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Cisco has integrated its Viptela software-defined WAN with the company's IOS XE network operating system, effectively making the cloud-controlled SD-WAN product an option for distributing network traffic from Cisco ISR and ASR routers.
Announced this week, the integration means companies using Cisco's legacy SD-WAN product, Intelligent WAN -- often used with the Integrated Services Router (ISR) -- can switch to a much simpler system. IWAN's complexity precluded broad market adoption, so when Cisco acquired Viptela last year for $610 million, many analysts predicted the company would eventually migrate customers to Viptela.
Connecting Cisco Viptela to IOS XE adds a cloud-controlled element to IOS XE hardware through the SD-WAN product's vManage console. The cloud-based software is the centralized component for configuration management and monitoring network traffic going to and from the ISR and Aggregation Services Router (ASR) hardware.
As a router network operating system, IOS XE includes dozens of services beyond routing and switching, such as encryption, authentication, firewall capabilities and policy enforcement.
Next for Cisco Viptela
In March, Cisco launched cloud-based predictive analytics for Viptela, called vAnalytics. The software, which companies access through vManage, provides network managers with answers to what-if scenarios.
Over the next 18 months, Cisco plans to merge vManage into DNA Center, a centralized software console for managing campus networks built on top of Cisco's Catalyst 9000 campus switches. The integration would provide network managers with a single view of their LAN, WAN and campus networks.
Companies use SD-WAN for traffic distribution across broadband, Long Term Evolution and MPLS links connecting campuses and remote offices to the internet and the corporate data center. In the first quarter, companies refreshing their campus and branch networks contributed to a more than 5% increase year to year in 1 Gb Ethernet revenue and a nearly 16% rise in port shipments, according to IDC.
Cisco claimed organizations use more than 1 million ISR and ASR routers globally. ASR routers are designed for high-bandwidth applications, such as video streaming, while ISR systems are for small or midsize networks found in small businesses and branch offices.