When riding a motorcycle, it’s recommended to keep your eyes looking far down the road. This increases your reaction time to potential hazards you may encounter. I believe it holds true for the current business environment we are in. The pandemic has changed the way we look at connectivity for the workforce and has dramatically transformed infrastructure. Multicloud and hybrid cloud initiatives are still accelerating to ensure users can securely connect to applications they need from anywhere.

In the next normal, more employees than ever will stay remote, or work part time in the office. The ‘Branch-of-one’ has become common. Providing secure access to any application, deployed in a cloud or on-premise, from anywhere, and over any transport can be difficult to manage – especially since deploying and supporting this environment is fraught with challenges.

On February 24, 2021, KDDI America, Inc. announced it is adding to it’s portfolio a new managed SD-WAN service offering based on Cisco SD-WAN. The service is offered in the Americas by KDDIA through Cisco’s global Managed Services Partner (MSP) Program.  KDDIA is leveraging Cisco’s technology innovations in security, analytics and assurance, and multicloud connectivity. KDDIA began offering its Microsoft Azure Cloud Services offerings in April 2020.  KDDI feels this alongside the Cisco SD-WAN offering is the perfect pairing for its customers’ cloud and connectivity needs.

“Today, enterprise networks must be rearchitected to adapt to the increases in Cloud Services usage, and distributed locations. The SD-WAN Solution provided by KDDIA can enable an enterprise network to be more resilient and adaptable.” said Masatoshi Nobuhara, President and CEO, KDDI America. “As an IT company, KDDIA must always adapt to our customer’s ever-changing and growing  needs. By expanding our collaboration with Cisco, KDDIA is well poised to provide Azure Cloud and Cisco SD-WAN as a perfect combination for our customers.”

KDDI considered the partnership between Cisco and Microsoft Azure and their continued history of innovation to be of enormous value to customers. Cisco SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN. The Virtual WAN integration between Cisco and Microsoft extends the Cisco SD-WAN fabric directly into the Azure Virtual WAN enabling users to automatically connect to other networking gateways and routers within the Virtual WAN hubs, and push and pull policies or requirements to the Hub in the Virtual WAN as a site within Cisco SD-WAN – with little or no additional configuration. Leveraging Azure Virtual WAN means that users benefit from enhanced WAN performance without sacrificing security, especially at the intersection of the cloud and the network. For KDDI, this was an important factor in deciding on adding Cisco SD-WAN to their portfolio.

Innovation that elevates managed services

Integration of Cisco Cloud OnRamp with Azure Virtual WAN provides the following key benefits:

  1. “Book-ended” SD-WAN connectivity with Azure Virtual WAN preserves Cisco SD-WAN’s advanced features.
  2. Enhanced resiliency for the Cisco SD-WAN router deployed in the Virtual WAN hub is maintained by providing the same resiliency and orchestration features as other native networking services in the Virtual WAN.
  3. Simplifies routing management via integration and BGP peering between Azure Virtual WAN hub router and Cisco SD-WAN router.
  4. Enables automatic any-to-any connectivity thus enabling SD-WAN branches to automatically connect to host VNets and other branches.

Existing Cisco SD-WAN customers unlock the Cloud OnRamp capability from their vManage panel, giving them the ability to use the same policy, security, and other SD-WAN policies for all Cisco SD-WAN devices — whether on-premise or in a cloud.

Cisco offers superior integration of on-premise locations with the Azure cloud infrastructure. When KDDI was evaluating options to maximize agility and flexibility with an SD-WAN managed service that is best-in-class for cloud-delivered enterprise solutions, they chose Cisco SD-WAN.

With Cisco and Microsoft, the innovation extends to Microsoft 365.  Cisco SD-WAN optimizes users’ SaaS experience with direct internet access, automatic optimal path selection, URL categorization for Microsoft 365 applications and informed network routing.  These are innovations that further streamline the customer experience.

Providing exceptional customer experience requires to look far enough down the road to increase the reaction time for corrections that may be needed. The partnership between Cisco and Microsoft ensures continued innovation for the flexibility and adaptability your managed services will require to address ever changing customer needs.

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JL Valente

Vice President, Product Management, Enterprise Routing and SD-WAN

Networking Experiences Team