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Cisco SD-WAN OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Cisco SD-WAN is #2 ranked solution in SD-WAN tools and top WAN Edge tools. IT Central Station users give Cisco SD-WAN an average rating of 8 out of 10. Cisco SD-WAN is most commonly compared to Fortinet FortiGate:Cisco SD-WAN vs Fortinet FortiGate. Cisco SD-WAN is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 59% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 38% of all views.
What is Cisco SD-WAN?

Cisco SD-WAN is a software-defined WAN (wide area network) solution that provides for secure stable connections to applications for enterprises and organizations. Cisco SD-WAN works to speed up the seamless movement to the cloud. A very robust and reliable solution, Cisco SD-WAN is cutting-edge in threat security and stability of the complete network and has very low latency. Cisco SD-WAN uses Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), data centers, and even the internet to smoothly advance the move to a SASE (Service Access Service Edge)-based architecture. The Cisco SD-WAN dashboard gives you a complete visual of your entire infrastructure; you can see everything in real time. You will also have simplified IT operations and gain advanced network capabilities, dependability, and security. One valued feature is the overlay management protocol (OMP), which applies to your entire network to speedily connect all your company data centers. Cisco SD-WAN has a very flexible architecture and can be deployed on premises, in the cloud, hybrid, and even has multi-cloud options. Cisco SD-WAN instantly discovers, authenticates, and provisions all devices, both existing and new.

Cisco SD-WAN simplifies the management of multiple connections across the WAN, improves the end-user experience, improves overall application functionality and performance, and is a very cost-effective solution. Cisco SD-WAN integrates well with Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and many other cloud-based business solutions. Additionally, Cisco SD-WAN optimizes connectivity and streamlines workflows for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure.

Benefits of Cisco SD-WAN

  • Increased profitability - Cisco SD-WAN will improve performance and decrease overall connectivity costs.
  • Improved productivity - Cisco SD-WAN requires less staff to manage and secure the WANs so valuable resources can be allocated elsewhere in your organization, increasing total productivity.
  • Flexible scalability- Cisco SD-WAN’s flexible and easily scalable architecture will allow your organization to address significantly greater business opportunities, helping to consistently increase revenue.
  • Enhanced security - Cisco SD-WAN offers real-time policy enforcement, ensuring that downtime and unplanned outages are kept to a minimum.

What real users have to say:

Cisco SD-WAN is fast with lower costs: “Using SD-WAN to combine services can result in better up time, higher speeds, and much lower costs.”

Cisco is a brand you can trust: “Cisco is an industry leader, so customers have a high level of trust with the brand - more so than with some newcomers that might have some more revolutionary solutions, but no name recognition.”

Cisco SD-WAN offers load-balancing and real-time traffic monitoring: “Load balancing is a feature that allows us to take the best of our links and distribute the load intelligently, always with an eye on the end-customer experience.”

Cisco SD-WAN was previously known as Viptela, Cisco vEdge Cloud Router.

Cisco SD-WAN Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco SD-WAN Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: December 2021

Cisco SD-WAN Customers

Doyle Research, Ashton Metzler & Associates

Cisco SD-WAN Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Cisco SD-WAN pricing:
  • "SD-WAN as a service is probably something in the neighborhood of $100 to $200 a month per location."
  • "Cisco's pricing is not entirely satisfactory when you compare the SD-WAN solutions in Asian markets — like the South Asian market in Sri Lanka — because there are several competing brands including Fortinet and Citrix, who provide much the same product for a generally lower price. And when it comes to firewall vendors like Palo Alto and SonicWall, they're also selling here. It's the same with VMware, too; they have much the same features."
  • "It is expensive. The license limitation is there in terms of bandwidth. Basically, Cisco is always good in terms of performance and related things. However, if you want to have a license, for example, for 100 Mbps, they charge you because of their 100 Mbps. If you want to go without the license of 300 Mbps, it is a bandwidth license as well. This is not happening with other vendors. That is the reason why we moved away from Cisco. The bill gets a little bit high. I do remember that one time we were trying to increase the bandwidth for at least five devices, and the license got as high as 20-grand for five devices, only for the license. It was expensive for us at the time. Our company is not a big company, but it is a solid company. The price was very high, and we moved away from Cisco because of the price."

Cisco SD-WAN Reviews

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OM
Managing Partner at a consultancy with 11-50 employees
Reseller
Top 20
Stable, cutting-edge, and robust

Pros and Cons

  • "It is very stable with very good firmware."
  • "Some competitors are much faster in providing out-of-the-box solutions, more innovative solutions. In terms of innovation, in many cases, they're lagging behind."

What is our primary use case?

We implemented and currently support some clients using Cisco SD-WAN.

Essentially, everything is moving to the cloud. There is a big shift from the traditional network operator-based infrastructure to a fully cloud-native kind of infrastructure for companies. People don't want to deal with so many providers. The network provider, the cybersecurity provider, another company managing the routers and firewalls, et cetera. Everything is moving to the cloud to simplify things. The shift to SD-WAN is motivated by business reasons. It allows for cutting costs. Traditional networking forms for data centers are simply too expensive, too slow, and very time-consuming to maintain.

Today with the SASE architecture, it's very easy to immediately deploy the cloud to have one subscription for one set of services. With one subscription, you have full access to a dedicated network that is much faster than the traditional MNTL networks that traditional data centers are using. Plus, you have integrated cybersecurity and a fully dedicated private backbone that is essentially spreading across the globe. People don't want to delegate to British telecom off to Verizon anymore, handing their network into another company managing the security into another company managing the networking infrastructure. With SD-WAN, especially with solutions based on the SASE framework, they pay one subscription fee each month, and one single company is managing everything. 

What is most valuable?

In terms of technology, we are completely agnostic. In many cases, we deal with Cisco simply due to the fact that the client already has a Cisco implementation. Most of the clients started their corporate deployment 10 or 15 years ago, and therefore there are legacy systems. Some of them are built on Cisco and we found that their systems are already implemented. 

