For the first time ever, we’re providing a significant preview of our security roadmap. Coming to a Meraki MX Security Appliance near you: Intelligent Wide Area Networking (IWAN). That’s right: we’re adding the MX to the Cisco IWAN portfolio.
What is IWAN?
Intelligent WAN (IWAN) is a collection of Cisco technologies and products that provide the security and resiliency of an MPLS network without the cost and complexity. By leveraging inexpensive broadband Internet links, organizations can also gain more bandwidth and speed along with this reliability.
There are four main pillars to IWAN: transport independence, application optimization, intelligent path control, and secure connectivity. The Meraki MX already supports some of these. For example, transport independence means any available link can be used to relay traffic efficiently. The MX’s dual-WAN uplinks, VPN, and cellular pathways can already be configured for application optimization and failover if a link suddenly goes offline. The MX also supports secure connectivity through disruptive Auto VPN technology, which enables secure site-to-site VPN in seconds via the Meraki dashboard.
What’s new and upcoming will be dual-active path support for VPN as well as intelligent path functionality, namely performance-based routing (PfR) and policy-based routing (PbR). These upcoming features will allow simultaneous VPN traffic out of both WAN uplinks, as well as intelligent link selection based on factors like latency, loss, or policy.
There have been two significant trends in the management of highly distributed sites: first, applications are moving from the datacenter to the cloud, exerting pressure for more bandwidth; second, remote locations are connecting directly to the Internet rather than tunneling back to headquarters. In short: organizations need cheaper bandwidth that still provides the reliability and security of more expensive MPLS solutions.
These features are ideal for customers who want a lightweight, easily-deployed IWAN solution that is intuitive to maintain. Often, this means organizations managing multi-site deployments with lean IT staff who want to transition away from costly MPLS links for WAN connectivity. These new features will complement the extensive Cisco IWAN portfolio and provide more options for customers.
When will these features become available?
We anticipate that these new features will be accessible for all MX customers, regardless of MX model, this summer (2015)—although we may have some functionality available earlier than that. Please see our IWAN page for additional information or register for an upcoming webinar to learn more!