Visibility Assurance for Cisco IWAN

Cisco IWAN offers four key advantages.

• Transport Independence – In response to the need to leverage lower-cost networks, IWAN offers WAN virtualization features that allow enterprises to use the circuit that best serves the needs of specific applications. With IWAN, enterprises can implement front-door virtual routing and forwarding (FVRF) with a dynamic multipoint virtual private network (DMVPN)-based overlays across all their WAN circuits, regardless of transport type. This abstracts away the physical transport and allows IWAN to execute policies for optimal performance and availability across MPLS, broadband Internet, LTE, and any other network connections. With LiveAction, network managers can set policies that allow IWAN to route traffic over MPLS links, the Internet, or even LTE based on application policies and network conditions.

• Intelligent Path Control – IWAN’s intelligent path control technology enables these application
policies. Enterprises can implement path selection based on packet loss, delay, jitter and user-defined policies, For instance, engineers can establish a best-effort class of traffic in LiveAction that is load-balanced across all available bandwidth, regardless of transport type. And high-priority traffic can be routed over MPLS, which grants it carrier-backed SLAs. In the event of a brownout on the MPLS link, IWAN’s Performance Routing version 3 (PfRv3) can shift this high-priority traffic to alternative transport, such as broadband. Advanced Quality of Service (QoS) can guarantee bandwidth for that high-priority traffic.

• Application Optimization – IWAN uses its HTTP visibility to differentiate and optimize application traffic. It integrates the Cisco technologies Network-Based Application Recognition version 2 (NBAR2) and Easy Performance Monitoring (EZPM) into Application Visibility and Control (AVC). AVC serves as both an in-network application monitoring tool and a mechanism for applying QoS policy. IWAN can identify application flows and optimize them. In the case of a video session that has migrated from MPLS to the Internet during a brownout, IWAN can identify that application and dedicate bandwidth on the broadband connection using QoS. IWAN combines AVC with Cisco’s Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) technology to provide additional optimizations, including reduction of redundant data, transport flow optimization, caching and compression.

• Secure Connectivity – IWAN offers secure transport and threat defense technologies to address the need for direct Internet access from remote sites. With Cisco technologies like Adaptive Security Appliance software, IWAN provides integrated network address translation (NAT) gateways, zone-based policy firewalls (ZFW), and cloud web security connectors. LiveAction adds an end-to-end flow-based view of these security elements.

Cisco IWAN with LiveAction enables enterprises to realize significant cost savings by moving from premium WAN connections to less expensive transport without compromising performance, reliability, and security. IWAN enables multiple WAN scenarios, beginning with the traditional dual MPLS architecture, where each site on the WAN has two connections. In the past, one of those MPLS circuits was a backup connection that was rarely used.

IWAN virtualizes that connectivity, load-balancing both MPLS circuits so that no bandwidth is wasted. IWAN also enables a second WAN scenario, a hybrid network described earlier, wherein enterprises utilize one MPLS circuit and one Internet connection at each site. Again in this hybrid scenario, both the MPLS link and the Internet link are used as primary connectivity, with applications flows going over one or the other based on policies and network conditions. EMA research and interaction with enterprises indicate that many enterprises are moving toward this hybrid WAN approach.

Some advanced users of IWAN may choose to opt for a third network scenario, dual Internet. In this case, the enterprise eliminates MPLS from remote sites and replaces it with multiple Internet connections. IWAN’s WAN virtualization and traffic engineering capabilities ensure a degree of enterprise-class connectivity from this dual Internet architecture. Read more…

With its support of advanced Cisco technologies like Performance Routing and Application Visibility and Control, LiveNX provides critical visibility and service assurance capabilities to Intelligent WAN (IWAN), Cisco’s SD-WAN solution. In general, SD-WAN solutions, like IWAN, introduce new and powerful technologies that help enterprises reduce costs and improve network performance and reliability. To take full advantage of IWAN, enterprises need a visibility and assurance platform that completely exposes IWAN’s underlying technologies to the network management team.

LiveNX provides that management and visibility layer. It empowers users to provision, monitor, and troubleshoot IWAN and adopt an application-centric, policy-based approach to wide-area networking. 

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