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Head of Enterprise Business at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Reseller
Top 20
Quick to innovate with new features, but requires more security out of the box
Pros and Cons
  • "From my observations, Cisco has been rolling out new features every other day, so I would say their speed of innovation is one of the most valuable aspects for me."
  • "One of the major areas that Cisco can improve on with their SD-WAN offering is their security features. When compared with Fortinet, who have what they call their 'security pillars' (e.g. firewall and security features built-in to their SD-WAN solutions), Cisco generally comes up short. With Cisco, if you need a security component, you have to pay more to get it done. So if they could add more security features that come part and parcel with their existing solutions, then I think Cisco could be very aggressive in the market."

What is our primary use case?

As a company, we are a Cisco Premier Partner and we work as a system integrator and reseller. As for myself, I currently work simultaneously with Cisco and Fortinet for SD-WAN solutions.

Because we're only an integrator and not an ISP-level company, we haven't engaged with that many SD-WAN projects, and our typical line of work involves using Cisco products in bank solutions, such as for branch connectivity.

What is most valuable?

From my observations, Cisco has been rolling out new features every other day, so I would say their speed of innovation is one of the most valuable aspects for me.

I would also point to their superior features when it comes to general connectivity, configuration, and reporting.

What needs improvement?

One of the major areas that Cisco can improve on with their SD-WAN offering is their security features. When compared with Fortinet, who have what they call their 'security pillars' (e.g. firewall and security features built-in to their SD-WAN solutions), Cisco generally comes up short. With Cisco, if you need a security component, you have to pay more to get it done. So if they could add more security features that come part and parcel with their existing solutions, then I think Cisco could be very aggressive in the market.

Essentially, they have to incorporate different security features on top of their SD-WAN box. At the end of the day, I should be able to give one single box to the customer which includes SD-WAN and all the necessary features such as security.

When it comes to IoT edges, they could possibly incorporate their SD-WAN features into the LAN side together with Cisco's DNA networking, just as Aruba is doing with their ESP solution. If Cisco could come up with a similar solution to that, then I think they will have the upper hand in the market compared to their competitors' brands. They have to come to a point where they can better integrate WAN and LAN into one single platform.

Regarding the data center sites, when we're talking about software-defined networking, Cisco has the SD-WAN segment, software-defined access for the LAN segment, and application-centric infrastructure for their data center segment, and they have to combine all three segments into one platform. Just like how the other guys are doing it. Again, if they can accomplish this, then technically they have a fair share in the market.

Otherwise, Cisco could also integrate more features on the cloud side of things, like with SD-WAN in the cloud, or SD-WAN in AWS, some of which I believe they have implemented already.

Beyond that, I can't say too much about what I'd like to see when it comes to new features because almost every day I've seen Cisco add more features to their SD-WAN and SD-LAN portfolios. At the rate they're going, it could be only a few months before they add the security features I've mentioned. So from my perspective, I think they're doing okay.

Finally, in terms of stability, there could be some improvement. In my experience with our current project, there have been some instances where stability has been an issue. But I can't speak for everyone here; other partners who have completed more projects may disagree and this is only my own observations so far.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco SD-WAN for two to three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I can't say that Cisco SD-WAN is incredibly stable, especially since Cisco has acquired Viptela and they are now busy with trying to improve Viptela's features and tools. So in some situations, it has been my experience that Cisco's SD-WAN is solid but it does succumb to stability issues at times.

So far we have completed only one project with Cisco, while other one is still ongoing. With that experience, I can say some stability improvements are needed, but I don't know about the other partners who have completed ten or more projects, for example.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability-wise, it's good, because when the customer's application load or data traffic increases, I can easily scale out the same product to match the increase.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. When it comes to Cisco's TAC (Technical Assistance Center) and solutions support as a country in the Asian market, they are doing good. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Alongside Cisco, we also use Fortinet. If we have a firewall or edge/perimeter security or other security measures in place already, we can simply go with Cisco. This is because the interconnectivity, branch connectivity, configuration level, solidness, and other features of Cisco are already adequate and, in some cases, superior. So when it comes to the networking components alone, I prefer Cisco.

