Cisco looks to WAN of the future

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Todd Nightingale, Cisco.
Todd Nightingale, Cisco.

When looking at the wide area network (WAN) of the future, it needs to support multi-cloud strategy, have deep resilience and there has to be security.

That's according to Todd Nightingale, Cisco's SVP and GM for enterprise networking and cloud, speaking at the recent Cisco Live 2021.

During the global virtual conference, the networking giant announced a host of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) features, specifically focused on cloud connectivity.

“Cisco is the only vendor that offers innovation across all three major cloud service providers, plus we have added native optimisations for key [software-as-a-service] applications like Microsoft 365,” Nightingale stated.

We need to build a true cloud native environment and, most importantly, we need to keep it secure.

Todd Nightingale, Cisco

Cloud network innovations revealed during the conference included new integrations with the AWS transit gateway and new partnerships with Google and Megaport to provide improved connectivity, performance and cost management. Additionally, the company said that there were many more cloud and service provider innovations to come across its SD-WAN technologies.

Tackling security

Nightingale noted that, in the past, networking was optimised for the traffic flows that mattered then – mostly site to site traffic that connected branches to headquarters. Today, however, people work everywhere, applications are distributed through public and private clouds and those applications are fed from data throughout the environment, from everywhere on the edge.

“We need to build a true cloud native environment and, most importantly, we need to keep it secure. We need visibility to understand what's really happening on that network. And all of this can be put together into one architecture: one secure, agile architecture for the WAN. That’s why we are so excited at Cisco to talk about our complete SASE (secure access service edge) architecture: combining cloud native security with powerful networking and client connectivity that can be delivered as a service from the cloud edge with true end-to-end visibility from the user to the application” he said..

In order to deliver this, Cisco needs to have a “real combination of powerful networking, powerful security and powerful analytics coming together into one architecture,” Nightingale concluded.

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