I evaluate new technologies continuously each month and we deploy, as I told you, across geographies in multiple companies. Cisco is definitely cutting edge, absolutely cutting edge in terms of robustness on the capability of the network to be very stable with very low delay. It is a proven, tried, and tested technology. It is very reliable software. It is rock solid and very stable with respect to delivering top-performance networking functions. 

It is very stable with very good firmware. In terms of traditional functionality, it's unbeatable as an offer. I would say 10 plus as a vote in terms of traditional networking.

What needs improvement?

There is much room for improvement on the cybersecurity side. For most of the clients, it is unacceptable nowadays to have too many people involved in managing the corporate network, and many clients like to see providers that can deliver a unified solution that integrates together with the network functionalities and the cybersecurity functionalities as they go hand in hand, especially in a regulated industry such as in banking, insurance, or healthcare. All governmental infrastructure must be compliant with very specific guidelines and requirements. It's not always it is possible to meet them with out-of-the-box products. You need to integrate on the top. If Cisco can work more in creating a true SASE solution known simply as an SD-WAN solution, that will be magic. That will be perfect. Right now, they need to do more of the cybersecurity side. 

Cisco is working at the moment. Unfortunately, like all traditional companies, it is very big and quite spread out. That makes it a little bit slower to react than some of the other competitors in the space. Some competitors are much faster in providing out-of-the-box solutions, more innovative solutions. In terms of innovation, in many cases, they're lagging behind.

For how long have I used the solution?

Specifically, with Cisco SD-WAN I have about five years of experience now. With Cisco, it's a long-term kind of connection with the company. We have been serving clients over the past 12 years. Always, Cisco is very present.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable. There is very minimal movement and very minimal packet loss. There is very minimal delay in the network. In terms of performance, it's absolutely best of breed, and world-class. There is no discussion about that. In terms of hardware, probably is the best provider. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable. From the branch office to the data center, you have so many Cisco modules, and you can cut the system the way you like. Any shape and size are available from Cisco. I don't see any provider of networking solutions with more options. It's definitely a solution where you can pinpoint exactly the specific needs of a branch, a data center, or an office, and find the right piece of hardware. There are so many sometimes it can be even complicated to choose, however, Cisco provides everything from the ground up without any problem. It's a tried and tested solution, and therefore is very well documented. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The solutions are stable, however, we offer technical support. If it's broken, you always have access to local support. Somebody from Cisco will react very, very rapidly. 

In terms of configuration, usually companies, schools, companies, providers managed service providers like us tend to manage the network. 

In terms of support, it's one of the most well-known and respected companies and universally accepted as a top player. You can trust the support they provide. 

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

The typical brands we deal with are mostly Cisco, Palo Alto, Zscaler, and, in more recent times, Check Point and Citrix.

How was the initial setup?

Typically we have on average, a team of three or four people managing Cisco systems based in New Bailey, where we have representatives specializing in Cisco Systems.

Cisco is very well-known for being easy to use. We help quite a few clients with their Cisco implementations. There are absolutely no issues in terms of performance, or setup. It's more of innovation in their architectural kind of a problem that Cisco has at the moment. They are having trouble keeping pace with the innovation in the sector. That said, it's a very good system, and easy to deploy.

What about the implementation team?

We help our clients implement the solution.

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

Being embedded with Cisco is a matter of negotiation. Therefore, the pricing depends on the negotiation and if the client is a medium-sized company or a large company. It depends on the geography. We already see different pricing when we deploy in India when we deploy New Zealand or we deploy in the Nordics, in Europe, or even in Southern Europe. Prices are always different and depend on the local offices and how big the deal is. 

Pricing varies according to requirements, accessory services, and pure hardware. 

Markets are so hyper-competitive, and pricing is converging for all top providers. If you go to Fortinet, if you go to Palo Alto, it's not that you'll find prices that are so dramatically different. Everyone is completely aligned to compete. Differentiation is not on pricing. When you deploy a system like Cisco, the main selection criteria, is not pricing.

Today, even rich companies are very careful on pricing, however, companies are very mature in terms of structuring deals. The price of a system is very well-known in the market. All the differences are made by two essential elements. One is the ability of your sales team to penetrate within a company. Sales channels are making all the difference - not technology, not anything else. The second point is innovation and quality of accessory services delivered on top of the hardware. Hardware today is a given, is like code for a nice screen. Cisco is able to provide some hardware functions and firmware functions, however, all the difference is made by ancillary services, by additional service, by all the service that you build on the top of your products, and adding a very good success manager that is handling the deployment process and can guarantee that the client is extracting true business value from IT investments. People don't spend money to buy hardware, to buy networks. People spend money to execute their corporate functions in a very effective, efficient way, in a very secure way. They don't care about Cisco. They don't care about the firewall or the router. They need to deliver products and successful expediencies and services across the globe.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

What I'm looking for is for companies - and Cisco is among them - able to provide best-of-breed technologies to support both the network implementation side and the cybersecurity side. 

What other advice do I have?

Typically, we are technology agnostic, therefore, we can support clients in implementing systems, using different kinds of technologies. Among them is Cisco.

We tend to work with hybrid deployments as the major pain point for clients is to harmonize, to have public and private clouds working together. There is no distinction for clients between public and private. Typically, they call us to organize to a single pane of glass, where they can control all the cloud, their network activities in a very simple, seamless way. The difficulty today is exactly putting together to work a very diverse kind of hardware ecosystem ranging from Google Cloud or Amazon Cloud, Azure that is growing exponentially these days, and plus all the enterprise data center, and putting all these elements together.

Sometimes after mergers and acquisitions, we have to patch together pieces of hardware from different organizations that are not even compatible. For example, very recently, we supported the MNA integration of two different companies, and they were using two completely different systems. One was based on Cisco, the other one on Fortinet and Palo Alto, and was using lots of data. That is the problem today. Unifying all the settings, all the controls using a kind of centralized control and making sure that public and private clouds are working together in a very seamless fashion.

