Today’s organizations face a constant balancing act: minimizing complexity across networks while securely enabling growing numbers of devices, multicloud access, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications without compromising end-user performance. Organizations need a secure, agile network fabric to keep everything and everyone securely connected and collaborating. 

With our recent announcement of Cisco Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms Family and Catalyst Cellular Gateways, Cisco has introduced greater functionality in our SD-WAN solution that empower our customers with a secure, reliable, and agile experience. In addition to creating a seamless digital footprint across data center, cloud, branch, and remote workforce, these new features serve as critical building blocks for a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture. 

Chief amongst these new functionalities are enhanced policy-based routing to secure internet gateway (SIG) and equal-cost multi-path (ECMP) load balancing. Now let’s take a closer look of these two new features. 

Application Steering with Enhanced policy-based Routing to SIG

The prevailing method to steer network traffic to SIG, such as Cisco Umbrella, is achieved via a service route. A service route is the path from the WAN edge to the services on a service server or datacenter. Traditionally, this workflow is based on a catch-all method, where all traffic from the WAN edge is routed into SIG in an identical manner. This does not allow customers to selectively steer specific applications or traffic based on policy or business requirements. 

Video conferencing, where predictable latency and optimized throughput is of critical importance, is a good example. Sending video conference traffic over a WAN interface to cloud security can increase end-to-end latency, which could lead to a poor user experience. With enhanced policy-based routing, customer will now have the ability to selectively steer applications or traffic based on specific business intent and SLA performance requirements. 

Better Performance with ECMP Load Balancing 

ECMP routing is a routing strategy where next-hop packet forwarding to a single destination can occur over multiple “best paths”. ECMP load balancing offers substantial increases in bandwidth by distributing traffic over multiple paths based on overall network usage. In the event of a failure, traffic will seamlessly failover to another active link, thereby ensure overall network reliability and minimize the impact. 

While Cisco Umbrella has supported ECMP load balancing for years, our latest enhancement extends ECMP load balancing to third party SIGs. This enhancement serves as a proof point of our commitment to open programmability, and ultimately brings additional reliability and high-availability for our customers whom wish to have a multi-vendor network environment.

Cisco SD-WAN is playing central role in securely connecting all major organizations and verticals alike and it is the most widely deployed SD-WAN across Fortune 2000 and 70% of Fortune 100 enterprises. Cisco SD-WAN supports organizations with their business requirements today, while preparing for unforeseen networking challenges in the future.

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Robert Tang

Product Marketing