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CenturyLink Teams with Cisco on SD-WAN

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CenturyLink added an SD-WAN service to its portfolio in partnership with Cisco.

The telecommunications provider announced Wednesday that its customers can now deploy what it calls Managed Cisco SD-WAN. Cisco subsidiary Viptela powers the solution with its virtualized network platform and vEdge routers.

CenturyLink was already working with Versa Networks to offer managed SD-WAN, but a Cisco-affiliated service is convenient for customers that want to “integrate with their existing network infrastructure.” Cisco has about a 60 percent share of the enterprise router market, according to Gartner.

CenturyLink's Adam Saenger

CenturyLink’s Adam Saenger

“This offer provides more choices for companies to achieve improved network optimization and deliver better performance for their customers,” said Adam Saenger, CenturyLink’s vice president of networking solutions. “We reduce the risk and complexity of WAN modernization with a complete range of global hybrid connectivity and SD-WAN solutions that offer better service quality, faster deployment and improved security, scale and cost efficiency.”

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It’s not the first collaboration between CenturyLink and Cisco. The service provider last year rolled out a managed service for Meraki, which is another software-defined networking from Cisco. CenturyLink also holds gold-partner status with the networking giant.

Ramesh Prabagaran, Cisco’s senior director of product management, said the expanded relationship with CenturyLink creates a “simple, cost-effective SD-WAN solution.”

Ramesh Prabagaran

Ramesh Prabagaran

“As more enterprise applications move to the cloud, it becomes harder for IT to optimize application performance while ensuring that the network stays secure,” Prabagaran said. “CenturyLink’s new Managed Cisco SD-WAN offering removes that burden from IT, giving customers the confidence to tackle this new cloud-first world.”

Prabagaran spoke to Channel Partners in December and argued why Cisco is the best option for transitioning legacy infrastructure customers into SD-WAN. He told us “sophistication in routing” is critical to going from the old to the new.

“Routing is not just about building routers and placing routers at the customer site; it’s about connectivity,” he said last year. “How do I make sure that my site gets the high availability that it requires? How do I make sure that I have the most optimal way of going from one place to another?’”

CenturyLink one month ago announced the global availability of its original managed SD-WAN solution. The company has often described SD-WAN as a means to augment MPLS networks, but CenturyLink offers a variety of other connectivity options, including dedicated internet, broadband aggregation and 4G LTE.


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