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Bringing Up a New Branch Site the Easy Way with Prime Infrastructure – Part 1


March 31, 2015 - 2 Comments

If you have a need to set up networking for a new satellite clinic, a bank branch, a retail store or any other branch site, you probably have a lot of pressure to do it fast. After all, branches are where business actions take place. Did you know that branch locations and users consume 70% ~ 90% of a typical company’s business resources? Anything you can do to speed up the deployment and to reduce resource consumption is a big plus for your company’s topline growth and bottom line savings. In this 5-part blog series, I will share with you how to do so easily with Cisco Prime Infrastructure. I’ll use weekly blogs to accomplish it, and here’s the plan.

WAN deployment – blog 1 (This blog)
Converged wired and wireless deployment – blog 2
Application performance – blog 3
Troubleshooting – blog 4
Network health – blog 5
 Steve Song Blog pic 1

 

Let’s get started right away. The first thing for any remote site networking is WAN connectivity. That’s our focus of this blog. Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) solution is an ideal way to go that provides transport flexibility and intelligent path control, plus support for high performance applications and security. But first thing first. We need to think about how to bring a new branch router into production.

Whether you completely configure your new branch router before shipping it to the new location, or you partially stage it followed by on-site completion, it takes a lot of manual configuration and testing work. Instead, you can use Prime Infrastructure to greatly simplify this process. Prime supports Cisco plug-n-play technology, which means automated deployment with zero-touch. With plug-n-play and Prime, you only need a technician on site to mount the new device and to connect the power and network cables. That is all it takes to start. Prime automatically discovers the new device and downloads the correct IOS image and base configuration to the new router. You have a fast and easy start.

With your new branch router up and running, you have connected the lifeline to the branch site. Next, you can use Prime to deploy IWAN, including:

– DMVPN
– PfR
– QoS and AVC
.

To do that, you simply go to Prime Infrastructure to launch an IWAN workflow.

Steve Song blog pic 2

Dynamic Multipoint VPN (DMVPN) is the building block for IWAN and it provides a transport-independent design. It allows scalable, automatic and site-to-site IPsec VPNs for branch office networks. It is a great technology, but a number of steps are needed to complete its entire configuration when you do it manually. If you have some hands-on experience with DMVPN or even a simple IPsec VPN connection, you’ll appreciate what Prime can do to automate DMVPN configurations. We’ll get to how Prime deploys it in just a moment.

Another important IWAN component is Cisco Performance Routing (PfR). It helps to ensure application performance by choosing the best traffic path for the most important business applications. Other useful technologies include QoS and Cisco Application and Visibility Control (AVC). Prime can help enhance application performance by dramatically simplifying these provisioning processes, and by providing further analysis capabilities that we’ll discuss later in this blog series.

So, how do we use Prime Infrastructure to deploy DMVPN, PfR, QoS and AVC? As you can see in the screenshot below, it is as simple as choosing the right templates as the next step.

Steve Song blog pic 3

If you are familiar with Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs), you’ll be delighted to know that these IWAN workflow templates are all based on Cisco CVDs.

After choosing the right configuration template, your next step is to select your new branch router. Recall that you already have it in Prime’s inventory with plug-n-play.

Steve Song blog pic 4

Before you push the config live, you have an opportunity to make your edits and save is as your own template in case you have more branches to deploy.

Steve Song blog pic 5

All set to go? Now pull the trigger and push the config to your new branch router. Are you ready for the good news? Your new branch site IWAN configuration is now complete!

Ease of use with speedy deployments and application performance enabled by IWAN. This is what you can get from Prime Infrastructure. Prime makes IWAN deployments an easy task.

I’ll talk to you next week about how Prime helps with LAN and wireless deployments for your new branch site.

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you Michael. Appreciate your feedback!

  2. These are awesome tutorials - I'll be referring customers to these like crazy as we try to help them get PI off the bench and working for them. Thanks a ton!