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AWS Cloud WAN simplifies SD-WAN

Available as a preview version in some AWS Regions, AWS Cloud WAN consolidates the previous “patchwork” of SD-WAN tools into a single dashboard, providing customers with policy-driven security

AWS has announced AWS Cloud WAN, its entry into the managed Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) product category. Aimed at businesses with global digital footprints managing remote offices and employees, AWS Cloud WAN offers a turnkey approach to SD-WAN security via Amazon’s global network, which up to now, required a patchwork to achieve.

The old way involved stitching together AWS Direct Connect, AWS Transit Connect Gateway and third-party SD-WAN solutions. That operational complexity was the problem. Cloud WAN is the AWS’ swing at an integrated solution.

AWS Cloud WAN connects on-prem data centers, branch offices and cloud resources together on AWS’ global backbone, providing private network control and management. Customers administer security through a central dashboard and can issue network policies to build and manage their global network.

“We hear from customers that they are tired of the complexity of managing multiple networks with different connectivity, security and monitoring requirements using multiple third-party products and services,” said David Brown, vice president of Amazon EC2 at AWS.

“Network teams can use simple network policies to specify the Amazon VPCs and on-premises locations they want to connect through AWS VPN, AWS Direct Connect, AWS Transit Gateway and third-party software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) products, and AWS Cloud WAN generates a complete view of the network to monitor network health, security, and performance,” said AWS.

Customers connect on-prem facilities to AWS with their CSP, according to Amazon: “These connections bridge the gap between the customer’s data centers or colocation facilities and the AWS network, extending their existing WAN network to the cloud.”

Customers deploy their global network using the AWS Region closes to their on-prem facility and then add remote offices and data centers as necessary.

Preview coming to more regions soon

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels explained during his keynote address at last weeks’ re:Invent that Cloud WAN enables customers to define network policies and set up secure networking “in minutes using the big AWS backbone for you, to give you a highly reliable, highly available, software-defined wide area network running over AWS infrastructure.”

The preview of AWS Cloud RAN levels the managed WAN playing field among hyperscalers, as Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud have already introduced similar offerings. 

AWS’ announcement elicited support from leading vendors including Cisco, Verizon, VMware and others, as well as endorsements from customers already using the service including Deloitte and Swisscom. 

AWS Cloud WAN is available in preview today in US East (N. Virginia), US West (N. California), Africa (Cape Town), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Europe (Ireland), Europe (Frankfurt) and South America (São Paulo) with availability in additional AWS Regions coming soon.

Last week Verizon Business announced a managed SD-WAN service based on Cisco’s offerings. It’s part of a continued collaboration that yielded three new SD-WAN managed service offerings earlier this year.


Peter Cohen
Peter Cohen
Peter is Technology Editor for RCR Wireless News. His coverage areas include telco cloud and the convergence of 5G and cloud computing. Peter's background includes IT management and a decade as a senior editor at Macworld. He and his family live in Massachusetts.

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