Cisco SD-WAN Application-Aware Routing (AAR)

If you have multiple connections, like an MPLS and a regular Internet connection, then (depending on the OMP best path selection) both will probably be actively used. This might not be the best solution. Your MPLS connection might support QoS while the Internet connection is best effort. You might have a critical business application that requires QoS that should use the MPLS link and web traffic that should only use the Internet connection.

What if the performance of the MPLS connection degrades? Temporarily switching over to the Internet connection could offer a better end-user experience.

Another example is when you have multiple Internet connections. Perhaps through Fiber, Cable, DSL, and 4G. It would be nice if you could always pick the best connection out of these options.

With Application-Aware Routing (AAR), we can decide which applications should use what WAN connection, and we can failover based on criteria like packet loss, jitter, and delay. AAR tracks network statistics from data plane tunnels between Cisco SD-WAN devices and uses this information to calculate optimal traffic paths.

In this lesson, I’ll show you how to configure AAR and verify your traffic flows. This is the topology we’ll use:
Cisco Sd Wan Aar Topology

I have two sites with a single service VPN (10). The two sites are connected using two different WAN links:

  • biz-internet
  • public-internet

We’ll take a look at how Cisco SD-WAN uses these two WAN connections if you don’t have any policies.

Afterward, we’ll configure a centralized policy with Application-Aware Routing and two traffic rules:

  • Telnet traffic should use the “biz-internet” connection. When this traffic exceeds a certain loss, latency, or delay, it should switch over to the public-internet link.
  • An application list with multiple applications should use the “public-internet” link. When this traffic exceeds a certain loss, latency, or delay, it should switch over to the biz-internet link.

These two examples will help to understand AAR so you can create your own policies in the future. I’m using Cisco SD-WAN version 19.3.0.

Configurations

Want to take a look for yourself? Here you will find the startup configuration of each device.

vEdge1

system
 host-name               vEdge1
 system-ip               172.16.1.1
 site-id                 2
 organization-name       nwl-lab-sdwan
 vbond 10.1.0.2
!
omp
 no shutdown
 graceful-restart
 advertise connected
 advertise static
!
banner
 motd "Welcome to the vEdge router!"
!
vpn 0
 interface ge0/0
  ip address 10.65.91.1/24
  tunnel-interface
   encapsulation ipsec
   color biz-internet
   allow-service all
  !
  no shutdown
 !
 interface ge0/1
  ip address 10.65.92.1/24
  tunnel-interface
   encapsulation ipsec
   color public-internet
   allow-service all
  !
  no shutdown
 !
 ip route 10.1.0.0/24 10.65.91.100
 ip route 10.1.0.0/24 10.65.92.100
!
vpn 10
 interface ge0/3
  ip address 10.2.0.254/24
  no shutdown
 !
 omp
  advertise connected
 !
!
vpn 512
 interface eth0
  shutdown
 !
!

vEdge3

system
 host-name               vEdge3
 system-ip               172.16.1.3
 site-id                 3
 organization-name       nwl-lab-sdwan
 vbond 10.1.0.2
!
omp
 no shutdown
 graceful-restart
 advertise connected
 advertise static
!
banner
 motd "Welcome to the vEdge router!"
!
vpn 0
 interface ge0/0
  ip address 10.65.91.3/24
  tunnel-interface
   encapsulation ipsec
   color biz-internet
   allow-service all
  !
  no shutdown
 !
 interface ge0/1
  ip address 10.65.92.3/24
  tunnel-interface
   encapsulation ipsec
   color public-internet
   allow-service all
  !
  no shutdown
 !
 ip route 10.1.0.0/24 10.65.91.100
 ip route 10.1.0.0/24 10.65.92.100
!
vpn 10
 interface ge0/3
  ip address 10.3.0.254/24
  no shutdown
 !
 omp
  advertise connected
 !
!
vpn 512
 interface eth0
  shutdown
 !
!

SW1

hostname SW1
!         
no ip routing
!
interface GigabitEthernet0/0
 no switchport
 ip address 10.2.0.101 255.255.255.0
!
ip default-gateway 10.2.0.254
!
end

SW3

hostname SW3
!         
no ip routing
!
interface GigabitEthernet0/0
 no switchport
 ip address 10.3.0.103 255.255.255.0
!
ip default-gateway 10.3.0.254
!
end

Simulate Flows

Before we configure anything, let’s look at the default behavior. Cisco vManage has a useful tool to simulate flows and show traffic behavior.

Go to Monitor > Network > WAN – Edge and click on a vEdge router:

Cisco Sd Wan Monitor Network

Scroll down to Troubleshooting and click on Simulate Flows on the right side:

Cisco Sd Wan Monitor Network Troubleshooting

We’ll try something simple to start with. I’ll specify a flow from source 10.2.0.101 with destination 10.3.0.103. This is traffic from site 2 to site 3. The protocol number 6 is TCP, and the destination port is 23 (telnet). Let’s fill in all fields and click on Simulate:

Cisco Sd Wan Aar Simulate Flows

Take a look at the output below:

Cisco Sd Wan Aar Two Paths

In the output above, you can see that the default behavior is to use both WAN links to send traffic between the two sites. Once we have configured Application-Aware Routing, we’ll try this again so you can see the difference.

Configuration










Let’s configure a centralized policy with Application-Aware Routing. Go to Configuration > Policies > Centralized Policy and click on Add Policy:

Cisco Sd Wan Centralized Policy Overview Screen

Groups of Interest

First, we have to create some groups of interest:

  • Application List
  • Site List
  • SLA Class

Application List

The application list contains one or more applications that we want to use in our policy. There are two default application lists:

Cisco Sd Wan Centralized Policy App List

Each application list has a range of applications. We’ll create a new one so you can see what it looks like. You probably have more applications than Microsoft or Google apps. Click on New Application List, give it a name, and select some applications from the dropdown menu. Save the list by clicking on the Add button:

Cisco Sd Wan Centralized Policy App List New

Site List

Next up is the Site List. We’ll create a new list that defines our two sites (2 and 3). Select Site and click on New Site List:

Cisco Sd Wan Centralized Policy Site List New

Give the Site List a name and add site numbers two and three:

Cisco Sd Wan Centralized Policy Site List Aar

Click on Add to store the Site List.

SLA Class List

The SLA Class List defines when the traffic has to switch over to another WAN connection. This is where we define a threshold for packet loss, latency, and jitter. There are four default SLA classes. Let’s create an SLA Class List. Click on New SLA Class List:

Cisco Sd Wan Centralized Policy Sla Class New

We’ll set some parameters. In a lab, it doesn’t matter what values you select:

Cisco Sd Wan Centralized Policy Sla Class New Telnet

Click on Add to store the SLA Class List.

Traffic Rules

We don’t need a Topology, or VPN Membership, so click on Next. Select Create New under Configure Traffic Rules > Application-Aware Routing > Add Policy:

Cisco Sd Wan Aar Traffic Rules New

Telnet

Click on + Sequence Type, then select Protocol and Destination Port. Set the Protocol to 6 (TCP) and the destination port number to 23:

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