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Senior Lead Network Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Easy to use, simple to install, and plenty of useful features
Pros and Cons
  • "VMware has been chosen by many of our customers who do not want to do a lot of complex routing in their environment and want a very easy-to-use solution. The most valuable features are simple troubleshooting, Dynamic Multipath Optimization (DMPO), and cybersecurity."
  • "In an upcoming release, they should allow customers the flexibility to use mobile applications where they can go and check on the information about their networks. A lot of vendors, such as Meraki, have a lot more integration with the use of portals to a mobile application. Having this feature as an alternative to logging into a laptop would be beneficial. If you are a SaaS-based company why not make a mobile application as well. You might not be able to do configurations but at least monitor while away or on vacation."

What is our primary use case?

Our main use cases have been for customers who have been traditionally using MPLS lines and are now moving into a lot more SaaS-based applications to transform the WAN infrastructure. A lot of our customers have end-of-life, end-of-support devices on the WAN and they are always looking for doing RFPs on cutting edge technology. Some of them happen to use a lot of VMware and Cisco portfolios in their data centers and they are constantly trying to see what solution fits best for them.

What is most valuable?

VMware has been chosen by many of our customers who do not want to do a lot of complex routing in their environment and want a very easy-to-use solution. The most valuable features are simple troubleshooting, Dynamic Multipath Optimization (DMPO), and cybersecurity. 

DMPO is a technology that is similar to a proprietary technology that VMware has. Customers probably do not understand too much about it in detail but they know about the benefits of it in general. What it does is constantly monitors all different areas, such as latency, jitter bandwidth, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. It makes sure that if there is a case where there is a networking jitter contained in the link, it figures out how to maneuver your traffic elsewhere. This is all done automatically without customers getting slowed down on those poor links. The customers do not want to spend too much time researching these complex technologies which VMware automatically takes care of them. It benefits many IT teams by taking a lot of the burden away who are constantly juggling a hundred different other things as well.

The cybersecurity component is very important. VMware also has a lot of security components embedded into the SD-WAN, especially with the traditionally SD-WAN, and now a lot more integration through secure access with partnerships companies, such as Zscaler and other SaaS-based solutions. VMware has a lot of portfolios within themselves that can support many security use cases and if they cannot they have partnerships with industry leaders who can. For example, the Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solutions through the Zscaler partnerships can help customers who want to move from traditional VPN solutions towards ZTNA based ones.

Overall as an experience, I have found that customers like the UI/UX experience that they receive from VMware.

What needs improvement?

There are customers that have very large routing and segmentation operations who do a lot of segmentation within their network and have complex routing requirements. VMware does not provide the facilities in terms of doing a lot of operations with routing tables, such as complex routing policies. It is more about that out-of-pocket experience that customers get out of VMware. There are other technologies for this type of use case from solutions, such as Versa or other WANs. These are for customers who are wanting to maneuver or configure things themselves, similar to DIY solutions, for them going to technologies, for instance from Versa, makes much more sense because they can do a lot more with routing, complex segmentation, and complex configurations. For customers who have complex service provider requirements, VMware and other solutions cannot support a lot of those use cases.

In an upcoming release, they should allow customers the flexibility to use mobile applications where they can go and check on the information about their networks. A lot of vendors, such as Meraki, have a lot more integration with the use of portals to a mobile application. Having this feature as an alternative to logging into a laptop would be beneficial. If you are a SaaS-based company why not make a mobile application as well. You might not be able to do configurations but at least monitor while away or on vacation.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for approximately four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The software itself is very stable which our customers really like. They do not want to have buggy software or problems. I see the customers choose VMware over others and over time because of positive experiences with use cases, it becomes a trusted vendor and they tend to trust in the name as a brand in the future.

