Optimal multi-cloud performance requires end-to-end SD-WAN automation, which prompted a partnership between Cisco and Megaport.
Most enterprises today have some type of multi-cloud strategy, yet still face challenges when connecting to public and private clouds. The Internet provides “best effort” connectivity but has inconsistencies in network quality that can significantly impact application performance.
Connecting to the Internet via legacy multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) doesn’t provide cloud-like agility where enterprises can scale up or down. Although private cloud direct interconnects are the most secure and best performing ways to connect, they require upfront planning for capacity, which can lead to underutilization and spiraling costs.
That’s why every organization moving to multi-cloud needs to rethink their network and connectivity strategy. Rather than treating a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) as a last mile solution, organizations can greatly benefit from combining a SD-WAN and a private network for middle mile performance.
Cisco and Megaport, a global middle-mile provider, came up with a solution to avoid all of these complexities by automating seamless connectivity with SD-WAN and multicloud environments.
I recently talked to Vipul Shah, Senior Manager of Product Management for Cisco SD-WAN, and Jim Brinksma, Megaport’s CTO, about the joint solution. Highlights of the ZKast interview, done in conjunction with eWEEK eSPEAKS, are below.
- In 2020, Cisco partnered with Megaport to significantly cut down the time it takes to bridge enterprise SD-WAN sites to clouds. The two vendors later launched integrated capabilities for Cisco Software Defined Cloud Interconnect (SDCI) with Megaport Virtual Edge (MVE), which is an on-demand, vendor-neutral network function virtualization (NFV) service that enables branch-to-cloud connectivity.
- Megaport provides a private connection between network sites and clouds. MVE allows organizations to host network functions on Megaport’s private global software defined network (SDN). The network has over 700 Megaport-enabled data centers and more than 200 cloud onramps to most of the major cloud providers, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle, and others.
- MVE uses devices that have both network and compute capabilities. On the compute side, organizations can have virtual instances of SD-WAN controllers and other network functions. On the network side, a transit gateway is provided to Megaport’s private network, so organizations can connect branches to clouds, branches to branches, branches to data centers, data centers to data centers, and more.
- Cisco’s partnership with Megaport simplifies management of the entire network through one ubiquitous platform. Most SD-WAN solutions are last mile-focused, but Cisco tackles the middle mile. Organizations can deploy the Megaport underlay connection through one automated workflow using the Cisco SD-WAN vManage controller. The combined Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Interconnect/Megaport MVE solution guarantees service-level agreements (SLAs), connecting users and apps to any network, anywhere, anytime.
- The top use case for Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Interconnect with Megaport is connecting multicloud workloads. The solution simplifies the operational side of running global networks. In the past, provisioning connectivity to cloud providers required individual point-to-point connections. Managing policies and virtual private network (VPN) tunnels for each cloud was operations-intensive, while provisioning could take weeks or even months.
- Now enterprises can create network connections to their multicloud environments in 10 minutes or less through the Cisco SD-WAN vManage controller. Network admins benefit from full stack automation, all while addressing today’s low cost, low latency requirements that significantly reduce the operating expense (OPEX) of networking. They can manage their policies and scale connectivity up and down easily. The complexity is built into the solution.
- Cisco will continue investing in SDCI with Megaport. In the near term, customers will see additional connectivity and scale options. For those who require end-to-end encryption when connecting to multicloud environments, a SD-WAN can be extended beyond the Megaport MVE into the cloud by utilizing Cisco’s cloud router. Cisco plans to provide higher bandwidth for its cloud routers in the Megaport MVE. This would particularly benefit risk-averse organizations.