Cisco wants to help IT departments win the WAN war

The growth in remote working means employees increasingly connect to the company via the WAN, which creates a special challenges for IT departments.

Cisco reckons it’s the IT crowd’s new best friend thanks to a couple of new products that it claims provide an unprecedented level of centralised visibility into the WAN. This in turn aims to give corporate techies the ability to more easily identify, resolve and ideally even pre-empt issue on the WAN.

A central pillar of Cisco’s efforts in this area is its recent push towards intent-based networking in general. The two specific product silos within this initiative announced to tackle the WAN issue are Cisco SD-WAN vAnalytics and Cisco Meraki Insight. Between them they promise all this lovely WAN insight and diagnostics as well as the ability to optimise SaaS application performance.

“We have set an ambitious goal for ourselves of transforming the entire network, from campus to branch, data center to edge,” said Scott Harrell, GM of Enterprise Networking at Cisco. “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.”

“With over 600 branch offices and more than 5,000 employees, we rely on cloud applications and an always connected workplace to serve our customers,” said Peter Castle, Senior Network Engineer at Reece, an Aussie engineering firm that is presumably a Cisco customer. “Our business requires a secure, scalable, and high-performance WAN.

“With vManage, 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 that vAnalytics will provide us.”

Ultimately this is about more than just remote working, it’s about the tendency for workers to access the corporate network and applications via the cloud from an infinite number of locations and devices. It’s easy to see how this has created demand for greater WAN control, hence this announcement. You can see a Cisco diagram summarising it below and read a deeper dive into the launches at Light Reading here.

Cisco WAN diagram

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