Introducing automated site-to-site connectivity over Microsoft’s global backbone network with Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub

Network connectivity is paramount for every enterprise today, especially for global enterprises with sites spread across multiple countries and regions. To establish global connectivity between their sites, it is a common practice today to use private MPLS circuits as a primary link with broadband internet as a backup option. Both have advantages and challenges: MPLS offers stability and speed, but is less flexible and takes longer to provision, while the internet can be less reliable.

As enterprises’ digital transformation brings in more cloud and cloud-hosted applications, there’s an increasing need for more agile connections between globally distributed sites. Cisco is working to make the unused global backbone capacity in the public cloud available to enterprises to use for inter-site connectivity. With Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub enterprises who have deployed Cisco SD-WAN fabric for their WAN infrastructure can now securely extend their fabric to the public cloud in a simple and automated way and consider utilizing this for their global site-to-site connectivity.

Microsoft owns and operates one of the largest backbone networks in the world. It establishes high-speed connectivity between Microsoft data centers and spans more than 60 Azure regions worldwide. With more than 185 locations, Microsoft has strategically located PoPs (points of presence), unused bandwidth capacity, and the flexibility to meet the demand for global IP transit. With Cisco and Microsoft’s collaboration, global enterprises can now build single or multiple overlays on top of this backbone to interconnect their offices and sites worldwide, in addition to connecting sites to workloads running inside Microsoft Azure. Furthermore, Cisco uniquely enables enterprise SD-WAN connectivity over Microsoft’s global network through a unified, policy-driven, cloud-scale SD-WAN fabric.

If you are a global enterprise with workloads running in Azure, that is already connected or plan to connect via Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub, you can now benefit from the same infrastructure to build an overlay on top of Microsoft’s global network to connect sites worldwide in a simple, secure and straightforward way.

Site-to-site connectivity with Microsoft global network using Cisco SD-WAN

Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub with Azure Virtual WAN

“Cisco and Microsoft worked together to build a best-in-class integration, providing a modern transit architecture for enterprises to establish site- to-cloud connectivity with Cisco SD-WAN and Azure Virtual WAN.  The solution delivers a global WAN with automated provisioning and management so that customers can establish on-demand, highly reliable, and efficient site-to-site connectivity over Microsoft’s high speed global backbone network.”
– Sudha Mahajan, General Manager & Partner, Azure Core

The upcoming Cisco SD-WAN 20.10 release in December 2022 will enable automated site-to-site connectivity over Microsoft’s global network using Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub with Azure Virtual WAN and Multi-Region Fabric. Multi-Region Fabric allows customers to identify a site based on its geographic location and attach sites to regions based on geographical boundaries. This hierarchical, simplified architecture will allow them to divide their SD-WAN overlay network into multiple regions.

This approach will significantly cut down the time needed to bring up site-to-site connectivity across regions and help architecturally and operationally to scale the network to support hundreds to thousands of sites. It will also allow customers to apply consistent policies across sites and regions and enable end-to-end encryption for data transfer between the sites using Cisco SD-WAN. They will be able to establish inter-region connectivity through Microsoft’s global network on-demand, to meet their business needs in an agile manner.

Modern cloud transit architecture

Through our partnership with Microsoft, we have created a hybrid WAN architecture bringing together Cisco’s SD-WAN and Microsoft’s Azure Virtual WAN to deliver a best-in-class modern transit architecture for cloud connectivity. Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub with Azure Virtual WAN leverages its built-in automation to establish on-demand inter-region site-to-site connectivity. Enterprise customers have already adopted this architecture for cloud connectivity making it the de-facto cloud connectivity solution for any site-to-cloud connection over SD-WAN. Our innovative capabilities will add significant new benefits to global and multinational companies.