For the past two years, I have been proud to work on bringing the next generation of SD-WAN technology to our customers. We’ve achieved great success, at significant scale. We’ve learned a lot along the way, as have our customers. It’s safe to say that adopting SD-WAN is important to them.

Today, we can disclose that over 20,000 customers trust Cisco for SD-WAN solutions across our Viptela and Meraki lines (as of Q1, FY2020). We have deployments across industries, and around the world.

Backbone of the Modern Enterprise

IDC research shows that almost 95% of the enterprises they surveyed expect to be using SD-WAN within 24 months1. This tracks with our own metrics: As of August 2019, 70% of the Fortune 100 are using Cisco’s SD-WAN solutions.

Clearly, SD-WAN is a critical technology for businesses adopting cloud services. It is the common connective tissue between the campus, branch, IoT, data center, and cloud. It brings all the network domains together and delivers the outcomes business requires. It must align user and device policies, and provide assurance to meet application service-level agreements. It must deliver robust security to every device, and every cloud, that the enterprise’s data touches.

Every customer is looking for agility, but not at the expense of security, visibility, or control.

The transition to SD-WAN is accelerating, thanks to the pervasive adoption of cloud services. Today’s businesses are adopting clouds apps like Microsoft’s Office365 productivity suite and many other SaaS apps. Our surveys show our customers have, on average, 30 paid SaaS applications each. And that they are actually using many more: over 100 in several cases.

As our customers reach these levels of cloud usage, they quickly find that their WAN architectures must change, as well as their entire approach to security. Our customers need to maintain choice and control as their WAN stretches over networks that are outside their control.

Cisco SD-WAN offers simplicity, cost savings, scale, application performance, security, visibility, and investment protection.

To help them grapple with the different public clouds, SaaS apps, colocation facilities and the different types of connectivity available, customers are looking for a trusted advisor to help them navigate the maze of options. What they can’t accept are WAN solutions that require compromise, like getting better application experience, but at the expense of security.

Cisco provides the most secure cloud scale SD-WAN. It is part of our wider strategy to deliver multi-domain networking with an intent-based architecture.

Secure and Cloud-Scale – Why customers trust Cisco 

The only way for Cisco to make the move to SD-WAN work is to listen to and collaborate with our customers and partners. We have been doing this for years and will continue to do so. It’s why we are, and will remain, the market leader.

For example, National Instruments was facing the need for drastically more bandwidth across its 88 sites. But the network team’s budget, and its reliance on existing networking links, wasn’t up to the challenge. Stopgap solutions were adding complexity and frustrating employees.

We partnered with National Instruments to bring their WAN under control, with Cisco SD-WAN powered by Viptela. National Instruments’ new network has 30 times the bandwidth of their previous solution, it’s easier to manage, and it’s less expensive to run.

As Luis Castillo, Global Network Team Manager for National Instruments said, “Having more bandwidth at our sites means that our WAN issues aren’t impacting business operations. Software updates that used to take eight hours to replicate across the network now take 10 minutes. We don’t have to bother with call admission control or limiting video quality or the other measures we had to take to deal with bandwidth constraints. We have been unbelievably impressed with the performance, reaching numbers we’ve never been able to before, while at the same time reducing costs like never before.”  (See the National Instruments Case Study.)

In Australia and New Zealand, the plumbing company Reece Group, with 5,000 employees over 600 branches, had embarked on a digital transformation. Peter Castle, a Network Administrator, told us the company wanted to provide an always-connected workplace, for all its staffers across all its locations.

Reece went with Cisco SD-WAN to be able to deploy new apps and features, bring up new locations quickly, and prioritize network traffic for cloud applications. Castle said that with Cisco SD-WAN, “My life as a network administrator is significantly easier. To deploy new configurations and policy changes across the entire network, what would have taken a very long time previously, touching many devices individually, now takes a matter of minutes.” (See the Reece Group Case Study.)

In banking, we’ve worked with customers like Associated Bank, Wisconsin’s largest bank. The institution has over 5,000 employees over more than 250 branches. After evaluating eight SD-WAN platforms for security, traffic management, scalability, and simplicity of operation, they installed the Meraki MX platform to meet their needs. Associated’s network architect Tim Larson says this solution saved the company over $500,000 annually while improving its average bandwidth to branches by 7,800%. (Read the Associated Bank Case Study.)

I’m  proud of what we were able to do for National Instruments, Reece Group, Associated Bank, and thousands more SD-WAN customers. Our portfolio is the broadest and the deepest in the industry, and we look forward to working with even more businesses who have their own unique needs.

Simplicity, cost savings, scale, application performance, security, visibility, and investment protection. Combined with our world-class partners and global support and services, we are delivering peace of mind while accelerating our customers’ cloud strategies.

Read more about Cisco’s SD-WAN products and services.

1: IDC Technology Spotlight, sponsored by Cisco. SD-WAN: Security, Application Experience and Operational Simplicity Drive Market Growth, April 2019







Sachin Gupta

Senior Vice President, Product Management

Cisco Intent-Based Networking Group