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Cisco Systems SD-WAN Netify Review

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Tags & Search Filters:XDR  |  CASB  |  DIY SD WAN services  |  SASE Cybersecurityand 9 more tags  |  MDR  |  FWaaS  |  SWG  |  Endpoint protection  |  Security service edge  |  Endpoint management  |  Next-Generation Anti Virus  |  Next-Generation Firewalls  |  EDR

Cisco is recognised as a leader in the Magic Quadrant for their capability and contribution to the SD-WAN market. Cisco's portfolio includes Cisco Catalyst SD-WAN which incorporates advanced integrated security, licensed software, and management and orchestration tools. In combination with Cisco Umbrella, Cisco SD-WAN is capable of delivering a complete SASE solution with SD-WAN. According to Gartner's analysis, Cisco supports approximately 46,000 enterprise customers with SD-WAN solutions on a global scale. These customers represent a diverse range of sizes and industries. Looking ahead over the next 18 months, we anticipate that Cisco will focus on enhancing their security dashboard. We also predict that Cisco will increase integrations with third-party providers in the Security Service Edge (SSE) space. This strategy is likely to support a dual-vendor approach to Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and improve cloud onramp capabilities for multi-cloud implementations.

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Pros & Cons

What are the Pros & Cons of Cisco Systems SD-WAN?

Consider the items below when creating your vendor shortlist.


  • Market Leadership: Recognised as a Leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant.
  • High Market Visibility: Strong awareness in the SD-WAN market with a large partner network supported by international offices and staff.
  • Extensive Customer Base: Approximately 46,000 enterprise customers globally, which serve a wide range of sizes and verticals.
  • Comprehensive Product Strategy: Cisco are predicted to continue their product enhancements across AI networking, integrated security, scalability, and cloud onramp capabilities.
  • Future Investments: Focus on their security dashboard, and SSE integrations for dual-vendor SASE support.
  • Complexity: Cisco SD-WAN is capable of meeting the needs of large global Enterprise networks requirements.


  • Customer Experience Concerns: Reports of below-average customer experience vs. other vendors - based on Gartner client interactions.
  • Multiple SD-WAN Offerings: The presence of separate offerings (Catalyst SD-WAN and Meraki SD-WAN) with different management platforms can complicate product choice and impact investment protection.
  • Uncertain Market Investment: Limited financial information raises questions about Cisco’s targeted investment growth in the SD-WAN market.
  • Management: Cisco SD-WAN is viewed as complex to manage for some organisations
  • Cost: The general perception and feedback of Cisco SD-WAN is that the pricing is high vs other vendors.
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Cisco SD WAN

Hand-on review of Cisco Systems SD-WAN

We started by configuring a basic setup of Cisco SD-WAN within our network demo lab by initially referring to the Cisco SD-WAN Design Guide. Within this phase, the overall goal was to achieve setup of basic network architecture which is detailed within the Cisco Bring up Process. The setup of the Cisco SD-WAN Manager, Validator, and Controller forms the basics of establishing a stable and network framework.

Once the initial phase was completed, we optimised network performance across bandwidth and Quality of Service (QoS). Using the Cisco SD-WAN Manager, I configured QoS settings based on a set of commonly used SaaS applications.

The steps involved creating class maps within the Localised Policy section under Configuration > Policies. Each class map was assigned to a specific queue to align with our network’s traffic management objectives.

Using the QoS Map section, I defined the bandwidth and buffer allocations for each queue. The QoS Map configuration demonstrated that the network was capable of managing data loads effectively with optimal performance levels.

Below: Selecting resource groups within Cisco vManage.

Cisco SD-WAN QoS

The configuration of SASE security required referring to the Enterprise Firewall Configuration Guide. The setup involved establishing zone-based firewall policies with firewall rules and rule sets, and then applying these policies to the defined zone pairs. This step resulted in an initial network security posture to defend against potential security vulnerabilities.

The management of Cisco SD-WAN (via the Cisco SD-WAN Manager) provides continuous monitoring, real-time insights into traffic, application performance, and network health. The Cisco SD-WAN Manager offers quick configuration adjustments in response to network changes, including QoS settings and security policies. Troubleshooting and diagnostic tools enable IT teams to rapidly address and resolve network issues, which reduces downtime and ensuring network stability.

Below: Cisco SD-WAN Network Path Insights.

Cisco SD-WAN Reporting Insights

The final aspect of the configuration process addressed multi-cloud integration which is one of the main Cisco Systems SD-WAN selling points. Following the Cloud OnRamp Configuration Guide, I implemented settings which setup our demo cloud connectivity with optimised traffic for cloud application performance.

In conclusion, the configuration of Cisco SD-WAN addressed aspects of network architecture which included performance optimisation, security, management, and multi-cloud integration.

Cisco's SD-WAN has evolved over time with improvements and fixes made in response to user feedback and technological advancements. Initially, users found Cisco SD-WAN complex and challenging to understand without gaining significant experience via training. While Cisco SD-WAN remains complex, improvements to simplify the solution have been made.


Cisco FY23 Revenue by Product Category and Services

According to Cisco's 2023 Annual Report, the revenue distribution by product category and services for the fiscal year 2023 is as follows:
Secure, Agile Networks51%
Internet for the Future9%
End-to-End Security7%
Optimized Application Experiences1%
Frequently Asked Questions
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