Enterprise applications are quickly moving away from the data center and into the cloud. As service providers come to see this as a seismic technology shift rather than just a blip on the radar, they’re wondering how to deploy applications faster and easier while keeping them secure. Network teams need to learn to manage complex multicloud and edge environments that operate as a single WAN while ensuring consistent day-to-day operations.

This is complicated by the introduction of Internet of Things (IoT), Machine to Machine (M2M) communications, and Operational Technology that adds complexity and places new demands on the network. These connected endpoints require more bandwidth while competing against growing workforce mobility. An uncompromising approach to access, performance, and security is essential, no matter where people work and play.

To this end, AT&T recently developed a managed service offing based on our secure virtualized Software Defined–Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solution. Secure SD-WAN makes the management and operation of a WAN much simpler. It decouples networking hardware from its control mechanism using virtualization technology, allowing companies to build better performing and secure WANs.

A Growing Revenue Generator

Last year was a high point for successful SD-WAN deployments. According to technology research firm Omdia, SD-WAN revenue grew by 90 percent to $2 billion in 2019, compared to $1.1 billion the year prior.

Omdia also noted that the SD-WAN market revenue reached $639.5 million in the final quarter of 2019, a $275 million increase over the same period in 2018. The firm expects revenue to expand to $4.8 billion by the year 2024.

Security and Scalability are at the Top of the Wish List

The Cisco Secure SD-WAN solution offers integrated security capabilities for threat protection across distributed workforces and is available to AT&T customers around the world. Our built-in security consistently maintains threat protection across clouds and branch offices without sacrificing performance. AT&T customers can also combine our SD-WAN solution with dedicated or shared Internet or LTE, AT&T Virtual Private Network (VPN) MPLS, or other WAN services.

Enterprise customers frequently look to managed service providers to help reduce the burdens of managing, provisioning, and troubleshooting complex services. Managed SD-WAN offers secure, direct access to public or private clouds, supports multiple types of connectivity, improves control, and can lower costs.

Cisco SD-WAN
Figure 1. Predictability, security, and simplicity are a few of the benefits of Cisco SD-WAN.

In the case of AT&T, the company requires effective security management to support enterprise customers in its network and digital transformations. This need was never more important than it is today – businesses want to expand and scale without the worry of securing their branch locations and distributed global workforces. Our best-in-class security features include an application-aware enterprise firewall, advanced malware protection, intrusion prevention, and URL filtering.

Software as a Service…Anywhere

Enterprise customers moving workloads to multiple clouds are looking for fast and secure access to applications that can be hosted anywhere, whether in the public cloud, the data center, or on a private Software as a Service (SaaS) platform. When working with hybrid, multicloud environments like what AT&T put together, our solution addresses these requirements by providing businesses with integrated security, application optimization, and intent-based networking policies.

The SD-WAN solution utilizes our Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) and Aggregation Services Routers (ASRs) as well as Enterprise Network Compute System (ENCS). AT&T Managed Services oversees the network and security elements using our vManage controller with a single cloud-based dashboard designed to reduce complexity.

Our SD-WAN solution gives AT&T a full range of functionality like optimized cloud connectivity, improved visibility into performance, and intelligent dynamic routing. This provides a high level of control, allowing for flexible deployment options, optimal application performance, and improved total cost of ownership.

Viptela-based Solution

Our Secure SD-WAN uses technology developed by Viptela, a company we acquired in 2017 and one of the earliest entrants in SD-WAN development.

Their software-driven, cloud-first WAN architecture makes an excellent partner to Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA), building on its virtualization, automation, and analytics capabilities. The Viptela solution augments our on-premise routing platform, giving us a complementary cloud-centric approach to control management and orchestration. This simplifies the deployment and management of the WAN for partners like AT&T.

A Closer Look at Features and Functionality

With the vManage dashboard, you can easily connect all company data centers, WAN branches, colocation facilities, core/campus locations, cloud infrastructure, and remote workers. It provides simple automation of virtual private gateway deployment in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) environments.

SD-WAN Architecture
Figure 2. Secure cloud-scale SD-WAN architecture controlled through vManage

We provide a flexible architecture to extend the SD-WAN to any environment, and it automatically discovers, authenticates, and provisions new and existing devices whether deployed in the cloud or on-premises. Once our SD-WAN is connected, each network device finds the best path to the applications you need via any transport method (broadband, MPLS, 5G/LTE, satellite) from any location (edge, core, cloud) for any network service (voice, application, security).

Also, the advanced vAnalytics engine accessed through the vManage console lets you quickly provide stakeholders with the visibility necessary to isolate issues in the WAN. The enhanced event-correlation engine cuts through noisy raw event data and its contextual analysis provides a greater understanding of when to turn service interruptions into alarms.

Some other useful components of vAnalytics include:
• End-to-end visibility into applications and infrastructure across the entire SD-WAN fabric
• Real-time information for failure correlation, cross-customer benchmarking, and application performance scoring
• What-if scenarios for performance forecasting
• Assistance planning application provisioning, bandwidth increases, and branch expansions
• Intelligent recommendations based on existing policies, templates, and preferences
• Application Quality of Service (QoS) categorization and policy changes for predictable performance

We’re following our strategy by bringing the next-generation Secure SD-WAN solutions to market. Our customers and partners such as AT&T that require best-in-class security, cloud networking, pure-play enterprise-grade SD-WAN, and WAN Network as a Service (NaaS) are pleased with our Viptela-based solution.

Read more about our Secure SD-WAN offerings. Also, check out our service provider SD-WAN product solutions page for more information.




Shaun McCarthy

Vice President, Worldwide Sales

Mass-Scale Infrastructure Group