Cisco notches an SD-WAN partnership with Microsoft

Add Cisco to the growing list of SD-WAN vendors that have partnered with Microsoft to better serve Office 365 applications to end users.

Microsoft is integrating Cisco's Viptela-based SD-WAN service with its Azure Virtual WAN and Office 365, which allows customers to extend their wide area networks (WANs) into Microsoft Azure Cloud.

RELATED: SD-WAN vendor Silver Peak deepens its relationship with Microsoft's cloud services

While Citrix was among the first SD-WAN vendors to announce a cloud-based partnership with Microsoft last year, VMware/VeloCloud and Microsoft's Azure also announced an SD-WAN partnership in 2018. On Monday, Silver Peak said it had integrated its SD-WAN technologies across Microsoft's Azure Virtual WAN service and Office 365.

For both Cisco and Silver Peak, integrating their SD-WAN services with Office 365 provides better performance and reliability while also automating connectivity. SD-WAN vendors are also working on providing better security with their hybrid cloud integrations.

Cisco's Sachin Gupta, senior vice president, product management, for Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Business, said in an interview with FierceTelecom that Cisco's large router deployments, intent-based networking portfolio and Umbrella security give it an edge over other SD-WAN vendors that have partnered with Microsoft. Having a Cisco router in place means there's no need for a truck roll when a customer turns up an SD-WAN service with Cisco and Microsoft.

"Wherever you talk about changing or optimizing connectivity to the different cloud offers, depending on the connection you're using, you have to rethink how you deliver security," he said. "We offer the security capability embedded on the customer premise, or delivered to the cloud. Our Umbrella security can be integrated with any of the SaaS or cloud offerings they have."

Last year, Cisco announced it had improved application performance in connecting Cisco SD-WAN to Office 365 by up to 40%. Cisco's SD-WAN solution directs Office 365 traffic from the customer site to the closest Micros network points-of-presence (POPs) by finding the best path. In most cases, the traffic is able to bypass corporate data centers, which improves the user experience.

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Gupta said 70 of the Fortune 100 companies have deployed its SD-WAN service. International Data Corporation ranked Cisco's SD-WAN service first in the SD-WAN infrastructure market with a 46.4% market share while VMware was second at 8.8%. Those standings were reversed in IHS Markit's second quarter SD-WAN report, which had VMware first based on revenue with Cisco second.

RELATED: Driven by router replacements, SD-WAN revenue surges by 23% in Q2 - report

Cisco and Microsoft plan to make their joint solution available to early field trial customers at the end of the first quarter of 2020.