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

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: reseller
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ER
Executive Vice President Operations and IT at Sterling National Bank
Real User
Top 20
A solution for integrating services to enhance up-time, performance and lower costs

Pros and Cons

  • "Using SD-WAN to combine services can result in better up time, higher speeds, and much lower costs."
  • "There have been no issues with stability."
  • "Huge companies use SD-WAN. It is largely scalable."
  • "Any technical support we needed was great."
  • "Cisco could do more to offer bundling of the SD-WAN and other solutions."

What is our primary use case?

With my first client on Viptela were getting MPLS (MultiProtocol Label Service). That is a type of communications network that most of the major providers like Verizon offer. They were paying roughly $3,000 a month for each one of their 30 branches. That was giving them 10 megabits per second. We replaced that with the likes of Verizon Fios and Comcast. Each one of those business internet services cost about $200 apiece per month. The cost of the SD-WAN was maybe another $200. So for $600 a month, we replaced something that was costing them $3000 a month, and they were getting a minimum of about 50 megabits-per-second upload and download.  

What is most valuable?

Because our client uses two different ISPs at each location, the service is always up. The chances of Comcast going down at the same time that Verizon Files goes down is very, very small. The result is that the client's services are always up with much higher speeds and much lower costs. I think that those benefits are the ones that people are primarily interested in and that is what SD-WAN allowed us to achieve.  

What needs improvement?

I think that the SD-WAN had everything that my client was interested in in our first experience with it. I think that some of the solutions now are being integrated with other services. As an example, Fortinet has a product called FortiGuard. Included in the FortiGuard product is an SD-WAN. So some of these products are expanding capabilities so that they have more to offer in a single product.  

That would be a nice thing for Cisco. They could provide you your firewall and your SD-WAN solution together. Some people like that approach of nesting products or bundling because they have fewer vendors to deal with and immediate integration.  

I am sure as time goes on that the threat landscape will continue to change all the time. What was good encryption five years ago may not be such great encryption today. Because of that, I am sure that you have to constantly be looking at the threat landscape to see if you need to change anything. I do not know if I am close enough to that cutting edge of the problem to answer the question as to what Cisco's solution really needs. All I know is that my client is very happy with what they have got in the way of savings and functionality. That does not mean that there are not some other things that they would like to see. I just do not know what they are.  

There are a number of large companies that have bought out various SD-WAN vendors. If you looked at VMware, you will find that they also have an SD-WAN that they bought. There are several other companies that have bought SD-WAN services because the technology is so good and the cost benefit is so great that it is worthwhile for almost any company to implement it. They get the advantage of performance and the benefit that these systems never go down.  

As an example, one time locally there was an incident where two providers, CenturyLink and Level 3, went down at the same time. If you had CenturyLink and Level 3, your connection to the internet would have gone down for six or seven hours or whatever the overlap of those outages was. That would be an extreme case. There is another local ISP service called Cox, if you had CenturyLink and Cox, Cox did not go down. In that case, you would continue using your internet or your connections to your branches without ever experiencing an outage and it would just go through Cox. The reason is that Cox's infrastructure, their central office, their wiring, their co-ax cables, or fiber are completely separate from what CenturyLink uses. CenturyLink has got a completely separate central office and completely separate wire. So the chances of those two entities going down exactly at the same time is something that just never happens.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I helped a client implement a solution called Viptela a while back. Cisco purchased Viptela in August of 2017 and that is what Cisco uses as thier main SD-WAN solution. That first encounter was probably about four years ago.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The system worked extremely well from the beginning and there have been no issues with stability. In fact, stability is the reason why the solution was put in place.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SD-WAN is certainly scalable. Huge companies use SD-WAN. Ever heard of Jiffy Lube? Ever heard of PNC Bank? Ever heard of Gap? (I do not know whether Gap surviving because of COVID) Those are just a couple of companies off the top of my head who are using SD-WAN solutions. It is largely scalable. I think that PNC Bank had something like 4,000 locations. It is very scalable.  

In the SD-WAN world, they have something called an orchestrator. On the orchestrator, you can see everything that is happening on your SD-WAN. So you can see if a particular carrier is going down, or if you are experiencing errors or whatever. You can see a complete picture of your entire wide area network in one pane of glass. In the old days before SD-WAN, if you had six carriers, you would have to go and look on six different carrier systems to find out what was going on. Even then, you were not necessarily getting all the information that you needed. SD-WAN is the greatest thing since sliced bread when it comes to having an overview of services.  

It is very widely adopted because it is better and cheaper and easier. You are seeing more companies looking for those solutions. Some of the telecom companies are offering SD-WAN. Some of the UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) companies are also promoting SD-WAN. One of the reasons that they are is to assure their clients that their telephone service will always be up.  

How are customer service and technical support?

Any technical support we needed was great. Everything worked from day one so there was not a lot of need for those services.  

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

Our client was using a single service and they wanted a more reliable service, higher speed, and much lower price. We found that solution for them by integrating services. Instead of paying $3000 a month for each of 30 locations, they got it down to about $600 a month for each location. They switched because they got what they wanted.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup and installation was pretty straight forward.  

What about the implementation team?

The people from Viptela, at the time, assisted in the implementation. They were helpful in pushing along the implementation and it went smoothly.  

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

Depending upon the speed and depending upon the vendor, if you are getting SD-WAN as a service, it is probably something in the neighborhood of $100 to $200 a month per location. That is the cost of the SD-WAN. Then, of course, you need your business broadband connections. Business broadband with like 50 megs symmetrical or 100 megs symmetrical and may cost something like $100 a month or so. But at any rate, the services are not very expensive and they are widely available.  

What other advice do I have?

