Understanding the Architectural Planes of the Cisco (Viptela) SD-WAN

This post is an overview of content provided in great detail in the new Lammle.com video course on CCIE Mastering Cisco SD-WAN by Anthony Sequeira. This course overprepares students for the SD-WAN coverage in ENCOR, the SD-WAN concentration exam, and the CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure Lab Exam. This course also provides four options for hands-on practice with the Cisco SD-WAN and guides students through all four of these. Enjoy! 

The Data Plane

For the data plane, we have vEdge devices and the cEdge devices. These are the workhorses of the SD-WAN solution. The vEdge refers to physical or virtual devices that are not specifically cloud-based, while the cEdge devices are the cloud-based versions.

Since the above naming is really a bit silly, it is no surprise that Cisco is migrating to the term WAN Edge device to describe all of these devices. These devices will make DTLS or TLS connections to the vManage and vSmart devices, and they will make IPsec connections with other WAN Edge devices.

They know what to do and how to do it thanks to the intelligence delivered by the vSmart controller which is part of the control plane (surprise).

The Control Plane

Here we have the vSmart controller. This is what most of us immediately think of when we think of the Cisco SD-WAN solution. This can be implemented as a container or a virtual machine.

The Management Plane

Here we have vManage. This component gives us a very well-designed graphical user interface for managing just about everything in the SD-WAN. As always with Cisco products it seems, there are a small handful of tasks you can only do in a CLI.

You can have vManage located on premises or you could be in a public cloud multitenant environment. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the high availability that is possible in the public cloud these days often times for functions like vManage. It sure is nice knowing the availability will be so many ‘nines’ it will basically always be there.

The Orchestration Plane

If there is any plane of operation that students are going to have a bit of trouble with it is this one. This does not necessarily translate to traditional routing and switching planes of operation. The star of the show here is vBond. Which makes me think of James Bond every time I say it.

The official full name of vBond is the vBond orchestrator. This is a great name for this component because it is very much going to be orchestrating what happens in the SD-WAN. It takes care of things like authentication between the various components. It also will be educating sites regarding remote subnets utilizing a protocol developed by Viptela for this task. This is the overlay management protocol, or OMP if you are into that whole brevity thing. It is most comparable to BGP, but remember, BGP, if found in the Cisco SD-WAN is considered part of the underlay technologies. All the SD-WAN components we have looked at here, including OMP, are part of the overlay solution.

In the next post, I’m going to elaborate on these different components of the SD-WAN. Then I will make sure we put together for you a key vocabulary list as new technologies like this basically have us learn a new language. Thanks for reading and visiting lammle.com – your home for best of breed Cisco training at all levels by top industry instructors.

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