But if the customer is asking for networking plus the perimeter level security, then I have to look into products like Fortinet, because with their lower pricing and so on, Fortinet comes out on top. Fortinet is much cheaper than Cisco. And for configuration, Fortinet's interfaces are also very comfortable to use when it comes to complex configurations.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Cisco's pricing is not entirely satisfactory when you compare the SD-WAN solutions in Asian markets — like the South Asian market in Sri Lanka — because there are several competing brands including Fortinet and Citrix, who provide much the same product for a generally lower price. And when it comes to firewall vendors like Palo Alto and SonicWall, they're also selling here. It's the same with VMware, too; they have much the same features.

So when you do a comparative showdown among these giants, you can see that Cisco and their customers could benefit from adjustments in terms of pricing. Fortinet, for one, is much cheaper than Cisco currently.

What other advice do I have?

My overall advice is that if you already have your network security established, then Cisco SD-WAN is a good, solid solution for the rest of the networking components. However, if you require more of an all-in-one SD-WAN solution that incorporates security from the beginning, you might want to look elsewhere.

I would rate Cisco SD-WAN a seven out of ten. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: reseller
ISM Network Architect at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Great QOE, good stability and pretty straightforward to set up
Pros and Cons
  • "They have a lot of built-ins. There are so many applications defined inside the solution. It makes it so that we don't have to create some policies. Each and every application is already defined in it."
  • "The solution doesn't offer failover between their own devices. If I want to, I should be able to put the two devices at the side, so there can be a failover."

What is our primary use case?

I work for a supply chain and we have a site where we want to offload the internet traffic and get to the application, etc. Some of the cloud applications go out directly and automatically through the SD-WAN device to the internet, so it is local and does not go to the MPLS. We can load balance those applications.

What is most valuable?

Their QOE, or Quality Of Experience, is the most valuable feature. Basically, VeloCloud measures the latency and the chatter and everything on a voice application, and it just routes the traffic or duplicates the packets according to that chatter. 

They have a lot of built-ins. There are so many applications defined inside the solution. It makes it so that we don't have to create some policies. Each and every application is already defined in it.

What needs improvement?

The solution doesn't offer failover between their own devices. If I want to, I should be able to put the two devices together, so there can be a failover. 

They need to come out with a new device, such as a 510 LTE which would have LTE capabilities.

On the 610 devices, they're saying they're going to have LTE in it. They don't have it. They don't even have a POE feature inside the VeloCloud devices. Therefore, if I want to set up a POE, just the one device with everything in it, I actually don't have a POE support on it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about six months now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability-wise the solution is quite good. It's reliable. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's not buggy at all.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is giving us problems at the moment. We want to put this as, for example, a primary MPLS, with internet secondary, and cellular tertiary. The LTE device doesn't even failover between them, however. Therefore, there is no scalability there.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't deal with technical support, due to the fact that we have AT&T. Since we deal with AT&T, we don't deal with them directly. Therefore, I can't speak to their level of knowledge or responsiveness.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our company is actually many companies. At another subsidiary, they are doing a POC with Cisco. Cisco is providing them with better pricing. On top of that, they have good availability and failover capabilities on LTE. The Cisco router can do the secondary subnet on the same VLAN, which VeloCloud cannot do.

They have a lot of features we technically need to have but don't on VeloCloud.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup isn't too complex. It's pretty straightforward.

In terms of the deployment, we designed everything properly, and due to the fact that we took the time to design it correctly, it didn't take a long time. Strategy-wise, we have AT&T as our provider. That said, we have set up a reference architecture in such a way that it just copies every site, according to our site size and the requirements.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you compare VeloCloud to, for example, Cisco, the pricing is almost the same. However, Cisco offers more features that are integral to the way we need the solution to operate. In that sense, it's better value for money. For example, now we need to have an extra LTE modem outside of VeloCloud, and it's going to add to the cost, which ultimately makes it more expensive.

What other advice do I have?

We're just customers. We don't have a business relationship with the company.