The advice that I would give someone in the market for an SD-WAN is to look at Gartner and see what Gartner has to say. My information is recent in that the bank that I implemented it in does other business with me and they tell me that everything is working great. They have never had a problem. It is now four years later and it is probably worthwhile taking a look at what the competition is doing — including Cisco Meraki, which is another SD-WAN offering from Cisco. A lot of companies have implemented Cisco Meraki, and Cisco Meraki is a good solution. But there is also Versa which is a good SD-WAN solution. There are at least seven or eight very well-known companies that provide SD-WAN solutions.  

On a scale of one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate Cisco SD-WAN as a ten-out-of-ten. For my client, it was certainly a ten between the cost savings of 80% and a performance boost of 400% or so. It worked right from the beginning and saved them a ton of money.  

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Consultant
Learn what your peers think about Cisco SD-WAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2021.
555,358 professionals have used our research since 2012.
EE
Senior Data Scientist & Analytics at Paj Networks
Real User
Top 5
Stable and customizable but configuration could be simplified

Pros and Cons

  • "Customizing SD-WAN is very easy because you can define two colors. You can define two different operators. You can deploy a partial mesh, a full mesh, or hub-and-spoke totally differently. If you want to do this on a DMVPN solution, that's really hard."
  • "In the next release, Cisco should focus on simplifying the configuration of SD-WAN. SD-WAN has a lot of room to grow."

How has it helped my organization?

Some clients resist switching to new technology and they're also afraid of problems with compatibility and the layout of the NOC. The NOC must change because nowadays new things are happening, but I believe that the beauty of SD-WAN is the vEdge. So for the customers that are afraid of new technologies, we can install the vEdge without spending a lot of money. It's just a virtual machine over there. You can do it on Cisco CSR or even ISR.

So we deploy a new branch or similar branch with this technology and show them. Then they're not afraid of it. It's very easy. Now, vManage is coming. So we have the analytics team, we have all the GUI interfaces so you can create a policy and now deploy it anywhere or you can define it. I believe everything is very easy for the people who want to work with it. 

Technologies are not new. Just the name changes. VPN is the same as VRF, which is the same as Tenant, but the way they're playing with this technology is very different. The method of management is different. I believe that if I show clients what is happening with vManage— the interface, the analytics how you can integrate with them—they will be in love with that. Mostly what I have done is to define and elaborate for them the differences between two solutions, and point out the advantages like visibility and easy management. In the end, but they agree to move to SD-WAN

But I believe that most of the customers are still afraid of SD-WAN because they rely on old solutions. And the old solution was great and working for many years, so they are afraid of the new solution. With vEdge, we have a great way to attract them to make them feel comfortable upgrading everything into the Cisco SD-WAN.

What is most valuable?

The best feature is SD-WAN's automation capabilities. I believe many customers don't care whether we use VPN, or that use color or mGRE. When you're talking about management of, for example, a DMVPN solution or MDI solution, what is the option? So we have to go to a bug-by-bug report, like for example, NSRP to show these things. With vManage, we can see everything. We have a graph that we can click on and it helps us to remember better. 

Another good feature in the HCI is the integration of a health monitoring system. Other solutions like SDx are all the same. They have an integrated health monitoring system. So if you are deploying a data center, the options aren't really that great. But this integrated health system in HCI in vManage or even SD-WAN in the vManage is helping a lot. And also 

Customizing SD-WAN is very easy because you can define two colors. You can define two different operators. You can deploy a partial mesh, a full mesh, or hub-and-spoke totally differently. If you want to do this on a DMVPN solution, that's really hard. Also, things like Quality of Service in mGRE environment, in my opinion, are very hard because when you are dealing with mGRE, you have one tunnel at the hub and a different tunnel at the spoke. So what if I want to limit the traffic in my hub at the spoke? Because I have one tunnel, all the branches will be affected if I implement a limitation or restriction. So that's why we have advanced technology, like adaptive quality of service. With SD-WAN, the QoS is much easier because it is separate from the VPN.

The very beauty of SD-WAN is the separation of the plane. Right now, there are different planes. Compared to other solutions, the whole thing is totally changed. Rebound and vManage came into play as well as the new protocols like PnP. I started to convert most of the solutions from regular DMVPN into SD-WAN because we have the capability to define our VPN or define our color and customize by making a full or partial image. 

What needs improvement?

In the next release, Cisco should focus on simplifying the configuration of SD-WAN.  SD-WAN has a lot of room to grow. If you compare vEdge and something like Cisco CSR, you'll see the difference. Because vEdge is natively from Viptela, it is a little more complicated to set up an SD-WAN compared with an ISE device like CSR or ISR, or ISR 4000. You have now two different configuration spaces like iOS, and then some commands and styles are Viptela. So this is the thing that Cisco should work on. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've spent a lot of time on it. I started with version 17 when SD-WAN first came out. I continued using the product after Cisco acquired Viptela because I really love Cisco. I followed everything Cisco-related since I was 18 or 19. I got my CCNP in 2003 and my first CCA in 2011. So I spend all my time on Cisco systems. Right now, I have more than 32 certificates. I recently passed the CISSP. I also have more than 20 certificates that have expired, like Cisco Sales Expert, Cisco ASA, VPN, and several old things.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

SD-WAN is 100 percent stable. If you use the suggested operating system, all the Cisco solutions are stable. According to the Gartner Magic Quadrant rating, I believe Cisco was No. 1 three years ago. Now it is No. 2 or 3, so I believe that they could improve more.
And many customers have used DMVPN or VPN solutions for many years, so those solutions are also extremely stable.

How was the initial setup?

it is very easy to deploy the whole solution. I have a customer with VoIP and data. For most of the data, the hub and spoke are enough, but for IP telephony or collaboration like chatting or video conference, they need to have a connection between spokes —between branches together — but not for data. With SD-WAN it's very easy. 

