Cisco Cloud Services Router Review

It connects all my environments together in a smart, efficient way. However, they could make the pricing cheaper.

What is our primary use case?

It's in our transit VPC and transit router. We use it as a way to connect multiple environments together and also our third-party vendors together. So, it is a VPN.

How has it helped my organization?

I now have ease of flexibility, ease of use, and most importantly, convenience.

Before, creating a new account (a new VPC) in AWS, we would have to establish VPN tunnels with on-premise, which was a huge process. It would take a least a month or so to finish everything. You have to work with a different team to do on-premise connections, since I am not responsible for on-premise. With Cisco CSR, all I have to do is have one transit VPC, one VPN, then everything else goes to that transit VPC. So I never have to worry about getting in touch with security again. I can have as many accounts as I want, which now take about a day to set up.

You don't have to do anything now. A new account comes up, link in the action, download it to the account, and you are set.

What is most valuable?

Feature-wise, Cisco is easy to configure. I know the command line. Therefore, it's easy for me to program it the way I want, and it's just a convenient tool. It's robust, and it works. 

The bandwidth and throughput are pretty good.

My oldest firewall is about 12 years old, and it still works. So, that's why I trust Cisco.

What needs improvement?

Cost is a big factor. We would like to see the price reduced.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

My last Cisco router was 12 years old. So, it is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is definitely scalable. It can handle a lot more traffic and group work compared to any other products that I've evaluated. It could easily scale a lot more than what I'm doing right now. I have about 12 environments going through the CSR and about 4 vendors. I could easily double that.

We are a huge consumer of Cisco products. We have about ten routers and firewalls with more than 30 odd switches. So, it's a huge infrastructure.

What about the implementation team?

The implementation and configuration with AWS was straightforward and simple.

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

They could make it a little cheaper. It is a lot of money. It's almost $25,000 USD a year if I buy directly from AWS Marketplace, and we need at least two of them. 

We would prefer to go through the vendor instead of AWS, as we have a relationship with the vendor and can get discounts directly from them. Going through the vendor, it is much cheaper for us. Though, we would still keep it hosted on AWS.

The purchasing process through the AWS Marketplace is simple and easy. All I had to do was click a button, and it got the evaluation started. Then, when the evaluation was about to end, I received emails. It was directly billed to my router account. I didn't actually do anything at that point.

We went through the AWS Marketplace because when this whole project started I was searching for options. I had used Cisco CSR in the past, but I was still searching for something cheaper. With the AWS marketplace, I just searched for VPN solutions and IPsec, and Cisco CSR received a couple of the top hits. So, it was just click a button and easy to deploy from the AWS Marketplace.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Fortinet, SRX, and Palo Alto. We also looked at Openswan, which is an open source. 

I chose Cisco because I am more familiar with it. I have a lot of certificates in Cisco, so I'm more comfortable with Cisco. I was the one implementing it, so we went with Cisco.

We used the other Cisco product, Cisco ASA. It's almost the same thing. It's an on-premise firewall versus a cloud firewall. 

What other advice do I have?

Keep a long-term goal in mind. Where do you want to get to:

  • If it's a small environment, I would not pay for a CSR. It's too expensive. Go for something cheaper. 
  • If it's a bigger environment and you will eventually scale out, then definitely go with a CSR. It will be sustainable, scalable, and definitely stable.

The product serves me purpose. It connects all my environments together in a smart, efficient way.

The integration with other product has been pretty seamless. It has been at the working level, so the services don't care. It's the networking part of it. When a request goes to your central router, CSR take care of it, knowing where it's supposed to go to, and it just transfers the data there.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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