Cisco SD-WAN vs VMware SD-WAN comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Aug 1, 2023

We compared VMware SD-WAN and Cisco SD-WAN across several parameters based on our users' reviews. After reading the collected data, you can find our conclusion below:

  • Features: VMware SD-WAN prioritizes network performance with features such as DMPO and seamless integration with virtual LAN and cloud providers. Cisco SD-WAN is praised for its service quality, real-time traffic visibility, and automation capabilities.

  • Room for Improvement: VMware SD-WAN could include a command line interface and offer a stronger routing Broadcom support, improved automation and integration, and smoother integration with other vendors. Cato Networks could enhance its security measures by incorporating a web application firewall feature and improving intrusion detection. Cisco SD-WAN should enhance its connectivity to prominent cloud providers and incorporate additional security features.

  • Ease of Deployment: Opinions on the setup process for VMware SD-WAN were mixed. Some said it was simple, but others noted it was time-consuming. Cisco SD-WAN can be more complicated and may require expert help. While some users found it to be easy, others encountered difficulties and uncertainty during the setup.

  • Service and Support: Some users praised VMware's prompt and efficient technical support, while others reported challenges contacting the support team. While some Cisco SD customers found the support to be outstanding, others encounter delays and challenges in connecting with the appropriate personnel.

  • Pricing: Users have varying opinions on the setup cost of VMware SD-WAN, with some finding it pricier compared to other brands. Cisco SD-WAN is perceived as pricier compared to its rivals.

  • ROI: Reviewers have reported a varied ROI for VMware SD-WAN, highlighting benefits such as improved productivity and faster time-to-market. Cisco SD-WAN offers flexibility and scalability, leading to long-term benefits and cost reduction.

Comparison Results: VMware SD-WAN is praised for its ability to optimize network performance and provide automation, stability, and good customer service. However, users suggest improvements in multitenant solutions, CLI, and security features. Cisco SD-WAN is a highly scalable solution with a comprehensive feature set and scalability, but it requires improvements in stability and native connectivity to cloud providers.

To learn more, read our detailed Cisco SD-WAN vs. VMware SD-WAN Report (Updated: September 2023).
745,341 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"The solution has great scalability.""Cisco SD-WAN is a stable solution.""When we have had power outages for a few hours we have had no issue with Cisco SD-WAN coming back online and functioning.""The most valuable features in Cisco SD-WAN are the QoS, AI, and simple interface for users to access.""The best feature of this technology that is available to us is the ability to do better load-balancing.""The most valuable features of Cisco SD-WAN are reliability and scalability.""Initial setup is easy.""With other routing protocols, we have had to send team members to perform installations and configurations. There is a lot of work involved. However with SD-WAN, once it is installed it is fully automated, and we can do all other tasks remotely. We don't have to send staff out to the client's location. It's very independent, and we can establish SD-WAN connectivity easily. It is secure as well."

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"The setup is very straightforward.""The initial configuration and deployment are quite easy.""I have found the dynamic multipoint protocol(DNPO) most useful because it can tell you which is the best circuit to use for different types of traffic.""It's scalable.""The most valuable feature of VMware SD-WAN is the virtualization platform. You can use the software on any hardware. Additionally, the solution is easy to use.""VMware SD-WAN is easy-to-use.""SD-WAN is cloud-based and you can manage multiple sites within one single pane of glass.""When extra capacity is needed, we can get it very quickly."

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"We need them to start focusing on the SD-WAN compatibility with other environments and not being so vendor locked with Cisco environments.""The product needs to have more understanding staff in their support team. The tool needs to provide support in every stage of deployment. We did not get the expected support from their team. The product is also not easy to use.""Cyber security should also be implemented in the solution, along with maybe implementation of AI/ML.""Cisco SD-WAN is not as easy to deploy as the Meraki and FortiGate solutions. The zero-touch deployment could be a lot better. The deployment and initial setup are complicated and could be better.""All of the configurations are based on templates, and we need to spend a lot of time doing the templates. It's good because that means that all of the configurations will be equal in the network. However, we need to spend a lot of time implementing the templates and doing the customizations.""The solution is very costly.""The initial setup was not very straightforward, but it gets easier the more deployments you complete.""Cisco SD-WAN doesn't have automation capabilities, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and isn't IOT-based."

