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Cisco, Google drive SD-WAN to the cloud

Cisco and Google are teaming up to develop an application-centric, multi-cloud network fabric, which the companies say will allow customers to extend SD-WAN orchestration and management to the cloud.

Using Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub with Google Cloud, the two companies aim to provide customers with a way to apply consistent service level agreements, security policies, and compliance data to applications and enterprise networks.

“With Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub we’re able to securely extend the SD-WAN fabric all the way into Google Cloud, and then we can exchange policy and intent information through API integration with Google Service Directory,” said Sachin Gupta, SVP product management of Cisco’s intent-based networking group, in an interview with SDxCentral. “Now we can tell the application side of the house how the network is performing and behaving so that intelligent decisions can be made, and vice versa. We can understand application needs from Google Cloud and adjust the WAN path and security parameters to ensure the best experience is delivered.”

Expanding on the capabilities of Cisco SD-WAN Hub in a recent blog post, Gupta explained that these capabilities would enable an application suite to support a front end running on one public, analytics running in another, and financial services running on-premises.

However, for this to work, Gupta says the network fabric needs to be able to discover the apps and identify their attributes — kind of like a handshake. The problem here is that applications don’t have a good way to dynamically signal service level agreement requests to the underlay network.

Under Cisco’s expanded partnership with Google, applications will be able to dynamically request the required network resources based on app data stored in the Google Cloud Service Directory.

Gupta explains that by using this information, the network can provision itself with the appreciate SD-WAN policies while also enabling the application to react to changing network conditions. This, he says, would enable Cisco’s SD-WAN policies to automatically account for latency-sensitive applications ensuring optimal performance.

“For the first time, the industry will have full WAN application integration with cloud workloads: The network will talk to apps, and apps will talk to the network,” Gupta wrote. “Critical security, policy, and performance information will be able to cross the boundaries of network, cloud, and application.”

According to Shailesh Shukla, VP and general manager of networking at Google Cloud, the partnership is a step closer to realizing Google’s ultimate goal of abstracting the complexity of networking, enabling hybrid-cloud deployments, and accelerating cloud adoption.

“This expansion of the partnership with Cisco is a game-changer for enterprises that are operating in a hybrid and multi-cloud environment,” he said. ”As soon as things move to a hybrid or multiple cloud environment, what happens is that the complexity goes up a lot.”

Cisco Taps Google Cloud Backbone

The new service will also enable customers to extend their SD-WAN orchestration and management to the Google Cloud backbone.

According to Gupta, this will enable enterprises to leverage Google’s backbone network — the same one used to power services like Gmail and YouTube — as an underlay network.

Shukla added that “traffic would terminate normally at the cloud edge and then essentially go over the public internet. With this we can provide customers the option of utilizing the end-to-end secure and high-performance Google backbone, ride over that and exit on the other side to where the SaaS app is.”

―SDX Central

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