I think vEdge is much easier to work with when you compare it to Cisco CSR. Most of the people I know prefer to use ZTP or Zero Touch Provisioning, but it depends on the type of customer. With some customers, ZTP maybe is not the best solution. They should know what's going on. And if you try to configure SD-WAN on a solution like ISR 4000 or CSR, and you compare the same thing on vEdge, you will see that the vEdge is very straightforward. I believe in CSR and ISR 4000. There are some glitches. It's possible that you will get a little bit confused, but you have followed the instruction. You have to do it very carefully. Then you make the connection vManage and everything is done.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate Cisco SD-WAN seven out of 10. 

 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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MC
Head of Enterprise Business at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Reseller
Top 20
Quick to innovate with new features, but requires more security out of the box

Pros and Cons

  • "From my observations, Cisco has been rolling out new features every other day, so I would say their speed of innovation is one of the most valuable aspects for me."
  • "One of the major areas that Cisco can improve on with their SD-WAN offering is their security features. When compared with Fortinet, who have what they call their 'security pillars' (e.g. firewall and security features built-in to their SD-WAN solutions), Cisco generally comes up short. With Cisco, if you need a security component, you have to pay more to get it done. So if they could add more security features that come part and parcel with their existing solutions, then I think Cisco could be very aggressive in the market."

What is our primary use case?

As a company, we are a Cisco Premier Partner and we work as a system integrator and reseller. As for myself, I currently work simultaneously with Cisco and Fortinet for SD-WAN solutions.

Because we're only an integrator and not an ISP-level company, we haven't engaged with that many SD-WAN projects, and our typical line of work involves using Cisco products in bank solutions, such as for branch connectivity.

What is most valuable?

From my observations, Cisco has been rolling out new features every other day, so I would say their speed of innovation is one of the most valuable aspects for me.

I would also point to their superior features when it comes to general connectivity, configuration, and reporting.

What needs improvement?

One of the major areas that Cisco can improve on with their SD-WAN offering is their security features. When compared with Fortinet, who have what they call their 'security pillars' (e.g. firewall and security features built-in to their SD-WAN solutions), Cisco generally comes up short. With Cisco, if you need a security component, you have to pay more to get it done. So if they could add more security features that come part and parcel with their existing solutions, then I think Cisco could be very aggressive in the market.

Essentially, they have to incorporate different security features on top of their SD-WAN box. At the end of the day, I should be able to give one single box to the customer which includes SD-WAN and all the necessary features such as security.

When it comes to IoT edges, they could possibly incorporate their SD-WAN features into the LAN side together with Cisco's DNA networking, just as Aruba is doing with their ESP solution. If Cisco could come up with a similar solution to that, then I think they will have the upper hand in the market compared to their competitors' brands. They have to come to a point where they can better integrate WAN and LAN into one single platform.

Regarding the data center sites, when we're talking about software-defined networking, Cisco has the SD-WAN segment, software-defined access for the LAN segment, and application-centric infrastructure for their data center segment, and they have to combine all three segments into one platform. Just like how the other guys are doing it. Again, if they can accomplish this, then technically they have a fair share in the market.

Otherwise, Cisco could also integrate more features on the cloud side of things, like with SD-WAN in the cloud, or SD-WAN in AWS, some of which I believe they have implemented already.

Beyond that, I can't say too much about what I'd like to see when it comes to new features because almost every day I've seen Cisco add more features to their SD-WAN and SD-LAN portfolios. At the rate they're going, it could be only a few months before they add the security features I've mentioned. So from my perspective, I think they're doing okay.

Finally, in terms of stability, there could be some improvement. In my experience with our current project, there have been some instances where stability has been an issue. But I can't speak for everyone here; other partners who have completed more projects may disagree and this is only my own observations so far.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco SD-WAN for two to three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I can't say that Cisco SD-WAN is incredibly stable, especially since Cisco has acquired Viptela and they are now busy with trying to improve Viptela's features and tools. So in some situations, it has been my experience that Cisco's SD-WAN is solid but it does succumb to stability issues at times.

So far we have completed only one project with Cisco, while other one is still ongoing. With that experience, I can say some stability improvements are needed, but I don't know about the other partners who have completed ten or more projects, for example.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability-wise, it's good, because when the customer's application load or data traffic increases, I can easily scale out the same product to match the increase.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. When it comes to Cisco's TAC (Technical Assistance Center) and solutions support as a country in the Asian market, they are doing good. 

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

Alongside Cisco, we also use Fortinet. If we have a firewall or edge/perimeter security or other security measures in place already, we can simply go with Cisco. This is because the interconnectivity, branch connectivity, configuration level, solidness, and other features of Cisco are already adequate and, in some cases, superior. So when it comes to the networking components alone, I prefer Cisco.

But if the customer is asking for networking plus the perimeter level security, then I have to look into products like Fortinet, because with their lower pricing and so on, Fortinet comes out on top. Fortinet is much cheaper than Cisco. And for configuration, Fortinet's interfaces are also very comfortable to use when it comes to complex configurations.

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

Cisco's pricing is not entirely satisfactory when you compare the SD-WAN solutions in Asian markets — like the South Asian market in Sri Lanka — because there are several competing brands including Fortinet and Citrix, who provide much the same product for a generally lower price. And when it comes to firewall vendors like Palo Alto and SonicWall, they're also selling here. It's the same with VMware, too; they have much the same features.

So when you do a comparative showdown among these giants, you can see that Cisco and their customers could benefit from adjustments in terms of pricing. Fortinet, for one, is much cheaper than Cisco currently.

What other advice do I have?

My overall advice is that if you already have your network security established, then Cisco SD-WAN is a good, solid solution for the rest of the networking components. However, if you require more of an all-in-one SD-WAN solution that incorporates security from the beginning, you might want to look elsewhere.

