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Cisco unveils two new SD-WAN tools in intent-based networking push

08 Mar 2018

Cisco has announced two new tools designed to bring visibility to the Wide Area Network (WAN), Cisco SD-WAN vAnalytics and Meraki Insight.

The two tools were announced at Cisco Live in Melbourne and are part of the company’s intent-based networking push.

Cisco says the tools will provide the capability to forecast WAN problems before they happen while isolating and fixing issues when they occur.

The SD-WAN vAnalytics tool is designed to provide visibility and forecasting for applications and bandwidth planning while providing actionable insights.

Meanwhile, Cisco says the Meraki Insight platform helps IT administrators to optimise the end user platform by providing a level of understanding into WAN and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application performance, reducing the time it takes to isolate and resolve issues.

Cisco senior vice president and general manager of enterprise networking Scott Harrell says, “We have set an ambitious goal for ourselves of transforming the entire network, from campus to branch, data centre to edge.

“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.”

Cisco SD-WAN vAnalytics

The vAnalytics technology is based on the company’s Viptela and is built as a cloud-based SaaS solution.

The technology provides data, analysis and corrective actions across the WAN, including branch offices, multicloud endpoints and multiple service providers.

Cisco says the solution will allow customers to forecast how potential policy changes to the WAN could affect application performance while providing intelligent recommendations about how to deliver optimal application experience.

As an example, the company says the tool can be used by organisations to better understand how a rollout of IP-enabled security cameras or multi-branch cloud-based applications could affect WAN infrastructure.

The crux of the technology is that it will provide the capacity to identify stress points and policy changes in an effort to help enterprises avoid technology growing pains.

Reece ltd (a Cisco customer) senior networking engineer Peter Castle says, “With over 600 branch offices and more than 5000 employees, we rely on cloud applications and an always-connected workplace to serve our customers.

“Our business requires a secure, scalable and high-performance WAN. With vManage (the platform in which vAnalytics is built), we can centrally deploy branch applications and services rapidly, and we have been able to dramatically improve branch availability and bandwidth utilization with the rich analytics this platform provides.

“We are looking forward to the additional functionality we will be able to achieve with the even richer application visibility the vAnalytics will provide us,” Castle continues.  

Cisco Meraki Insight

Insight is a new tool that will be integrated into the Cisco Meraki dashboard, designed to assist IT with maintaining better end-user experience.

According to Cisco, the solution provides end-to-end visibility with application and WAN performance analytics.

Insight provides a platform for customers to understand and troubleshoot both internal and external issues that can contribute to poor user experience for applications hosted in remote data centres or in the cloud.  

Cisco says the Insight tool will help IT achieve faster time to resolution for performance issues by more accurately pinpointing the source of the problem.

Cisco customer Extra Space Storage senior analyst for IT business Jacob Stimpson says, “As we move more and more of our business-critical applications to the cloud, it is important to maintain a high-performance network.

“Meraki Insight gives us the network and SaaS application visibility we need to quickly remediate issues and ensure end-user experience.”

In terms of availability, vAnalytics is available now through a Cisco SD-WAN license tier, while Insight is expected to become available as in Cisco’s Q3.

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