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AWS, Cisco ‘Easing Pain Into The Cloud' With AWS Outposts Support, SD-WAN Tie-Ins

At AWS re:Invent 2019, Cisco announced deeper tie-ins between Cisco ACI and Outposts, Cisco SD-WAN and AWS Transit Gateway, and AWS Security Group with Cisco's Cloud Defense Orchestrator.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Cisco are working together to make networking and security policies consistent across the entire, hybrid cloud infrastructure, the two companies announced this week at re:Invent in Las Vegas.

To do this, Cisco is deepening its integrations with AWS across the campus, branch, data center, and cloud. Specifically in the campus and branch, Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) technology for cloud environments, called ACI Anywhere, will now be available on AWS Outposts.

AWS Outposts, Amazon’s on-premise service for running applications, is now going to be supported by Cisco ACI, which can translate a businesses' policy models into consistent on-premise and cloud-native constructs that are deployed across AWS applications. The combination not only gives end users one place to configure, monitor, and operate multiple environments across data centers and AWS, but it can also reduce complexity and save businesses money, Cisco said.

[Related: AWS, Verizon Team To Put AWS Services On The Edge Of The 5G Network]

"I see these [announcements] as the initial step along the journey where now we can connect branches automatically, taking that ease of management and monitoring and making it simple. It's easing that pain into the cloud," said Derrick Monahan, cloud networking solutions architect for World Wide Technology (WWT), a top global Cisco partner and authorized AWS partner.

WWT has many multi-national enterprise customers with complex networks and branch sites. Customers are struggling today with simplifying the orchestration and automation of their networks, Monahan said. WWT has customers implementing AWS Outposts today because they need connectivity to the data center and some workloads still need to be kept close, Monahan said.

Cisco also has plans to integrate AppDynamics into AWS Outposts, Monahan said. "It absolutely has to happen," he added.

Cisco first announced that ACI would be extended to reach into AWS and Microsoft Azure cloud environments in January at Cisco Live in Barcelona.

In the data center, Cisco‘s flagship SD-WAN solution, which is powered by Viptela, will also now be integrated with AWS Transit Gateway, a service customers can use to connect their Amazon Virtual Private Clouds, the San Jose, Calif.-based tech giant said. The combination of Cisco's SD-WAN with AWS Transit Gateway will let IT teams automate and manage connectivity from branches to the AWS Cloud, using Cisco vManage SD-WAN Controller.

"We're seeing security from an SD-WAN perspective being put into the branch offices and security is being extended out, but the problem is with managing policies. I think this is a step forward in helping customers manage all their policies," Monahan said.

On the security side, Cisco has added AWS Security Group, which acts as a virtual firewall to control inbound and outbound traffic, to its Cloud Defense Orchestrator (CDO). The tech giant is also extending the existing ACI policy-based automation for services insertion to the AWS cloud and AWS VPC Ingress Routing.

By bolstering CDO with AWS Security Group management, deploying services in a hybrid cloud just got easier for partners and end customers, said Sachin Gupta, Cisco's senior vice president of product management.

"Our deeper integration partnership with AWS will lead to cloud apps that perform better and more securely. Our goal is to make it more straightforward for you to deploy new apps on hybrid networks, to make apps more manageable using the Cisco network tools you already have, and to save your business money in the process," Gupta said in a blog post published on the updates.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins last month told CRN that the two companies have a strong relationship.

“We don’t view Amazon as a competitor. They’re actually a very good customer and we work with them a lot,” Robbins told CRN during a November interview at the Cisco Partner Summit in Las Vegas. “From a solution stack [perspective], I'm sure there will be more and more opportunities over the coming years to work with them,” he added.

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