Cisco is unveiling two new SD-WAN solutions based on Meraki and its recently acquired Viptela technology that it hopes will help partners get into the managed SD-WAN game.
The two latest SD-WAN-based solutions will use both historical data to help businesses predict how their applications will perform across the wide area network (WAN), as well as real-time information so users can mitigate issues faster.
The networking giant spoke about the new features during Cisco Live in Melbourne, where Cisco senior vice president and general manager for enterprise networking Scott Harrell addressed some of the elements of the solutions.
Cisco is working to shift network engineers and IT managers away from its command-prompt style network operations to GUI-based SaaS networking management, with vAnalytics offering a visualised network overview, allowing for forecasting and bandwidth planning, and Meraki Insight, which aims to provide live network performance metrics and automated data collection to make remediating network issues more efficient
"The WAN is a vital part of the network and is one of the toughest to manage, as we bring insight into the WAN with these new innovations, we get closer to delivering end-to-end intent based networking to help our customers eliminate downtime and save money," he said.
Cisco Meraki product architect Joe Aronow said the two solutions were a big differentiator when compared to solution providers that can't provide application performance assurance.
"I see an enormous partner opportunity because functions like this are a huge value-add for a managed service. Partners will be able to say; 'not only can we manage your infrastructure, but we can also add analytics and assurance on top of that,'" he said.
Cisco has been offering analytics and performance monitoring solutions for other parts of the network, including the campus, branch, and data centre, but the WAN remains a "blind spot" for many IT teams today, the vendor reported.
To that end, Cisco is introducing Cisco SD-WAN vAnalytics, a cloud-based solution that is based on Viptela technology that the vendor acquired in August.
The SaaS offering provides historical data that both partners and end customers can use for bandwidth planning and to forecast how policy changes or specific applications may behave on their WAN infrastructure. The solution also provides recommendations and corrective actions that users can take to improve application performance on the WAN across branch offices, multi-cloud environments, and multiple service providers.
Businesses, or channel partners on behalf of their customers, can access vAnalytics via its online portal. Cisco SD-WAN vAnalytics is available now to customers through a Cisco SD-WAN enterprise license tier, according to the company.
Offering an Australian and New Zealand use-case around the technology was Peter Castle, senior network engineer for plumbing supplies provider Reece.
Reece manages 600 branches office and more than 5000 employees, with a network spanning offices in both Australia and New Zealand, Castle said.
"Our business requires a secure, scalable and high-performance WAN. With vManage, we can centrally deploy branch applications and services rapidly, and we have been able to dramatically improve branch availability and bandwidth utilisation with the rich analytics this platform provides.
However, when monitoring and troubleshooting the WAN, users need to understand what is happening at both the circuit and the application levels, according to a Cisco spokesperson.
For that reason, Cisco is also revealing Meraki Insight, a new tool that will be integrated into the existing Meraki dashboard that will give users more real-time application and WAN performance visibility.
Businesses using Meraki Insight will be better able to identify and troubleshoot both internal and external issues that often lead to poor user experience for applications hosted in a remote data center or in the cloud, Cisco said. This software-based solution will help businesses resolve performance issues faster.
To take advantage of Meraki Insight, users will need a Cisco Meraki MX security appliance within their IT environments, Aronow said.
Cisco's vAnalytics is available now via a Cisco SD-WAN licence tier, and expects Meraki Insight to be available in Q3 and be available to customers as a separate license.
Michael Jenkin attended Cisco Live as a guest of Cisco.