I would rate Cisco SD-WAN a seven out of ten. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: reseller
SS
Pre-sales consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
MSP
Top 10
Segmentation is great but router and voice gateway are not currently available

Pros and Cons

  • "The segmented traffic it provides is the best in the industry right now."
  • "Cisco's router and voice gateway has not been available since the launch of SD-WAN."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case generally relates to customers looking to reduce their MPLS costs. In addition, many of our customers are moving to the cloud, which can handle both on-prem and cloud services, a hybrid solution. Finally, some of our customers are looking to move towards new technologies and will choose this solution, but the primary use cases are the first two - reduction of MPLS costs, using multiple modes of transport, and managing and control of technologies.

We deal mainly with large enterprise companies. A few years ago customers were not aware of SD-WAN or they were not looking to migrate to SD-WAN, but now whenever there is talk around WAN, 95% of the customers are moving to SD-WAN.

What is most valuable?

I think segmentation is a valuable feature that the product provides. I think the segmented traffic it provides is the best in the industry right now.

What needs improvement?

The product is not a cheap solution and could be improved by lowering the cost. Most customers who do not buy Cisco give their primary reason as cost. If the cost was reduced then I think we'd be able to sell more. Vendor log in could also be improved. There are a lot of solutions on the market now that are open solutions, meaning boxless solutions. You don't really need to buy the box that Cisco provides. You can upgrade to SD-WAN using the open solutions. Cisco could provide a full mobile solution but I don't think they'll do that because selling their hardware on top of the software is their bread and butter, .

Before SD-WAN came in they provided quite a few features. For example, a lot of customers were using Cisco's router and voice gateway which has not been available since the launch of SD-WAN. They are still working on restoring it. It's one of the key issues with the Cisco SD-WAN solution that would be a good additional feature. Whatever features were supported before are not supported in the SD-WAN solution now. If they could incorporate all those features for customers that would be a big improvement. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using SD-WAN for about two and a half years. We always pitch the latest version of the product. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of SD-WAN on iOS needs improving, they're in a transition phase. Cisco recently acquired Repeller. They are gradually migrating from their old SD-WAN to this new retail SD-LAN. It's been a challenge because the roadmaps they envisaged haven't quite worked out, it's not a smooth road. If you change from traditional WAN to SD-WAN from the retailers perspective, it can be a bit of a challenge. We also deploy Fortinet and that's easier. I don't know what's going to happen in the next couple of years, but for now, doing SD-WAN is a little bit of a challenge

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If you can get to the first step of migration and to stable operations then the scalability is not a challenge. The Cisco solution is pretty scalable. I think it's the most scalable solution in the market, but it has to setup properly. Once it's set up properly. Then scalability is not a challenge. Scalability is more of a challenge with products like Fortinet. The initial migration to SD-WAN is more of a challenge here.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good, better than most of the vendors in the market, but they charge for it. 

How was the initial setup?

It depends on the customer. For smaller and medium-sized customers, it's not that difficult. But recently I have faced problems in migrating because it's where some of this new Cisco iOS is SD-WAN. It seems to be a bit unstable moving to it. All these complexities make migration difficult. It's not a cakewalk.

Again, deployment time depends on the customer and size of the company. It's hard to generalize. I'm from the presale team so we don't implement. We have another team dealing with implementation and there are around eight people in that team. 

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

The solution is not cheap.  Most customers are now moving from an APEX spending model to an OPEX spending model. The licenses are pretty expensive. There are additional support costs which is not inexpensive. Licensing, support, product, technology, and everything in the Cisco SD-WAN solution costs. I think it's the most expensive solution on the market.

What other advice do I have?

It's important to realize the product has two layers, the underlay, and the overlay. The controller is in the overlay and the underlay is the physical devices. Most of those are on-prem, but the controller is mostly on the cloud. That's what most people prefer.

In terms of size, different customers have different migration plans and different approaches. For example, Cisco has the Meraki SD-WAN solution, and then they have the retailer SD-WAN solution. The question is which solution fits the customer best. I would advise them on that aspect first before deciding whether they go for a Meraki solution or a retailer solution. The second aspect, of course, is the budget. How much does the customer want to spend? And the third would be to ascertain their internal skill set on deploying, managing, and operating the SD-WAN solution. If the skill set is in-house then good for them, they can go ahead. But if not then I would propose a managed SD-WAN solution where maybe, for example, our company provides managed SD-WAN solutions for some Cisco products. The third thing I would advise for global customers is to decide if they want to deal with the last mile connectivity themselves or find a partner to do that for them. Security would be a final consideration and that depends on setup and scale. 

I would rate this product a seven out of 10, it hasn't quite made it for me to be rated higher. I'd like to see some improvement. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
DA
Solution Director at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Very reliable with advanced network configuration and automated routine features

Pros and Cons

  • "Cisco is an industry leader, so customers have a high level of trust with the brand more-so than with some newcomers that might have some more revolutionary solutions, but no name recognition."
  • "The client portal needs to be improved in order to make the solution much better."

What is our primary use case?

We are network providers. SD-WAN is one of the main options we offer to our customers.

Clients primarily use the solution for three main reasons. The first is for cost savings when accessing the internet. The second is access to the cloud. The third is to allow customers a kind of autonomy with management over the network.

What is most valuable?

Cisco is an industry leader, so customers have a high level of trust with the brand more-so than with some newcomers that might have some more revolutionary solutions, but no name recognition.

The solution appeals to big companies that are keen on selecting a major vendor rather than an emerging one as there's an assumption of reliability.

Cisco's technical solution in itself is very reliable. From a purely technical point of view, this is one of the best options.

Overall, the solution is very advanced in network configuration and offers excellent automated routine features.

What needs improvement?

The client portal needs to be improved in order to make the solution much better.

The service care area of the solution needs improvement. That is to say, the ability to have a simplified management system is a key success factor. 

If you could have the ability to raise an SD-WAN capability just by activating a kind of license, it would great. We have too much hardware deployment needed right now. 

In the future, if the solution could make it so that there is nothing to deploy beyond a license and some firmware, it would be great.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable. This is the reason why we ultimately chose it as a product. Cisco's experience regarding the complex configuration of networks is perhaps the more mature in the market. 

