When I meet CIOs in small and large enterprises, they almost always ask if Cisco can do more to help their employees get the best application experience in cloud apps and services, while maintaining high security.

While the internet is rapidly becoming the preferred method of connectivity due to cost and availability, it does not provide the security, consistency or traditional wide area network connectivity that IT organizations demand.  That is why organizations are deploying SD-WAN technology to securely link corporate headquarters, remote workers in branch offices and datacenters using a distributed connectivity model to cloud that optimizes access to cloud applications.

At Cisco, we have seen phenomenal growth of our secure, cloud-scale SD-WAN solution in the past few years as customers embrace its flexibility, scalability, and security.  With Cisco SD-WAN customers can quickly establish an SD-WAN overlay fabric to connect data centers, branches, campuses, and colocation facilities to improve network speed, security, and efficiency. However, the best SD-WAN architecture for customers is delivered through close partnerships with industry leading cloud providers.

Cisco and Microsoft partnership

I am happy to announce that Cisco and Microsoft are extending their existing partnership to improve network connectivity to cloud-based applications to create a better user experience, seamlessly enable direct Internet access to trusted applications such as Office 365 and enable customers to leverage Azure Virtual WAN to route and secure traffic.

Together, the two industry-leading companies will help customers improve connectivity from branch offices to Microsoft by integrating Cisco’s SD-WAN with Microsoft’s Azure Virtual WAN and Office 365.  This integration will enable customers to seamlessly extend their WAN to Microsoft Azure Cloud and, in parallel, deliver optimized Office 365 experiences.

Last year, Cisco announced improved application performance in connecting Cisco SD-WAN to Microsoft Office 365 by up to 40 percent.  This SD-WAN solution directs Office 365 traffic from the customer site to the closest Microsoft network points of presence using the optimal path, in many cases bypassing the corporate data center, dramatically improving users’ experience.

Today, we are announcing the intent to develop new capabilities that allow IT to seamlessly connect branch offices to Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN directly, using Cisco SD-WAN hosted in Azure.

In addition, Cisco SD-WAN will integrate more deeply with Microsoft Office 365 and be infused with application insights that will enable it to manage optimal network paths more effectively and further improve user experience.

Cisco SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp for Office 365

By combining Cisco’s market-leading, secure, cloud-scale SD-WAN architecture with Microsoft’s Azure Virtual WAN and Office 365, customers can confidently accelerate their hybrid cloud strategies.

This is best expressed by Yousef Khalidi, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Azure Networking:

“As organizations modernize their network with software-defined WAN to support cloud-based digital transformation, Microsoft is excited to announce a deeper partnership with Cisco to integrate Cisco SD-WAN, Azure Virtual WAN and Office 365.”

I am excited at the possibilities of this partnership in the years ahead.


To get a deeper dive on Microsoft’s latest cloud networking innovations, read the Microsoft blog.

If you are interested in participating in an early field trial of these new Cisco SD-WAN capabilities, please reach out to your sales team for more information on how to sign up, or send an email to MSFT_EFT@cisco.com.

For more information about the benefits of using Cisco SD-WAN, make sure to read our Cisco SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp for Office 365 White Paper and view the Cisco Networking Field Day Cloud Networking demo.



Sachin Gupta

Senior Vice President, Product Management

Cisco Intent-Based Networking Group