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Security

AT&T adds Cisco to managed SD-WAN menu

AT&T now offers Cisco's flavor of SD-WAN in its menu of managed SD-WAN services for enterprise customers. In addition to Cisco Secure SD-WAN Technology, AT&T has an existing partnership with VMware for SD-WAN services.

As the SD-WAN market matures and enterprise customers are increasingly shifting to a managed service approach instead of DIY, operators are adding multiple service options from a variety of SD-WAN vendors.

In the age of SD-WAN 2.0, many enterprise customers have requested Cisco's SD-WAN services since they were "already a 'Cisco shop,'" Vertical Systems Group's Director of Research Services Erin Dunne recently told Light Reading.

"There is customer demand for certain technology preferences and choices, but also Cisco has incumbency in the Layer 3 routing space, and we provide managed routing services and other services with Cisco products and services today," says Rupesh Chokshi, assistant vice president of edge solutions product marketing management at AT&T, explaining that the decision to collaborate with Cisco on SD-WAN was a natural progression of an existing partnership.

AT&T recently topped VSG's 2019 US Carrier Managed SD-WAN Services Leaderboard by achieving 2% or more of installed and billable carrier-managed SD-WAN customer sites in the US as of the end of last year. Cisco also made VSG's list of most popular SD-WAN technologies. The five most popular SD-WAN technologies utilized by managed service providers in the Leaderboard and Challenge Tier (ranked in order of the number of relationships they have with service providers) include VMware by VeloCloud, Cisco vEdge (Viptela), Cisco Meraki MX, Fortinet and Versa.

Cisco's SD-WAN service for AT&T will be deployed on Cisco's ISR and ASR routers and Enterprise Network Compute System (ENCS); customers can manage the service on a cloud-based dashboard. The SD-WAN service includes built-in security features such as an application-aware enterprise firewall, intrusion prevention, URL filtering and malware protection. In addition, the AT&T Cybersecurity team will provide service support and management using Cisco's vManage controller, which provides a management interface for both the network and security.

"The secure SD-WAN aspect is becoming extremely important," says JL Valente, vice president of product management, managed services, intent-based networking group at Cisco. In addition to security services and support from Cisco and AT&T, "to be able to support SaaS providers, public clouds in a secure way" is another benefit of the SD-WAN managed service, Valente added.

AT&T SD-WAN with Cisco provides additional features such as intelligent dynamic routing, application performance visibility and connectivity to cloud applications. Enterprise customers can also pair the SD-WAN service with wireless or wireline underlay connectivity from AT&T such as AT&T Virtual Private Network MPLS service, dedicated or shared Internet or LTE.

The SD-WAN market is expected to grow steadily over the next few years. Futuriom's founder and principal analyst, Scott Raynovich, expects an SD-WAN market fueled by a 34% compound annual growth rate to hit $2 billion this year and reach $2.85 billion in 2021 as enterprises increasingly require secure connections to their cloud applications. In addition, he forecasts the market will reach $4.6 billion by 2023.

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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