Cisco vWAAS License

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  • Last updated on: 15 Jan 2020

Cisco vWAAS License

Cisco Wide Area Application Services

Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) is a scalable, high-performance WAN optimization solution that can improve the end-user quality of experience, providing user or employee time savings and increased velocity of business functions and transactions like backup, disaster recovery, and retail commerce.


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Product overview

Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS)—for both enterprises and service providers—is a WAN optimization solution that accelerates business applications delivered from the branch office to the data center and to private and virtual-private-cloud infrastructures. It delivers the next generation of WAN and application acceleration and helps businesses mitigate poor application performance and deliver high-quality digital experiences on a variety of platforms and form factors in a broad range of offerings including physical appliance, virtual appliance, and router-integrated software.

Cisco Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) provides WAN optimization with intent-based dynamic path control to optimize network and application performance by selecting the most efficient WAN links on an application-by-application basis, helping avoid latency and bottleneck concerns. SD-WAN, however, cannot overcome the inevitable problems caused by latency and geographic distances. To ensure user quality of experience and productivity, WAN optimization and application acceleration are important features to both enterprise and service provider customers, and by adding Cisco WAAS to SD-WAN deployments you can address those concerns by adding caching, compression, and application optimization.

With or without SD-WAN, Cisco WAAS provides application acceleration and WAN optimization capabilities to branch offices, data centers, public and private clouds, and users to achieve application delivery performance similar to that of a LAN. Enterprises and service providers can save money and time, and lower costs with reduced bandwidth requirements and increased user efficiency by alleviating the effects of WAN latency and distance between branch offices, data centers, and the cloud.

Features and benefits

Table 1 lists the features and benefits of Cisco WAAS.

Table 1. Features and benefits of Cisco WAAS

Features and Benefits

Save costs and minimize unnecessary WAN bandwidth consumption

● Transport Flow Optimization (TFO) improves application packet flow under unfavorable WAN conditions such as packet loss and small initial windows while helping ensure fairness.

● Data Redundancy Elimination (DRE) and network compression using a bidirectional database to store previously seen TCP traffic and replace redundant patterns with very small signatures provide up to 100:1 compression depending on the data being examined.

● Adaptive, persistent, session-based compression can provide up to an additional 5:1 compression.

Improve user productivity and quality of experience by reducing effects of latency and optimizing applications

● Protocol acceleration: Application-specific latency is reduced through a variety of application-layer techniques such as read-ahead, operation prediction, connection reuse, message multiplexing, pipelining, and parallelization, resulting in LAN-like performance despite deployment over a WAN.

● Application optimizers: Protocol-specific acceleration is available for Microsoft Windows file sharing (Server Message Block [SMB]); Microsoft Exchange (Messaging API [MAPI] and MAPI over Secure Sockets Layer [SSL]); Encrypted MAPI (EMAPI); HTTP; and Secure HTTP (HTTPS) applications such as Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft SharePoint and Outlook Web Access (OWA); Microsoft Windows print services; UNIX Network File System (NFS); and Citrix ICA. These features improve end-user application response times, significantly improving employee productivity.

● Content prepositioning: You can use centralized policy-based file distribution and prepositioning to push files to edge virtual WAAS (vWAAS) devices, accelerating software patch distribution and file access for all users.

● Cloud-based optimization through the Akamai Intelligent Platform can be obtained by adding Akamai Connect licensing to licensing when ordering.

Deploy and manage services quickly, with flexibility and agility

● Virtual Central Manager (vCM): This workflow-based software tool manages central configuration, provisioning, real-time monitoring, fault management, logging, and customized reporting with the capability to create scheduled reports.

● Comprehensive statistics: Comprehensive logs, reports, graphs, and statistics for Cisco vWAAS functions help IT administrators optimize system performance and troubleshooting.

● Monitoring, reporting, traps, and alerts: Real-time monitoring of connections, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) Versions 2c and 3, Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP) authentication, and syslog are supported.