IT vendors are getting much more stable with the code, but nowadays everybody has more attention towards SaaS technology. Networking will just become another bundle to a lot of those providing this type of solution. Many vendors are getting into SaaS solutions and in terms of documentation, code releases, and features, there are probably more advancements. In SD-WAN specifically, a lot more features are moving into SaaS-based solutions. These new solutions are going to get reviewed and push the industries even further towards SaaS solutions it is the future.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good.

How was the initial setup?

The solution is straightforward to install compared to other solutions, VMware makes setup simple. SD-WAN vendors have a kind of simplicity embedded into them, just because of the nature of the software-defined components into it. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have evaluated Zscaler and Versa.

What other advice do I have?

The advice to others wanting to implement this solution is not to try and do everything yourself. A lot of customers choose this route and are negatively affected two years later. It is important to do a lot of proof of concepts and testing. Get the solution from a trusted service provider who can manage it for you because these technologies are really complex under the code. Having a trusted service provider who can work with you and can have a lot of benefits. If your company business is not running the WAN links, I would suggest just offload that burden to a trusted service provider because then you can focus on your business. Technologies are complex, and doing all of these operations through your own IP node is complex. A trusted service provider who knows what they are doing can offload a lot of that burden allowing for you to relax and actually focus on your main applications and business.

A lot of customers I have seen in the industry try to do all the operations themselves just because they think that it is good to insource everything. This is one of the areas that you should not be insourceed a hundred percent of your team because these technologies can be extremely difficult to do on a day-to-day basis. Service providers handle hundreds of customers and they know a lot more about what you are doing and can be very useful than if you did it by yourself.

I rate VMware SD-WAN an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Implementer
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Senior Network Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Great centralized management and nice interface but the pricing is high
Pros and Cons
  • "You can easily scale the product."
  • "It should also be much more affordable for a larger number of customers."

What is our primary use case?

Typically it's used for connecting the hundreds of branches to multiple data centers and also the headquarters. 

How has it helped my organization?

The mean time between the failures is much lower than was before. Also, the man-hours required are fewer. Overall, the user experience is better than before this solution.

What is most valuable?

The application link selection, I would say, is quite useful. 

The load sharing over the multiple links is great. 

We like the centralized management and aggregation aspects.

Technology-wise, it's decent.

The solution is pretty stable.

You can easily scale the product.

They did a new interface of Cisco SD-WAN. It's good.

What needs improvement?

They need to improve the licensing, definitely. It needs to be easier to license. It should also be much more affordable for a larger number of customers. This is one of the main issues when working with customers. When you want to offer them the solution, they really do not like the price.

I would love to have better templating. It needs a more user-friendly interface. 

They need to add the features that help to configure and navigate the daily features. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's stable enough. They hardened it to their operating system. It's not an issue.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales to a very high number, in terms of the hardware branch elements or hubs, or data centers, or even the cloud connection points. Scaling is not really an issue when it comes to Cisco SD-WAN. 

We currently have two customers on the solution. Right now, mostly, it's in the phase of testing to see how it fits the customer environment. They are considering growing in terms of the sizing and migrating all their traditional or legacy network to SD-WAN. 

How are customer service and support?

Technical support is decent from the Cisco side. We have no complaints about their level of service.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We definitely worked with the other vendors, other competitive vendors. All of them have pros and cons. I have not switched from one vendor SD-WAN to Cisco. It's a relatively easy technology, however, it's not that easy to switch from A to B. We've worked with, for example, HPE, Aruba, and Fortinet.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is definitely not straightforward. It takes a lot of experience and knowledge to properly run up the system and clean up all the moving parts, and all the elements of the fabric. After that, the operation is easy. Operation is not that hard, however, to get there, the initial startup is not that easy.

The deployment time depends on the scale, however, typically, the controller spins up after one or two weeks. That's not counting the high-level designs or lower-level designs. 

The deployment only needs one or two engineers, and then you might need one person to handle maintenance requirements.

What about the implementation team?

We are the partners, therefore we are the value-added resellers. So what we do, is to help the customers do the implementation.

What was our ROI?

