Cisco, Microsoft expand networking partnership

The companies plan to develop new capabilities that will enable IT to connect branch offices to Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN directly, using Cisco SD-WAN hosted in Azure.

Cisco and Microsoft announced Tuesday plans to extend their existing partnership around network connectivity to cloud-based applications. Specifically, the companies will integrate Cisco's software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) with Microsoft's Azure Virtual WAN and Office365 -- a move that they say will improve connectivity from branch offices to Microsoft's cloud and optimize Office 365 experiences.

Last year, Cisco announced that connections between Cisco SD-WAN to Office 365 improved application performance by up to 40 percent. The SD-WAN in this scenario directs Office 365 traffic from the customer site to the closest Microsoft network points of presence, often bypassing the corporate data center.
  
Now, Cisco and Microsoft said they plan to develop new capabilities that will enable IT to connect branch offices to Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN directly, using Cisco SD-WAN hosted in Azure. Additionally, Cisco SD-WAN will be further integrated with Office 365 to improve network paths.

"As organizations modernize their network with software-defined WAN to support cloud-based digital transformation, Microsoft is excited to announce a deeper partnership with Cisco to integrate Cisco SD-WAN, Azure Virtual WAN and Office 365," said Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure Networking, in a prepared statement. 

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