More Cisco SD-WAN Cons →

"VMware SD-WAN could improve by having more partnerships with other vendors.""VMware SD-WAN could improve if the hardware could integrate the interface using ICP. Additionally, if VMware SD-WAN is used with SSE providers that use tunnels there are some issues prioritizing traffic because it cannot decrypt.""The initial setup of VMware SD-WAN was simple. However, it took six days to complete.""The product should have on-demand tunnels instead of fixed tunnels.""The cost is a little bit high.""Can't execute commands quickly when troubleshooting. The graphic user interface is slow.""There is room for improvement in the pricing.""VMware SD-WAN is complicated to configure."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The pricing is fair, and it's on par with the market vendors. But based on the competition, Cisco could work on the pricing, go deep on discounts and provide more commercially viable solutions to customers."
  • "When purchasing, there are so many features available that it's quite confusing deciding which to choose. And some of the devices force you to buy licenses you don't want."
  • "This is not a cheap option but if you move from Capex to Opex, I expect you should have lower costs."
  • "Cisco SD-WAN is more expensive than its competitors."
  • "It's costly. The cost is high compared to competitors."
  • "There is a monthly subscription to use this solution."
  • "For 600 links, the license for Cisco SD-WAN costs us US$250k a year."
  • "On a scale of one to five, I would rate Cisco's pricing as a three."
  • More Cisco SD-WAN Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "There is only a standard fee for the solution."
  • "The licensing model of VMware SD-WAN could be improved, it is not always that competitive. The biggest concern is to be competitive against other solutions. However, the way that the licensing model is designed is not corresponding to the real use cases of my customers."
  • "Overall pricing could be lower. It is much more expensive than traditional hardware vendor pricing."
  • "The solution's price combines the license and the bandwidth you used."
  • "We pay about $500 USD, or 700,000 Korean won."
  • "The minimum cost is $10,000 a month to have a monitoring station set up."
  • "The price of VMware SD-WAN is less expensive than some solutions, such as Cisco."
  • "I would rate the product’s pricing a six out of ten since the license is costly."
  • More VMware SD-WAN Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Said MEDANI
    imadam - PeerSpot reviewerimadam
    Real User

    @Diyaspino,​ all three are overpriced. 

    Depending on what are you looking for, you may look at Fortinet or even check the latest Sophos offering. 

    There is a number of different postings on SD-WAN in the last few years. Once people learned that SD-WAN is an old VPN with a new user interface, they moved to a new buzzword. 

    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:The cloud environment, including cloud security integration, is very valuable because of the many API integrations with the SD-WAN.
    Top Answer:The pricing is neutral. However, there is room for improvement in the licensing model.
    Top Answer:In the transition from Viptela to Cisco SD-WAN, there have been very huge revision cycles in the last three to four years. This does not happen for a stable product. Still, it is because Cisco has… more »
    Top Answer:One of our favorite things about Fortinet Fortigate is that you can deploy on the cloud or on premises. It is a very stable, reliable, and consistent solution. We like that we can manage the entire… more »
    Top Answer:The product’s most valuable feature is DMPO.
    Top Answer:VMware SD-WAN provides competitive pricing. I rate the pricing a seven out of ten.
    Average Words per Review
    Average Words per Review
    Also Known As
    Viptela, Cisco vEdge Cloud Router
    Learn More

    Cisco SD-WAN is a software-defined WAN (wide area network) solution that provides for secure stable connections to applications for enterprises and organizations. Cisco SD-WAN works to speed up the seamless movement to the cloud. A very robust and reliable solution, Cisco SD-WAN is cutting-edge in threat security and stability of the complete network and has very low latency. Cisco SD-WAN uses Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), data centers, and even the internet to smoothly advance the move to a SASE (Service Access Service Edge)-based architecture. The Cisco SD-WAN dashboard gives you a complete visual of your entire infrastructure; you can see everything in real time. You will also have simplified IT operations and gain advanced network capabilities, dependability, and security. One valued feature is the overlay management protocol (OMP), which applies to your entire network to speedily connect all your company data centers. Cisco SD-WAN has a very flexible architecture and can be deployed on premises, in the cloud, hybrid, and even has multi-cloud options. Cisco SD-WAN instantly discovers, authenticates, and provisions all devices, both existing and new.

    Cisco SD-WAN simplifies the management of multiple connections across the WAN, improves the end-user experience, improves overall application functionality and performance, and is a very cost-effective solution. Cisco SD-WAN integrates well with Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and many other cloud-based business solutions. Additionally, Cisco SD-WAN optimizes connectivity and streamlines workflows for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure.

    Benefits of Cisco SD-WAN

    • Increased profitability - Cisco SD-WAN will improve performance and decrease overall connectivity costs.
    • Improved productivity - Cisco SD-WAN requires less staff to manage and secure the WANs so valuable resources can be allocated elsewhere in your organization, increasing total productivity.
    • Flexible scalability- Cisco SD-WAN’s flexible and easily scalable architecture will allow your organization to address significantly greater business opportunities, helping to consistently increase revenue.
    • Enhanced security - Cisco SD-WAN offers real-time policy enforcement, ensuring that downtime and unplanned outages are kept to a minimum.

    What real users have to say:

    Cisco SD-WAN is fast with lower costs: “Using SD-WAN to combine services can result in better up time, higher speeds, and much lower costs.”

    Cisco is a brand you can trust: “Cisco is an industry leader, so customers have a high level of trust with the brand - more so than with some newcomers that might have some more revolutionary solutions, but no name recognition.”

    Cisco SD-WAN offers load-balancing and real-time traffic monitoring: “Load balancing is a feature that allows us to take the best of our links and distribute the load intelligently, always with an eye on the end-customer experience.”