The ROI is really good. However, it depends on the company. I can't really evaluate the ROI in general. For some, it will be very high, and for some, it'll be very low. It depends on what they do, and what their expenses are.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The costs to use the product are quite high.

That said, I can't speak to the exact licensing arrangements.

The most annoying thing is that you have to pay an annual subscription in order to operate the whole fabric. Regardless, the customer isn't getting the signatures or any updates. It's just for the functionality to continue as it is. It's also very annoying. This is not only for Cisco. It's true for others as well.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

A solution we're currently considering right now is Versa.

What other advice do I have?

We are Cisco partners.

It's a decent technology. If a company really wants to go with SD-WAN, Cisco is one of the greatest in this area, definitely. If they have the budget for that allocated, and the operating expenses are allocated for the coming years, then I would suggest going ahead and trying it. There is always an option to go back to the traditional networking when it comes to Cisco. Therefore, if you don't like SD-WAN, you don't have to throw away the hardware. You can keep the legacy or traditional connections. That's one of the benefits of having Cisco SD-WAN.

I'd rate the solution at a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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IT Manager / Project Coordinator at a healthcare company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Integrates well with everything, technical support is very helpful, and it is all managed from a single pane of glass
Pros and Cons
  • "It's a cloud-based solution that integrates well with everything."
  • "I would like to see better integration with identity providers."

What is our primary use case?

It's a network device that is used for WAN optimization and security.

What is most valuable?

It's a cloud-based solution that integrates well with everything. They are the classic SaaS solution.

We don't need to have a static IP from our provider, which saves us money.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better integration with identity providers. Right now, they have Azure and they have Okta. 

For directory synchronization they use LDAP, and it would be better if they moved away from this. My understanding is that they are already working on removing LDAP completely and using web-based authentication for the VPN users and other users. This is not something that is critical for me. I just set up the main services in Azure and use that. This is okay because we don't have a lot of remote users, perhaps 10 or 20 at the maximum, with VPN access. This may change in the future.

For how long have I used the solution?

We are in the testing phase of this solution. I have been testing Cato Networks for one month.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

During the testing period, there were no outages. Everything was smooth and worked well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is absolutely scalable, which was the reason we decided to go with Cato Networks.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent. Even during our testing phase, they were able to set up at least three hours to walk me through and answer my questions.

They were knowledgeable and I would rate them a five out of five.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

It's easy to set up and we just connect to their network.

As we are still in the testing phase, we have not implemented it yet. There will be some implementation, but it's pretty basic. There is no complex setup like you would have with Versa for example. For the most part, it's plug and play.

What about the implementation team?

There were some questions that I had to ask them, but for the most part, I set it up myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you compare with VeloCloud, the price is the same or even cheaper. Also, they include all of the security features, unlike VeloCloud.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had evaluated others such as VeloCloud and vScaler. 

The advantage of Cato Networks is that they have integrated steps, such as SD-WAN plus Network Security, plus VCNA altogether, in one management pane of glass. It's one place to manage everything. 

With VeloCloud it's SD-WAN, and there is no security. You would still have to get a dedicated endpoint like a firewall if you want added protection then it would be harder to manage it centrally.

vScaler can be integrated, but then it drives the price up significantly. Also, it's not an ideal solution.

One of the advantages of Cato is that they provide a static IP from their cloud and assign it to us. This is a service that comes with an additional cost, but it's cheap compared to if I get it from my service provider. 

Now that the trial period is almost over, I have decided that I am going to go with Cato Networks.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is looking into Cato is to consider their environment. If they have a scenario where it is 80% cloud-based and 20% internal traffic, then Cato is a good choice. If on the other hand, they have internal applications with a data center then other solutions may make more sense. For us, since we are fully cloud-based, it is a better choice.

In summary, it is easy to implement and easy to manage. That said, there are always ways to improve.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Get our free report covering Cato Networks, Cisco, and other competitors of Versa Titan. Updated: January 2022.
563,148 professionals have used our research since 2012.