An Improved SD-WAN Strategy Starts with Network Edge

John Hanahan
An Improved SD-WAN Strategy Starts with Network Edge

At Cisco Live in San Diego this week SD-Wan is a major focus with more than 80 sessions devoted to this topic. Enterprises are clearly interested in managing networks more efficiently and economically. Their customers are dispersed over more geographic locations, processing more data, using a multitude of devices that connect the macro and the micro. To succeed, an enterprise needs to build its digital infrastructure where it can scale to match their opportunities. This involves a distributed IT model, where IT infrastructure is everywhere, a hybrid world, blending cloud and edge.

The digital edge is where all things relevant to your customer’s business proximally intersect and interact for the greatest performance and user experience. It is the future infrastructure, deployed everywhere they need to be to locally interconnect everyone in their supply chain (e.g., employees, partners, customers) securely with clouds, systems, applications, data and things − and integrate everything that matters to their digital business.

When the majority of branch office traffic was confined to an enterprise’s intranet boundary, network hardware (with extended procurement and implementation cycles) was installed in corporate data centers and branch offices to manage traffic. However, with most enterprise traffic now flowing between public clouds and the Internet, enterprises are seeking faster, more efficient means of establishing and managing secure connections between branch offices and cloud environments. They want to simplify network configuration and management by:

  • Quickly deploying network services to support new services or applications,
  • Providing a consistent end-user experience as business expands geographically and across multiple clouds,
  • Privately connecting between two different clouds to accommodate applications that now span multiple clouds,
  • Delivering additional network capacity with minimum impact on CapEx budgets; and
  • Ensuring secure corporate networks as more public endpoints are being exposed

Virtualization which underlies cloud computing is transforming the way network functions are now deployed. Network functionality, initially available through purpose-built hardware devices, is now available as virtualized network functions that can be deployed in minutes, not months. These network functions can be selected from a catalog of functions, configured and deployed on high-performance server hardware on premises, at a branch or on edge devices. Virtualization is transforming how enterprises develop an improved SD-WAN strategy, enabling faster time to market, reduced CapEx and predictable OpEx.

Cisco SD-WAN Available as Virtual Function

Cisco’s SD-WAN provides a superb example of how virtual network functions can be configured. Cisco’s SD-WAN is an enterprise-grade solution for securely connecting branch offices and regional data center hubs using virtual routers. The SD-WAN network function:

  • Provides end-to-end segmentation to protect critical enterprise computer resources.
  • Includes enterprise firewall, intrusion prevention, DNS layer enforcement and URL filtering security.
  • Can be centrally managed, orchestrated and operated via Cisco vManage dashboard
  • Supports RESTful APIs to obtain device and interface information, pass parameters and develop applications.
  • Available as a virtual function, it can be deployed in minutes to meet the needs of connecting a branch to the cloud, improving data traffic flow, or temporarily establishing a connection to test a beta-rollout of a new application at a remote node.

SD-WAN on Network Edge: Enhanced Cisco SD-WAN Functionality

Enterprises are increasingly connected to digital ecosystems of cloud providers, data centers, communication services and business partners. Ease of connectivity and rapid deployment of network functions at the digital edge play a vital role in establishing and maintaining these ecosystems. Equinix addresses these needs through its Network Edge, Platform Equinix and Cloud Exchange Fabric offerings.

Via Network Edge, a digital marketplace of virtual network functions, an enterprise can rapidly deploy Cisco SD-WAN functions on Platform Equinix and take advantage of a multitude of global interconnections. Network Edge offers an ever-increasing selection of virtualized network functions that are pre-integrated with interconnection ecosystems on Platform Equinix, including Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric. Platform Equinix is the world’s largest global platform of interconnected data centers and business ecosystems. Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric directly, securely and dynamically connects distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems globally via Platform Equinix.

With Cisco SD-WAN on Network Edge, we’ve tightly integrated the solution with the Cisco vManage console in order to enable seamless deployment and ongoing management of the virtual function on a Platform Equinix node. Once deployed, the Cisco SD-WAN node at Equinix will work in conjunction with other Cisco SD-WAN nodes on your network with consistent policies applied across the network.

In addition, the pre-integration of Network Edge with Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric allows the option to bypass the Internet and establish a secure, private connection between branch and cloud. In addition to an added level of security, a private connection also boosts data throughput via the option to add additional bandwidth. Enterprises who already use Cisco’s vManage dashboard to manage their physical SD-WAN devices can continue to use it to manage virtual SD-WAN functions deployed on Platform Equinix.

Equinix’s Interconnection Oriented Architecture (IOA) enables an enterprise to modernize its network and accelerate digital transformation by deploying a wide range of virtual network functions at the cloud edge and providing secure connections to cloud providers and thousands of SaaS ecosystem participants.

Learn More on an Improved SD-WAN Strategy

If you’re attending Cisco Live in San Diego we invite you to learn how a digital edge strategy fits into an SD-WAN architecture and how Equinix enhances the capabilities of SD-WAN. To learn how easily you can deploy virtual network functions like Cisco SD-WAN using Network Edge:

If you can’t attend Cisco Live, take a few minutes to learn how Equinix’s Network Edge can transform the way you deploy network functions and manage network infrastructure.


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John Hanahan Sr Director, Product Management at Equinix
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