We are not using the newest version of the solution. They already have a newer version, however, we have everything outsourced to AT&T, and they have not upgraded the new version on it yet. The version we have on the VeloCloud is 3.4.3, and the newest version, which, from my understanding, is four, and is already out there.

The greatest advice I have for potential new users is this: when you do deploy the VeloCloud, it's pretty straightforward. However, the only thing you have to remember is to make sure that you have the site requirements in terms of the primary and secondary circuits. For us, the last mile circuit is always a requirement, so we have a tertiary as a cellular. That way, even if the primary and secondary go down, you are okay. Also, you need to make sure to size your VeloCloud equipment or VeloCloud model according to the size of your needs.

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I'd rate the solution at a nine.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Priyank Dubey
Product Management - Enterprises Managed Services at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
A flexible, stable and scalable solution
Pros and Cons
  • "The flexibility is a great feature."
  • "Future releases should contain AI for the voice feature."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution for SD-WAN as well as SD-WAN plus security NGFW, UTM. We use the combination of these three as they relate to multi-sites. 

What is most valuable?

I especially like the flexibility of being able to choose the license based on customer application requirements. Also, when it comes to the hardware, certain support or different switches will apply. However, the software's flexibility does come with a price for the customer. There is flexibility when it comes to upgrading to a higher bandwidth or license, as well as when combining with the security solution, NGFW and UTM. 

To sum up, the flexibility is a great feature. 

What needs improvement?

I don't have issues with the hardware, as the requisite capacity is visible in the data sheets. All the details in the data sheets are accounted for. But, I find myself confused when it comes to combining this with the software. I have not come across documentation on the Versa website which would provide information about the parameters for selecting the appropriate license. For this we are assisted by the solution's design engineer and the Versa team. I do what I can as a project manager and make the best suggestions I am capable of concerning the competition. 

Future releases should contain AI for the voice feature. SSL VPN is lacking in the solution. I wish to see this in the near future. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been with Tata Communications for approximately two years respect this product. I have made a good contribution to the onboarding of Versa FlexVNF and the development of SD-WAN products in Tata Communications. As I have been working with Spectra on the same product, I can say that I have been doing so with the solution for this length of time. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered bugs in the solution. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not come across limitations in the solution. I have worked on the 300 series, the 700 series and the 1000 series, but there are no limitation within the box. The important thing is that the combination of the box and the license provide the correct solution. That's what comes with this. Otherwise, we must consider the hardware and configuration details in respect of the throughput authorization when it comes to 100 Mbps for NGFW or 400 for UTM. These are especially present in terms of the configuration of the box against the bandwidth.

How are customer service and technical support?

As I am in product management, I have not had occasion to contact technical support. This would be in the purview of team delivery, support, provisioning or engineering teams. Occasionally, technical account managers also provide assistance. 

How was the initial setup?

The installation process was complex. Templates are there and we can pretty much put those straight into the Versa director and push them for other sites. A single template spokes other templates. This would involve a change in bandwidth or configuration. We make the changes on the template and push for those particular sites. So, when it comes to Versa director and analytics, it's pretty simple.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

While I cannot provide too much commentary on the price, I feel it to be fair for the moment. 

I should note that Citrix or Cisco Meraki are coming out with more competitive prices. The comparative pricing can pose an issue for us, as we are the ones who supply the solution. While we make adjustments to the solution, the majority of our customers have right templates and feel that they are able to get the same SD-WAN solution that fulfills our requirements for, perhaps, a price of 20 to 30 percent less than what we provide on Versa. 

What other advice do I have?

My advice is that a person come with data that meets his needs, which would provide hima good basis for selecting the correct sizing.  

I rate Versa FlexVNF as an eight-and-a-half out of ten, owing to the issues concerning the size of the box configurations and licensing. But, this rating also reflects the flexibility of choice afforded by the solution, as well as its futuristic approach that allows one to upgrade it to the next level of technology. It is very close to the next level of technology and one can actually upgrade his solution anytime over the cloud and to the central processor without the need to visit the field. That's simplicity.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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