● Centralized software upgrades: Administrators can remotely schedule upgrades or version rollbacks.

● Application performance management: Obtain accurate reports about end-to-end application response time and WAN bandwidth usage.

● XML Application Programming Interface (API): You can use the XML API to integrate WAAS Central Manager into customers’ network management and monitoring systems.

Scalability and high availability

● Out-of-path deployment: You can deploy WAAS using Web Cache Communication Protocol Version 2 (WCCPv2) for high-availability clustering and N + 1 load balancing for up to 32 WAAS devices within a WCCPv2 service group. Cisco Policy-Based Routing (PBR) is also supported as a deployment mechanism.

● Configuration backup and restore: If hardware failure occurs, the re-provisioning and restore process can be handled remotely using WAAS Central Manager.

● Redundant WAN link support: WAAS supports environments with redundant WAN links, redundant routers, and asymmetric routing to improve high availability and optimization efficiency.

● Cisco AppNav-XE technology: AppNav-XE helps you virtualize WAN optimization resources by pooling them into one elastic resource in a manner that is policy-based and on demand, with exceptionally low-latency performance.


● Data-at-rest encryption: All data is secured with 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption and automatic key management.

● Data-in-flight security: Cisco firewalls perform stateful inspection of accelerated traffic.

● Acceleration of SSL applications: Existing enterprise security architecture is preserved when accelerating SSL applications.

● Data access security: All security-related protocol commands are delegated to the file server and the domain controller. No additional domain security or user configuration is necessary.

● Management access security: The WAAS Central Manager offers Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) integration with external authentication providers such as Microsoft Active Directory, RADIUS, and TACACS+, and it supports Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) to help ensure security.

● Network security: WAAS and Cisco firewalls secure accelerated traffic with stateful firewall inspection and network virus scanning using Cisco IOS  Intrusion Prevention System (IPS). No other vendor currently preserves security for accelerated traffic.

Cisco WAAS in the multicloud environment

Enterprises want to migrate their business applications to the cloud while reducing the negative effect on performance of cloud-based application delivery to end users. As a result, they are increasingly adopting virtualization and cloud computing. However, they face several challenges in migrating applications to the cloud, with application performance being often cited as one of the main concerns.

Cisco WAAS supports WAN optimization in a cloud environment where physical devices cannot be deployed. In private and virtual-private-cloud environments, use WAAS to create value-added WAN optimization services on a per-application basis, for optimized delivery to remote branch-office users. Associate WAAS services with application server virtual machines as they are moved in response to dynamic load demand in the cloud to offer rapid delivery of WAN optimization services, with minimal network configuration or disruption.

Cisco WAAS accelerates Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, such as or Office 365 delivered from the public SaaS cloud. SaaS applications are typically HTTPS-based and can be configured in an easy and scalable manner to accelerate access to hosted Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) applications delivered from public cloud platforms and connected to private networks. Today WAAS is supported in the Microsoft Azure cloud with support for Amazon Web Services and Google cloud planned.

AppNav-XE integrated into Cisco IOS XE Software

An important feature for WAAS is AppNav-XE, which helps provide flexible scale-out of WAAS deployments and intent-based networking configuration. This Cisco IOS XE Software-based feature enables you to associate WAAS services with application servers as they are instantiated or moved in response to dynamic application load demand in the cloud. This feature provides the ability to direct WAN optimization on an application-by-application basis, and also enables you to make changes or expand WAAS services quickly, elastically, and on demand. You can add capacity or dedicate capacity to specific applications or geographies based on business requirements, with no change to existing network configurations or topologies.

Akamai Connect

Cisco WAAS has partnered with Akamai for the Akamai Connect feature. By combining the power of Cisco WAAS with Akamai caching and Internet optimization technology, the solution enables branch offices to offload existing network links and further improve in-branch web and application experiences. Akamai Connect enhances WAAS by caching and delivering most rich media traffic from inside the branch office, allowing you to dramatically improve performance, while offloading traffic from the WAN and last-mile access network. You can add the Akamai Connect feature to WAAS when ordering.

