July 12, 2018 was a big day all the way around. Citrix announced yet another milestone in its relationship with Microsoft, and they, in turn, announced the public preview of Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN. This is a new service that provides an optimized, automated and global-scale branch connectivity experience by using Azure and Microsoft’s global network.

Citrix is a leader in delivering applications and content in a secure digital workspace across hybrid, multi-cloud and multi-device environments. Citrix proudly partners with Microsoft to provide the Citrix SD-WAN solution as the on-ramp to Azure Virtual WAN.

The combined solution offers Citrix and Microsoft customers a much richer experience, granular levels of securityat an app level and more choice and flexibilityas they move ahead in their cloud journey.

Let’s look at what the solution offers:

Citrix SD-WAN provides a comprehensive application-aware access solution from each enterprise branch to the Azure Virtual WAN Service. Citrix SD-WAN improves performance, reduces branch and remote connectivity costs, and enhances security at the app and network level by combining packet-level, real-time path selection, WAN optimization, firewall, routing, and application analytics all in one solution.

Simplified and automated large-scale branch connectivity

The Citrix SD-WAN and Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN joint solution can be deployed as a complete SD-WAN service stack that simply works better together. It can be operated as a do-it-yourself SD-WAN or as a managed cloud service with built-in automation, which simplifies everything from the small point-of-sale (POS) networks all the way to large-scale branch-office network deployments.

Cohesive network policy management with deep analytics

The integration of Azure Resource Center and Citrix SD-WAN Center allows automatic information sharing between the Azure head-end and the on-premises SD-WAN device.  It enables cohesive policy management with deep link-usage analytics. Additionally, Citrix SD-WAN makes network expansion at a massive scale much simpler by supporting template-based cloning.

Optimized routing using Microsoft’s global network

On making the last-mile connectivity with Citrix SD-WAN, Microsoft’s large global private network within Azure accelerates content and application delivery with its optimized routes, resulting in significant improvements with user experience

Citrix SD-WAN enables remote sites and satellite offices to connect into Azure with minimal configuration needs. Citrix SD-WAN also provides a single pane of glass to ease network management with in-depth link analytics.

Without the Citrix SD-WAN automation, a network administrator must manually connect each branch office into Azure hubs, a process that can be time consuming and tedious. An IPSec setup, for example, can take more than fifteen minutes for a single site. Imagine a project that involves bringing up 100 branch offices and manually repeating the steps for each one. Clearly, such an approach increases operational complexity and support costs.

To summarize, Citrix SD-WAN not only accelerates application and content delivery, but also, simplifies branch office network deployments by automating the following functions:

  • Understanding which branch or remote site connects to which Azure hub
  • Configuring the ‘tunnel’ endpoints
  • Monitoring the connections and automatically steering the traffic to alternate tunnels/links as needed, depending on the link quality and the application requirements

For on-premises Citrix SD-WAN, subscribers have a choice of both physical and virtual appliances with a broad range of capacities, feature sets (standard, enterprise) and usage licensing options. There is no extra cost to connect to Azure Virtual WAN. However, Citrix SD-WAN release 10.1 is required.

Azure Virtual WAN service is currently in public preview by Microsoft. To enroll, send an email to azurevirtualwan@microsoft.com with a subscription ID. You will receive an email back once your subscription has been enrolled. Then you can easily set up Citrix SD-WAN.

Find out here how to use Citrix SD-WAN with Azure Virtual WAN

Sign up and try it out today!