Cisco weds collaboration and SD-WAN

Cisco is adding Webex collaboration to its SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp to support group video calls regardless of where participants are located.

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Looking to offer branch offices and hybrid workers secure access to corporate collaboration, Cisco is melding its Webex software with a key component of its SD-WAN package.

Webex collaboration software is being added to the applications supported by Cloud OnRamp--a key part of Cisco’s enterprise SD-WAN offering that links branch-offices or individual remote users to cloud applications. It includes application-aware firewalls, URL-filtering, intrusion detection/prevention, DNS-layer security, and Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) Threat Grid, as well as network services such as load-balancing and Wide Area Application Services, according to Cisco.

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Until now Cisco has focused on linking users with cloud-based SaaS applications from Microsoft, AWS and others, but is now bringing those capabilities to the Webex environment, Cisco said. 

Cloud OnRamp segregates application traffic like Webex from generic internet traffic and routes it from a branch router via the best path to insure a secure, high-quality connection, wrote Jeevan Sharma, a senior manager, product management in Cisco SD-WAN and Cloud Networking group in a blog. The idea is to support reliability, security, and visibility in audio-video calls for distributed teams regardless of where users are working, he stated.

“For real time collaboration applications, like Webex, analytics and visibility into application performance metrics becomes critical to provide a great collaboration experience,” he stated.

The integration of Webex and OnRamp--called Cisco SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp for SaaS with Webex--is available now.

In the future, Cisco will incorporate granular network analytics and application-level telemetry to improve visibility into network and application performance, Sharma wrote. This will provide network administrators data for troubleshooting to deliver a better application experience.

Cisco has already started down that path with Webex by adding ThousandEyes network-performance agents to the platform. The agents are integrated into Webex data centers and provide IT teams with bi-directional visibility into the links between user locations and Webex services. That provides the teams with insight to optimize performance, Cisco wrote in a blog.

These moves and others are Cisco’s plan to support application-monitoring as well as hybrid-work and collaboration environments.

“It is becoming more important every day for mission-critical remote and hybrid users to have the network and collaboration tools—which are now the lifeline for many businesses— running optimally,”  Todd Nightingale, Cisco’s executive vice president and general manager for enterprise networking cloud told told Network World in October.

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