Best Viptela considerations for 2021
Viptela considerations on the Cisco SDWAN platform has literally changed overnight thanks to Covid. Many organizations looked at their corporate Wide Area Network (WAN) with Cisco ISR nodes and thinking of how their new network would migrate from MPLS to Cisco Viptela. Fast-Forward, employees consuming corporate network functions went remote, Call Centers became virtual Contact Centers and Dev teams, well they were at the door to great everyone into the Cloud house. They were the most prepared. So how does Viptela shift in 2021 if there is less of a need for a traditional SDWAN? We ask this question because after speaking with over 25 companies in the last 90 days, many are considering ditching their SDWAN.
Viptela SD-WAN Explosion
SD-WAN came to rescue the large closed network and monthly recurring expense many organizations experienced. MPLS closed network and added complexity into Cloud, namely AWS, Azure, GCP and OCI had challenges especially for remote capabilities. Technically it works as a product Cisco acquired.
The ability to add a MPLS node into public Cloud does exist but users should ask the question, will this be our long-term network edge strategy? Meaning, do we really need our traditional corporate WAN moving to a Cloud WAN? If you think about the office work-life shift during the pandemic, it forced many organizations to speed up their cloud moves. Think about the Unified Communications, Contact Center and more SaaS based tools, none of them reside in the office.
Why Cisco Viptela?
Cisco purchased Viptela 4 years ago which was one of the early leaders in the space. Fast forward into 2020 and you can clearly see the list of Gartner Magic Quadrant SDWAN Providers and the crowded space that has changed the landscape as shown below. Cisco is still positioned well however many providers exist and consolidation continues to occur in the M&A space such as the Silverpeak acquisition by HP. If you recall, all through the 1990s to mid-2000s, Cisco was the darling of edge networking during the data revolution starting with Frame Relay, Private Line, DMVPN and MPLS. Other competitors such as Juniper and AdTran attempted to knock them off the top spot however it never happened.
Cisco Viptela features – nontechnical advantages:
- Next-Gen Infrastructure connectivity: 5G/LTE options to connect as diverse backbones require something other than a traditional wireline service.
- Cloud Service Providers (CSPs): Connecting to AWS, Azure, Oracle Cloud and more is turnkey ou
- Cisco DNA is available: Cisco DNAis available with the Essentials, Advantage and Premier options for SDWAN.
- Carrier Expense reduction: Moving to lower coast Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) circuits compared to MPLS should save an organization 50% of their monthly Opex while improving overall infrastructure.
- vAnalytics – The Cisco vAnallytics is provided as a GUIE showing performance across the WAN including your DIA availability and application health from end to end.
Some of the reported challenges of Viptela by organizations is the complexity to build and support the environment as a stand-alone. If you think about the landscape of the network operators today inside a company, many new faces grew up in a Cloud Native ecosystem and have less experience building routing configs in the CLI. Cloud teams need connectivity to work, have High Availability (HA) and turn up and turn down as cloud does. Asking Dev teams to deploy a physical or virtual monolith across their corporate WAN and be ready on a 24×7 to make adjustments inside ingress/egress cloud on ramps is not the best approach. Especially as more companies have opted to become a
Viptela alternative to be less complex
Viptela announced an agreement with Megaport to launch their Virtual Edge (MVE) offering, extending to the branch node. Megaport, like many software defined CSP connection providers realized they can’t simply rely on cloud to cloud connectivity as there are thousands of remote requests (users, offices, partners etc.) who need access to the IaaS environments. Megaport provides physical networks in a virtualized manner to connect 3rd party Data Centers and CSPs, however until now they could not reach the branch or remote users well.
The advantage of a MVE + Viptela solution is it can bring physical infrastructure with edge SDWAN networking combined as both organizations can’t deliver this completely
The collaboration is notable on several fronts. For Cisco, the partnership with Megaport gives its customers the option of using their own cloud interconnects. It’s also Cisco’s first SD-WAN collaboration with a software-defined cloud Interconnects (SDCI) company, but more will follow.
For Megaport, hosting a virtualized network infrastructure across its software-defined network via MVE enables customers to quickly spin up edge services across the globe at cloud scale by using automation.
MVE enables the hosting of virtual network functions (VNFs), such as SD-WAN, directly on its global SDN. Cisco’s Viptela SD-WAN offering is the first use case that’s supported on MVE.
The distributed MVE footprint will align with global centers of commerce to support traffic localization for low-latency networking and will provide an interconnection gateway to securely manage multi-cloud and multi-location interconnection.
MVE includes gateway functionality to connect with Megaport’s SDN in a platform-neutral and agnostic manner, which enables customers to move beyond legacy networking models while taking a unified approach to managing their networks.
All of which is within reach for Cisco’s SD-WAN enterprise customers. Those customers can tap into Megaport’s global network to optimize connectivity to their applications that are deployed in multi-cloud and private infrastructure environments.
There is a good blog post by Cisco’s Raj Gulani discusses the options for orgs to connect form Branch using a telecom carrier
“But these ‘mid-mile’ interconnects to link to key services like Azure can be both expensive and inflexible, leading companies that use them to often over-provision and over-pay for these pipes –and still not have the agility they need,” Gulanie said. “The solution we are driving to at Cisco is to offer our SD-WAN customers the option to bring their own cloud interconnects. We provide the capability to instantiate these connections on-demand, with real-time control to expand or shrink their capacity.”
Cisco customers can use Cisco’s SD-WAN management platform, vManage, to “software-define” their cloud interconnects to multi-cloud and software-as-a-service applications, according to Gulani. Cisco’s SD-WAN fabric will serve as the overlay while the Megaport network will serve as the underlay. To make this possible, Megaport will host SD-WAN capabilities on the MVE as a VNF.