    VMware Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a secure access service edge (SASE) platform that combines many types of software-based network technologies in an attempt to enable users to virtualize their wide area networks and reduce their reliance on hardware. In essence, this solution makes it possible for users to reliably access their applications from anywhere in the world by leveraging cloud technologies. Users can simply, efficiently, and completely control their network devices and traffic. It ensures that organizations are always able to use the best possible connection to their data centers. VMware SD-WAN steers traffic so that it is always using the most reliable connections and at the same time takes steps to remediate any problems that it detects in other network links. This guarantees that organizations can access high-priority applications at all times. 

    VMware SD-WAN Benefits

    Some of the ways that organizations can benefit by deploying VMware SD-WAN include:

    • Reduced cost of network management. Organizations that choose to employ VMware SD-WAN can manage their network at a cost that is 2.5 times less expensive than what it costs to use traditional WAN architectures. Its ability to both augment existing hardware and replace said hardware if the user chooses to do so is part of what enables users to reduce their overhead costs. 
    • Ease of deployment. VMware SD-WAN makes it possible for organizations to deploy it without having to rely on the assistance of technical experts. When the device - whether virtual or otherwise - is connected to the internet, it integrates with a central orchestrator that pushes the correct integrations to the device in question. This automates the installation process and makes it so that anybody can initiate and follow the deployment through to the end of the process. 
    • Easily segment networks to improve environmental performance. Users can divide their networks into multiple segments that share a single IP address. These networks can be incorporated into an organization’s IT infrastructure and enable it to run more reliably. One way it does this is by providing multiple potential channels for data to use to travel in the event that one of the data pathways is suffering from some kind of issue. 

    VMware SD-WAN Features

    • Centralized monitoring. VMware SD-WAN is monitored at all times by a centralized orchestrator. From one place, an organization can watch every part of its network. Instead of having to search for the data they need, it can all be found in one location.
    • Integration capabilities. VMware SD-WAN offers users the capability to integrate their network with the environment of their choosing. This enables them to connect their network to the IT environment that best meets their needs. It makes it easy for them to work with multi-cloud and hybrid environments.
    • Real-time data analytics. VMware SD-WAN can analyze network data in real time. This makes it easy for users to monitor their network’s performance. It also allows them to take steps to quickly remediate any issues that arise before they can become worse.

    Reviews from Real Users

    VMware SD-WAN is a solution that stands out when compared to many of its competitors. Two major advantages it offers are its ability to automate the process of creating and maintaining a virtual local area network and its intuitive user dashboard.

    Sami I., principal cloud architect at Loihe, writes, “One of the solution's most valuable features is the VMware core automation stack at an SDDC. It includes NSX, the VMware virtualization layer for the networks (the LAN virtualization), which works extremely well with the VMware SD-WAN solution and is the primary advantage over all the others. None of the other vendors could integrate with the virtual LAN, making it quite complicated and virtualized to be fully automated.”

    Chih S., senior technical consultant at a tech services company,  says, “The product has a very good user dashboard that is simple to navigate.” 

    Learn more about Cisco SD-WAN
    Learn more about VMware SD-WAN
    Sample Customers
    Doyle Research, Ashton Metzler & Associates
    Redmond, Coca Cola, Roka Bioscience, MetTel, Deutsche Telekom, Rockford Construction,  The Bay Club, tru Independence, Triton Management Services, DevCon, AXPM
    Top Industries
    Comms Service Provider47%
    Computer Software Company17%
    Financial Services Firm11%
    Manufacturing Company6%
    Educational Organization33%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Financial Services Firm6%
    Comms Service Provider5%
    Comms Service Provider46%
    Manufacturing Company21%
    Computer Software Company8%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Computer Software Company17%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    Comms Service Provider7%
    Company Size
    Small Business41%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise43%
    Small Business16%
    Midsize Enterprise40%
    Large Enterprise44%
    Small Business40%
    Midsize Enterprise26%
    Large Enterprise34%
    Small Business25%
    Midsize Enterprise15%
    Large Enterprise60%
    Buyer's Guide
    Cisco SD-WAN vs. VMware SD-WAN
    September 2023
    Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco SD-WAN vs. VMware SD-WAN and other solutions. Updated: September 2023.
    745,341 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Cisco SD-WAN is ranked 2nd in Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions with 39 reviews while VMware SD-WAN is ranked 3rd in Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions with 25 reviews. Cisco SD-WAN is rated 8.0, while VMware SD-WAN is rated 8.2. The top reviewer of Cisco SD-WAN writes "The initial setup is complex, and the price is high, but it is scalable and stable". On the other hand, the top reviewer of VMware SD-WAN writes "To fully utilize cloud vendors' hardware networking, Microsoft and VMware support everything". Cisco SD-WAN is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Meraki SD-WAN, Versa Unified Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) Platform, Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN Platform and Cato Networks, whereas VMware SD-WAN is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Meraki SD-WAN, Cato Networks, Versa Unified Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) Platform and Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN Platform. See our Cisco SD-WAN vs. VMware SD-WAN report.

    See our list of best Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions vendors and best WAN Edge vendors.

    We monitor all Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.