Cisco Cloud Services Router Review

The integration and configuration to the AWS environment was difficult


What is our primary use case?

We have been trying to establish VPN connections between retail locations on our AWS VPC. This has not been very reliable from our experience.

What is most valuable?

The deployment was pretty quick, so the AWS Marketplace options are very helpful. We are also very familiar with SCO OS and are able to bring those skills and commands into Cisco CSR, which made logical sense for us to use it.

It has the Dynamic Multipoint VPN solution, which is the number one thing that we wanted.

What needs improvement?

I would like some deployment examples and guides specific to AWS VPCs and how to separate your subnets. Then, how they tie-in with the Internet gateway and any NAT services that we are running on our VPC. This would be extremely helpful. Thus, a lot more detail around deployments would go a long ways towards easing customers' fears.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It seems pretty stable. We have never had any issues with it.

The reliability issues that we had were with the VPN tunnels working correctly. However, with the router, we didn't seem to have much trouble with it, just the connectivity.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales vertically, but it just costs a lot more.

With the on-premise, they are pushing their newer services routers so they have the same function as the cloud service routers do. However, because the price points are so high, they will rate limit your interface to bring the price down. Therefore, it is the same model that they are already doing in the cloud, but they are now moving that model into on-premise.

How is customer service and technical support?

The technical support was okay. The product was fairly new at the Amazon store at that point in time, so the first tech was not very familiar with it. However, they were able to pass it off to somebody else who was able to help me.

How was the initial setup?

The integration and configuration to the AWS environment was difficult. We had to make sure that we had the right subnets lined up and the Internet gateway was mapped correctly. Then, we had all the routes for the router to get out to the Internet and to map all those connections back in successfully. This took a long time.

Things which we could do on-premise very quickly took a while for us to figure out how to do with the Cisco Cloud Service Router.

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

The should make the Dynamic Multipoint VPN solution more affordable. Right now, at 10MB or 20MB, it makes a lot of sense. However, at 100MB, it doesn't scale well and the price goes up significantly.

We found purchasing through the AWS Marketplace was a good, easy experience. We chose to go through the AWS Marketplace for easy of purchasing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are still looking at alternatives. We are looking at Palo Alto as an alternative and using their IPSec tunnels.

We have familiarity with the Cisco operating system, which is why we chose CSR. We have been using Cisco products forever.

What other advice do I have?

The product has value. I recommend having a partner who has integrated it before and can bring that expertise to the table. Just because your good with the physical appliances doesn't mean you will be able to exactly translate that into the Amazon networking world.

We have a couple hundred other Cisco routers, but this is the only virtual one that we have tried. The AWS version seems to be a lot less reliable, and we had a lot of issues with the initial configuration.

Due to the nature of running workloads in the cloud and needing networking in the cloud, there is no choice but to use cloud routers.

Our on-premise routers are integrated with this product. This is where we had some reliability issues in getting connections to stay on.

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