Cisco SD-WAN software gains broader app access, enhanced analytics

Cisco SD-WAN software gains broader app access, enhanced analytics

Tech giant upgrades SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp for SaaS service to provide secure connectivity to a wider range of cloud-based apps and greater visibility into network metrics.

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Cisco has tweaked its flagship SD-WAN software package to increase customer application flexibility and improve visibility into the performance of distributed resources.

The vendor announced Cisco SD-WAN release 17.8, which adds support for new business and customised cloud applications, analytics and security features.

Specifically, the upgraded impacted SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp for SaaS service, which links branch offices or individual remote users to cloud applications such as Cisco’s Webex, Microsoft 365, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Oracle, Salesforce and more.

Cisco said Cloud OnRamp for SaaS now supports any customer-developed, cloud-based applications as well as applications that work with Cisco's Network Based Application Recognition (NBAR) classification engine. Cisco routers and switches typically use NBAR to identify a dataflow by inspecting packets to set traffic flows. Once the applications are recognised, the network can invoke required services for that particular application, Cisco stated.

NBAR applications include Microsoft Dynamic CRM Application, Slack, Github, and Workday. Homegrown apps such as many retail point-of-sale products or others that are not standard applications recognised by NBAR are now supported as well, Cisco added.

In addition to the new cloud application support, Cisco has bolstered the cloud-based vAnalytics package that works to provide performance insights for the SD-WAN and its applications. For example, improved visibility and application-level telemetry help speed issue identification and resolution. The system can now also let customers better correlate telemetry and set performance benchmarks.

The idea is to offer customers an improved, more graphical way to see and manage everything on the SD-WAN, including bandwidth usage, network traffic distribution across sites and circuits, and application behaviour assessments, Cisco said.

On the security side, Cisco has expanded its Layer-7 Application Health Check to support SD-WAN resources protected by McAfee, Symantec, and Palo Alto platforms. Cisco SD-WAN currently supports its own Umbrella security and Zscaler health checks, which help customers ensure network tunnels are working properly and provide load balancing or failover support in case of problems.

The software also supports a new Secure Internet Gateway (SIG) Data Policy Fallback feature that redirects and reestablishes secure connections in the event of a network problem or failure. Cisco said its SD-WAN supports Cisco Umbrella, Zscaler and tunnel connectivity to its IOS-XE platforms.

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