They have made some improvements to the solution, and I think these advancements make it one of the most stable in the industry. It's not great for large configurations, so it may not be as stable in those cases. However, Cisco remains the most stable on the market.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable, however, it may be less so than Cisco Viptela. SortNet also has a portal that is not completely mature, and quite complex. This is why we developed a customer portal, dedicated to our customers, although some portals are still Viptela or SortNet. This custom portal has the ability to simplify the considerations of SD-WAN features for all of our sign-in customers.

We have approximately nine or ten big customers that are still in the proof of concept phase. Of those, three or four are large scale projects. Those have hundreds or even thousands of users on the network.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't been in touch with technical support. I personally have a strong relationship with pre-sales people, but not technical support itself.

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

I've worked with a variety of other solutions in the past. They have their own approaches to the industry.

Sophos, for example, approaches their solution from a security perspective. The main premise of the product is its ability to secure the network itself. Others have close relationships with VMware solutions that provide for an easy way to bind the applicable network with the network walls.

In the near future, most will need to provide for UCTE, which will become a must-have for any solution.

Fortinet does not have a UCTE itself, but it has a low segment and basic equipment that is really interesting because it is so cheap. Plus, it's not so difficult to add it in to complete another appliance. This is one thing that we sometimes use to expand security requirements while still being able to have specific SD-WAN equipment.

How was the initial setup?

For Cisco or any other solution, SD-WAN's initial setup is complex. The vendor needs to explain and define the customers clearly. It's not as simple as it sounds. It's better for large clients to do a modest deployment rather than a large one as it's not so easy to deploy. This will be clear after running through a POC.

What about the implementation team?

It's much better for a company to do the deployment with the help of a consultant or integrator, as they understand the solution quite extensively. I'd recommend if a company is seeking out an integrator, that they choose a portal DNA integrator.

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

Typically, we work to offer our customer autonomy, however, we do offer maintenance packages. Typically, we'll sell co-management packages to clients whereby they choose the priority of the application on the network and we will manage all of what is programmed on the customer's behalf.

What other advice do I have?

The solution works very well for mid-size and enterprise-level organizations.

I would advise others considering implementing the solution to set aside time to strategize and create a proof of concept before diving right in. This will help a company reveal where the solution is relevant and where it is not.

Then, it's important to look at the cost and layout of all of the finances so that the board will have all of the information in front of them. It will help them decide if it makes sense to pursue implementation. The finances and P&Ls must be clear for them. 

Finally, it's important to find a good consultant to assist in the entire process. 

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
DM
Network Operations Manager at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
It has fantastic orchestration on the VPN connection, but it is very expensive

Pros and Cons

  • "The orchestration on the VPN connection between remote locations is a fantastic feature. I used it some time ago."
  • "The bandwidth limitations would be good to remove, but it is a policy and license situation for Cisco because the cost is very high. It would be good to have OTP implemented with VRF. It can have support for EIGRP Over the Top (OTP) VRF. I saw some limitations in regards to the VRF protocol and the advertisement between VRF configuration. EIGRP Over the Top basically was quite limited with the VRF configuration. If you wanted to do rollback in VRF by using the EIGRP OTP protocol, the formation was not populated across. Cisco got back and confirmed that it is a configuration that I need to wait for until the next release, which is going to happen in one year. Cisco documentation is not the way it used to be before. It just gives an easy way to configure, but it doesn't go into the details of the configuration. The information that you need is there, but sometimes you want to go further and get more information, but the information is quite limited. It would be good to cover a few business cases or configuration cases. They used to be there in the past."

What is our primary use case?

Normally, you use it for the internet connection.

What is most valuable?

The orchestration on the VPN connection between remote locations is a fantastic feature. I used it some time ago. 

What needs improvement?

The bandwidth limitations would be good to remove, but it is a policy and license situation for Cisco because the cost is very high. 

It would be good to have OTP implemented with VRF. It can have support for EIGRP Over the Top (OTP) VRF. I saw some limitations in regards to the VRF protocol and the advertisement between VRF configuration. EIGRP Over the Top basically was quite limited with the VRF configuration. If you wanted to do rollback in VRF by using the EIGRP OTP protocol, the formation was not populated across. Cisco got back and confirmed that it is a configuration that I need to wait for until the next release, which is going to happen in one year. 

Cisco documentation is not the way it used to be before. It just gives an easy way to configure, but it doesn't go into the details of the configuration. The information that you need is there, but sometimes you want to go further and get more information, but the information is quite limited. It would be good to cover a few business cases or configuration cases. They used to be there in the past.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for around seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is good. There are some nice elements about it, but there are a few difficulties, and it is always an improvement process.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is good. You can scale as much as you want, but you have a limitation of the license. 
You cannot go further than a certain number of licenses. I can only have 15 locations or so because it would scale the price.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good and always handy to give the answers to the questions that you have about how to use it. They always find the issues and the resolutions of the problems that you have.

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

I am currently using Fortinet SD-WAN because it is less expensive. It is not as expensive as Cisco SD-WAN. That is the reason we switched from Cisco SD-WAN to Fortinet SD-WAN.

How was the initial setup?

It is not that complex. If you concur with the previous configurations that you need to perform a VPN tunnel and everything related to it, then it is not that complex.

The deployment duration depends on how you implement it and the complexity of the connections. If you are having a full mesh configuration, it will take you quite a long time. It depends on the infrastructure that you need to connect to. For a basic operation, it might take you five hours.

What about the implementation team?

I don't use any integrator or retailer at all. The way they have implemented SD-WAN is that they just provide the device. The devices are handed to me to be implemented and configured.

For maintaining the product, you just need to monitor the connection to the platform through the web portal. Overall, you need to dedicate two hours per day to assess the functionality of the devices and implementing them. It could be as easy as one day or five hours. It could also get very complicated depending on the configuration that you are doing. So, if you want to go fancy in the configuration, it can take you easily one weekend deploying the configuration. It depends on how complicated you want to go. I would say as long as you keep it simple, it will take you pretty much three hours or two hours for implementing it.

