Cisco SD-WAN Overview




With the acquisition of Viptela by Cisco in 2017 I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning about their platform and the various components that comprise their SD-WAN solution. Below is a brief overview of the solution elements and their roles in creating an SD-WAN network.

vBond – Orchestrates control and management plane. vBond provides the first point of authentication (white-list model), facilitates NAT traversal, and distributes a list of vSmarts & vManage to all vEdge routers.

vSmart – vSmart coordinates fabric discovery, distributes control plane information between vEdges, disseminates date plane data plane and application-aware routing policies to the vEdge routers, implements control plane policies (including service chaining, multi-topology, and multi-hop), dramatically reduces control plane complexity.

vEdge – vEdge is a full-featured WAN router supporting VRRP, OSPF, and BGP. vEdge provides a secure data plane between other vEdge routers and establishes secure control plane connections with the vSmart controller. Implements data plane and application-aware routing policies and exports information and statistics. Support for zero-touch provisioning. vEdge is available in both physical and virtual form factors.

vManage – vManage is the management plane for Cisco SD-WAN and acts as the user interface for initial configuring and ongoing maintenance activities. vManage supports multitenancy, centralized provisioning, policies and templates, troubleshooting, monitoring, and software upgrades. vManage provides a rich set of REST and NETCONF APIs.

Terminology

  • Overlay Management Protocol (OMP) – Control plane protocol distributing reachability, security, and policies throughout the fabric
  • Transport Locator (TLOC) – Transport attachment point and next hop route attribute
  • Color – Control plane tag used for IPSec tunnel establishment logic
  • Site ID – Unique per-site numeric identifier used in policy application
  • System IP – Unique per-device (vEdge and controllers) IPv4 notation identifier. Also used as Router ID for BGP and OSPF
  • Organization Name – Overlay identifier common to all elements of the fabric
  • VPN (VRF) – Device-level and network-level segmentation

This is a very basic introduction to the pieces and parts of the solution. I plan to follow this up with additional content on how these pieces work together to provide a flexible architecture allowing for nearly any network topology to be created.

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