Platform support

The following platforms are supported:

For the branch office:

  • Cisco 5400 Series Enterprise Network Compute System (ENCS)
  • Cisco 4000 Series Integrated Services Routers (ISRs)
  • Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) E-Series Servers

For the data center and private cloud:

  • Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS)
  • Cisco Cloud Service Platform (CSP) 2100 Series
  • Other x86-based computing systems (performance will vary depending on system)

In the public cloud:

  • Microsoft Azure Cloud

Cisco ENCS 5400-W Series hardware

The Cisco ENCS 5400-W product line was built as a WAAS hardware platform for the branch office managed by the Cisco Virtual Central Manager (vCM) tool with no interaction with any hypervisor required.

You also can deploy Cisco WAAS as a separate Virtual Network Function (VNF) on the ENCS 5000 Series with the Cisco Enterprise NFV Infrastructure Software (NFVIS) hypervisor.

Router-integrated WAAS

With the Cisco 4000 Series Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) for Cisco WAAS services, you have two options depending on requirements as follows:

Cisco 4000 Series ISRs with ISR WAAS running in a Cisco IOS XE Software container

Cisco vWAAS on Cisco UCS E-Series Server: Use the Cisco UCS E-Series Server module in the 4000 Series ISR with any of the hypervisors listed in the next section.

Cisco Virtual WAAS and supported hypervisors

Cisco Virtual WAAS (vWAAS) software runs on x86 compute environments and can be deployed in the enterprise branch office, data center, in public or private clouds, and in virtual private clouds offered by service providers. vWAAS supports the following hypervisors:

  • VMware vSphere ESXi
  • Microsoft HyperV
  • KVM on CentOS
  • Cisco Enterprise NFVIS
  • Cisco ISR WAAS

Centralized management and orchestration

Cisco WAAS instances and the Cisco ENCS 5400-W Series are managed by the Cisco Virtual Central Manager (vCM), which is a workflow-based software tool that manages central configuration, provisioning, real-time monitoring, fault management, logging, and customized reporting with the capability to create scheduled reports for WAAS, vWAAS, and ISR WAAS.

Cisco DNA Center, a complete software-based network automation and assurance solution, is the dashboard for control and management of Cisco’s intent-based networking system. Cisco DNA Center reduces complexity by supporting Cisco validated topology designs for virtual functions to help ensure that connectivity results in a working branch-office network.

utomation of service chaining prevents manual service chaining errors and time required to troubleshoot connectivity problems.


You can order Cisco WAAS in several ways, including ENCS 5000-W Series physical WAAS appliances, ISR 4000-AX Series router-integrated ISR WAAS, vWAAS on the Cisco UCS E-Series module for the 4000 Series ISRs, vWAAS as standalone license for Cisco UCS and x86 based servers, and as a part of the Azure Marketplace. You can also order Cisco Central Manager for WAAS separately. Details follow.

a) Cisco ENCS 5000-W Series

Cisco WAAS bundled with the ENCS 5400-W platforms

Cisco WAAS bundled with the ENCS 5400-W platforms

The Cisco ENCS 5400-W Series is completely managed by the WAAS Central Manager, and there is no interaction with the underlying hypervisor (NFVIS) as there is with other ENCS 5000 Series platforms.

b) Cisco 4000 Series Integrated Services Routers

Several options for 4000 Series router-based WAAS follow:

b.1) Router-integrated ISR WAAS on the Cisco 4000-AX Series ISRs
The Cisco 4000 Series Integrated Services Router Family includes the Cisco 4451-X-AX, 4431-AX, 4351-AX, 4331-AX, and 4321-AX routers. Each Cisco 4000-AX bundle includes licenses for IP Base, Security (SEC), