Cisco blends its SD-WAN with Megaport's new virtual edge

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Megaport will offer Cisco's SD-WAN platform as a virtual network function on its Megaport Virtual Edge starting next year. (Pixabay)

After six months of development, Cisco's Viptela SD-WAN will be available on Megaport's new virtual edge platform, Megaport Virtual Edge (MVE.)

The collaboration is notable on several fronts. For Cisco, the partnership with Megaport gives its customers the option of using their own cloud interconnects. It's also Cisco's first SD-WAN collaboration with a software-defined cloud Interconnects (SDCI) company, but more will follow.

For Megaport, hosting a virtualized network infrastructure across its software-defined network via MVE enables customers to quickly spin up edge services across the globe at cloud scale by using automation.

MVE enables the hosting of virtual network functions (VNFs), such as SD-WAN, directly on its global SDN. Cisco's Viptela SD-WAN offering is the first use case that's supported on MVE.

The distributed MVE footprint will align with global centers of commerce to support traffic localization for low-latency networking and will provide an interconnection gateway to securely manage multi-cloud and multi-location interconnection.

MVE includes gateway functionality to connect with Megaport’s SDN in a platform-neutral and agnostic manner, which enables customers to move beyond legacy networking models while taking a unified approach to managing their networks.

Megaport connects to more than 200 cloud interconnect points across the leading hyperscalers including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google, Oracle, IBM, SAP, and Alibaba. Megaport has more than 360 IT service providers within its ecosystem and connects to more than 700 data centers. 

All of which is within reach for Cisco's SD-WAN enterprise customers. Those customers can tap into Megaport’s global network to optimize connectivity to their applications that are deployed in multi-cloud and private infrastructure environments.

In a blog post, Cisco's Raj Gulani, Senior Director, Product Management for SD-WAN and Cloud Networking in Cisco’s Intent-Based Networking Group, said one way companies can control their branch-to-cloud links was leasing point-to-point connections.

"But these 'mid-mile' interconnects to link to key services like Azure can be both expensive and inflexible, leading companies that use them to often over-provision and over-pay for these pipes –and still not have the agility they need," he said. "The solution we are driving to at Cisco is to offer our SD-WAN customers the option to bring their own cloud interconnects. We provide the capability to instantiate these connections on-demand, with real-time control to expand or shrink their capacity."

Cisco customers can use Cisco’s SD-WAN management platform, vManage, to "software-define" their cloud interconnects to multi-cloud and software-as-a-service applications, according to Gulani. Cisco's SD-WAN fabric will serve as the overlay while the Megaport network will serve as the underlay. To make this possible, Megaport will host SD-WAN capabilities on the MVE as a VNF.

RELATED: Cisco notches an SD-WAN partnership with Microsoft

General availability of Cisco's SD-WAN platform on MVE is slated for the first quarter of next year.  Cisco and Megaport are currently signing up customers for proof-of-concept trials.

The first phase of the integration with MVE will include Cisco's fully integrated security stack for SD-WAN, but the plan is to add Cisco Umbrella cloud security as an option in a future release.

While Cisco will push for additional SDCI partnerships for its SD-WAN overlay, Megaport can add in more SD-WAN vendors, or other VNFs, to MVE going forward.