Best Practices for Deploying Cisco SD-WAN for Hybrid Multicloud Access on Platform Equinix

Jason Lee
John Joyal
Best Practices for Deploying Cisco SD-WAN for Hybrid Multicloud Access on Platform Equinix

As computing and network technologies bring a wider range of services and applications to more and more people around the world, managing the connectivity, security and performance of distributed IT resources have become increasingly complex. Enterprises need to integrate broadband, MPLS and LTE connections into branch offices. Traditional WAN deployments don’t support central management of multiple connection types, direct cloud access and policy enforcement, or strong security across all connection types. Onboarding new sites is often time-consuming, costly and manual. To contend with the growing complexity of distributed networks, architects are turning to network automation using software-defined WANs (SD-WAN).

Market leaders, such as Cisco and Equinix, are not only helping provide secure, flexible, scalable, and proven solutions for SD-WAN, but providing and recommending deployment options to optimize SD-WAN implementations. Options that will improve user experience, provide better performance, reduce expenses and provide policy-driven access for different types of users

Network virtualization helps reduce network complexities

Virtualization is transforming the way WAN services are being implemented. It enables rapid deployment of network functionality; improves performance at a lower cost, centralizes policy management and increases network automation.

According to IDC, worldwide adoption of SD-WAN technology increased from less than 10% of global enterprises in 2017 to 40% in 2018. Acknowledging the advantages, 95% of survey respondents expected to deploy SD-WAN within two years. 1

Location and deployment type are critical considerations to a successful SD-WAN implementation 

Location of SD-WAN deployments – Cloud, Branch, Colocation? 

What are the questions to consider? The first thing to evaluate is where are your users, which clouds (SaaS, PaaS, and/or IaaS) do those users need access to, and what level of performance and security is required.  Where the SD-WAN appliance is placed will greatly impact latency and performance. The deployment should be close to end-users, but also close to the cloud edge. The types of applications in the cloud will also define the type of network access required, private connectivity will provide better performance.

Deployment Type – Physical vs. Virtual

There are key differences between choosing a physical hardware stack or a virtual service. Your SD-WAN architecture may require a mix of both to be fully optimized. First, let’s dive into the physical hardware option.  This option is best suited forlarge sites with high (10Gbps+) bandwidth requirements and complex service configurations. Other factors that may lead to choosing a physical hardware solution include; maximizing ROI of existing hardware,IT has standardized on specific network hardware devices or vendors, well-established in-house technical experience with hardware devices. Workload performance may influence the decision and you may need to look at extending hardware at the edge in cloud onramp data centers.

The second deployment option is running an SD-WAN appliance as a virtualized network function (VNF). Benefits of VNF deployments include rapid deployment times to quickly establish a presence in new markets or expand your geographic footprint. It will complement existing physical IT resources via virtual services to improve network performance or security, and can be deployed in proximity to both cloud providers and end-users to support “at the edge” use cases such as IoT, machine learning and 5G networks.  This can reduce network infrastructure CAPEX budgets and physical network hardware. 

The power of Cisco SD-WAN deployed on Platform Equinix

According to IDC’s most recent market share report, Cisco holds 46.4% of the Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure market share2.  Together we offer a tightly integrated portfolio of SDN, NFV and edge product capabilities providing customers a choice of physical and virtual deployment models for branch, multicloud, and hybrid IT use cases. On Platform EquinixTM, organizations are deploying these solutions at strategic locations across the globe to access the largest number of networks, clouds and ecosystem providers to bring services closer to end-users in order to reduce latency and maximize performance.

The synergy that Cisco and Equinix offers the advantage of pre-tested and validated deployment architectures, such as Cisco’s “SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp for Colocation” SD-WAN design, and services to ensure smooth implementation. Their extensive deployment options meet the needs of enterprises and managed service providers with fully integrated firewall and secure web gateway security capabilities, and optimized cloud and on-premise application performance using the real-time analytics capabilities of Cisco vManage. The combined solution will provide scalability in strategic locations in support of market growth and increased processing demands globally Providing built-in access to all the leading cloud service providers via private interconnectivity and enterprise-grade, simplified – intent-based networking with multi-domain policy.


SD-WAN helps IT organizations simplify WAN management and deployments while taking advantage of increased transport options to improve bandwidth and reduce cost. Cisco’s proven SD-WAN security is built-in, not bolted on as an afterthought, ensuring protection against bad actors. Customers are looking to market leaders for proven solutions to help them with their SD-WAN journey. Cisco’s end-to-end portfolio enables SD-WAN, while Equinix’s global footprint of 200+ data centers solves real-world challenges such as latency and cloud accessibility. To maximize your ROI from SD-WAN, how you deploy is as important as what you deploy.

1 IDC White Paper, sponsored by Cisco, Business Value of Cisco SD-WAN Solutions: Studying the Results of Deployed Organizations – Document #US44952119, April 2019

2 IDC, Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure Market Shares, 2018: Incumbent and Start-Up Networking Vendors Continue to Compete in Fast-Growing Market – Document #US45160019, June 2019




To maximize your ROI from SD-WAN, how you deploy is as important as what you deploy.
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Jason Lee Global Solutions Architect
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John Joyal Product and Solutions Marketing Manager, Cisco
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