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Cisco to merge Viptela, DNA Center for campus networking

Cisco plans to integrate its Viptela SD-WAN with DNA Center for campus networking in the next 18 months. At the same time, Cisco expects to release a cloud version of DNA Center.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Cisco plans to merge its Viptela SD-WAN management software into DNA Center over the next 18 months,...

providing customers with a single view of their LAN, WAN and campus networks.

During interviews this week at the Cisco Live conference, company executives said the integration would take place after Cisco builds a cloud-based version of DNA Center for campus networking. Companies would then have the option of accessing DNA Center as a service from Cisco or a managed service provider. DNA Center is a centralized software console for managing campus networks built on top of Cisco's Catalyst 9000 switches.

"At that point, it may make logical sense to bring the two solutions together," said Scott Harrell, general manager of Cisco's enterprise networking business.

Waiting for a cloud-based version of DNA Center makes sense, because Viptela's management application, vManage, is an online service. In a separate interview, Kiran Ghodgaonkar, senior marketing manager for Cisco's enterprise products, said integrating vManage into DNA Center would occur over the next 12 to 18 months.

Merging the two products will tie the Viptela SD-WAN into other technologies wrapped into DNA Center, such as SD-Access, which lets engineers set access policies that follow employees wherever and however they want to enter the corporate network, Ghodgaonkar said. The SD-Access integration is essential, because Viptela routes traffic to and from business applications running on SaaS and IaaS platforms.

One view of LAN, WAN and campus networking

Overall, merging Viptela technology into DNA Center would simplify network management by treating the LAN, WAN and campus networking as a "single entity," Ghodgaonkar said. Cisco wants to make SD-WAN management part of a single workflow within DNA Center.

Until then, development of Viptela's SD-WAN and vManage products would continue "full-bore," Harrell said. Slowing down the current pace of upgrades would risk falling behind rivals adding security, analytics, load balancing and other features to their software.

"Right now, we want to be able to iterate and make innovations as fast as possible," Harrell said.

Enhancements planned for Viptela include making the 4000 Series Integrated Services Routers for the branch manageable through vManage, Harrell said. "That'll be this summer."

To make that happen, Viptela would run as a software image on ISR, Ghodgaonkar said. Cisco plans to release the image as a software upgrade for the router starting in July.

Cisco customers currently use ISR to run its legacy SD-WAN product, Intelligent WAN. IWAN's complexity prevented it from becoming a successful product, so many analysts have predicted Cisco would slowly migrate customers to Viptela.

Since acquiring Viptela a year ago, Cisco has increased sales of the company's SD-WAN product to more than 800 customers globally, according to Ghodgaonkar. He declined to say how many customers Viptela had when Cisco bought the company.

The global market for SD-WAN, which includes revenue from vendors and managed service providers, will grow by nearly 70% annually through 2021, when it could reach $8 billion, according to IDC.

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