver Lake, taking the Pro Closed position and Lew Tucker, Cisco VP/CTO for Openstack, taking the Pro Open position.  You can carry on the debates yourselves afterwards at the Cocktail Reception from 5:00-7:00.

The next day on May 14 from 2:45-3:45 pm there will be a Town Hall Meeting with leaders from Facebook, Ansible, Nuage, vArmour and our own, Mike Dvorkin, Cisco Distinguished Engineer, Insieme Networks, who will all speak on “Will the DevOps Model Deliver in the Enterprise?”.

Finally, that evening join us at a Cisco Sponsored After Party from 5:00 – 9:00 pm.

For Further Information

Cisco Intelligent WAN

ONUG Blog – VXLAN Comes of Age with BGP-EVPN

MP-BGP eVPN control plane for VXLAN – SDN is growing up

Cisco Border Gateway Protocol Control Plane for Virtual Extensible LAN

VXLAN Network with MP-BGP EVPN Control Plane

Follow ONUG

LinkedIn Groups Open-Networking-User-Group

Twitter ONUG

OpenNetworkingUserGroup.com

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Bringing Up a New Branch Site the Easy Way with Prime Infrastructure – Part 5

Last week, I concentrated on how to use Cisco Prime Infrastructure to do troubleshooting for your network. Today, as the 5th and final post of my 5-part blog series, I’ll look at how to maintain network health for your branch site users with Prime. As a quick recap, here’s my blog series on how to set up networking with Prime for a new branch site.

WAN deployment – blog 1
Converged wired and wireless  – blog 2
Application performance – blog 3
Troubleshooting – blog 4
Network health – blog 5 (this blog)
 steve song blog 5 pic 1

As designed, you have successfully brought up your new branch site and the network is now in production. And you are well prepared to troubleshoot if anything goes wrong. Before you declare “mission accomplished”, there is one more step you can take to achieve long-term success. Just like preventive healthcare can help a person to stay healthy, Prime gives you a number of tools to monitor and maintain your network health. By making full use of these tools, you are prepared to address potential issues before they impact your network.

With Prime, you can
– Keep track of network changes with network topology maps and Device 360
° Views;
– Maintain centralized visualization across multiple Prime instances with Operations Center ; and
– Stay engaged with Cisco support integration
.

One of the things that always excites network engineers and managers is an accurate network topology map. Prime Infrastructure can provide such a map for you, which includes all your branch sites and main campus site. If there are any changes, you’ll know right away. Or, if you want to know more details, you can drill down to each networking device with Prime Device 360° View. The chart below shows a portion of Cisco’s production network topology map. Read More »

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