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

It is expensive. The license limitation is there in terms of bandwidth. Basically, Cisco is always good in terms of performance and related things. However, if you want to have a license, for example, for 100 Mbps, they charge you because of their 100 Mbps. If you want to go without the license of 300 Mbps, it is a bandwidth license as well. This is not happening with other vendors. That is the reason why we moved away from Cisco. The bill gets a little bit high.

I do remember that one time we were trying to increase the bandwidth for at least five devices, and the license got as high as 20-grand for five devices, only for the license. It was expensive for us at the time. Our company is not a big company, but it is a solid company. The price was very high, and we moved away from Cisco because of the price.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend it only if you have the budget to buy and implement a good solution with Cisco. Otherwise, unfortunate for Cisco, there are other vendors. They do the job pretty well. They are able to deliver what you require in the same way that Cisco does, but the price is going to be a little bit affordable for the company.

In my company, we don't have any plans of buying anything related to SD-WAN, but, in terms of personal growth, I'm planning to get more information and more knowledge about SD-WAN. There are a couple of courses that I could learn from.

I would rate Cisco SD-WAN a six out of ten. It is a good solution with SD-WAN, but it is not the best. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AS
Lead BD,Global ICT & transformation at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Good routing and WAN optimization but needs more competitive pricing

Pros and Cons

  • "If I have to give a neutral view of all the SD-WAN platforms that I have known so far, Cisco is good in routing."
  • "We have found that their SD-WAN has a lot of scope for improvement."

What is most valuable?

If I have to give a neutral view of all the SD-WAN platforms that I have known so far, Cisco is good in routing.

The solution does not offer WAN optimization.

What needs improvement?

We have found that their SD-WAN has a lot of scope for improvement.

For example, they can probably look at their security stack. They can look at including some features like WAN optimizing, which is currently not there as a part of their in-built SD-WAN features. That could make their device a full-fledged SD-WAN with a single stack or a single device, solving many problems. It would mean once a customer goes for a Cisco SD-WAN, he doesn't have to look at a second device in his ecosystem.

Cisco has got integration challenges.

The solution lacks advanced security features.

Besides a WAN optimizer, I would like to see if they can do something about the security, and maybe they could have in-built security features such as a firewall.

The cost could be better. Cisco is not great for the SMB market. These are price-sensitive customers and they typically will not go ahead with Cisco, unless and until they are a global organization and they have their entire ecosystem deployed on Cisco. Otherwise, Cisco is struggling to connect with these players as their pricing is high. They need to have better technology at a more competitive price.

For how long have I used the solution?

The organization that I work for, basically, we have deployed it in our lab. We do testing of multiple OEMs. It's been more than two years, that we have been using Cisco SD-WAN.

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

I have experience with a variety of different solutions. I also have worked with
Versa, Fortinet and FatPipe.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup could be more straightforward. A solution such as FatPipe, for example, has a very easy setup. In that case, when it comes to the GUI, in four, five clicks, the entire network gets established.

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

The solution needs to be priced more competitively. SMBs won't even look at Cisco as they already know it will be too expensive. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I've worked with other solutions and therefore have evaluated them a bit.

For example, FatPipe has an easier initial setup. The GUI is very simple, and the platform is highly, highly advanced, even as compared to your Cisco, Versa, or Fortinet options. 

What I see in Fortinet is more for firewall extensions, with some software-defined controls. While the functionalities of WAN Optimization, functionalities of a seamless failover are not there. There are some potential technologies that FatPipe has, that are not there in any of these OEMs. On top of that, it's a very simple to use technology for many customers. A lot of our customers have also given this feedback that technically Cisco, Fortinet, et cetera, might be big names, however, FatPipe technically is superior technology today, when it comes to SD-WAN. In terms of FatPipe, they have a single device that has routing, switching, load balancing, WAN optimizer, and FatPipe does full WAN optimization. 

Cisco also claims to do WAN Ops. Fortinet also claims to do WAN optimization. What I have found is that Versa doesn't have that feature at all. Versa needs to come up with WAN optimization feature in order to catch up.

Cisco does a basic sliding window and PCP, UDP, which is a basic level of WAN optimization, whereas FatPipe does sliding window TCP, UDP, caching, comparison, data application - all seven or eight techniques are possible.

What other advice do I have?

We're both customers and resellers. 

I'm not sure which version of the solution we're using at this time. I don't know the version number off-hand. 

Cisco is no doubt a great company in the routing area. Nobody can beat them or nobody can even come close to them. That said, to be very honest, in the SD Wan space, they are struggling. There are a lot of cases where Cisco is technically disqualified when it comes to pure SD-WAN. SD-WAN is the game of FatPipe. FatPipe is the one who invented this technology, and they have delivered SD-WAN since 2002. This company has more than 20 years of experience, from what I understand. Whenever you use these two technologies, you actually get to know that FatPipe in comparison to Cisco is so seamless, extremely seamless. 

Cisco doesn't have advanced security features. Cisco doesn't really do WAN Ops. It does packet duplicates. Technically, both do packet duplicates. If they have failover traffic from a primary to secondary link, they will duplicate the packet. Otherwise, there cannot be a seamless failover. FatPipe has patented technology that doesn't do packet duplication. That's the reason they save 50% of Enterprise bandwidth while doing a failover. On top of that, FatPipe is the only SD-WAN. If at all there is a video on the voice system that is going on in any of this other technology, it is bound to fail. If there is a glitch in the primary link, or the primary link is failing, FatPipe is the only technology that is able to hold everything down. The user will not even know that the primary link has gone down. That is why it's extremely unique and extremely compelling technology. It is something that no other OEM in the world has. Even Cisco can't touch it.

In general, I'd rate Cisco at a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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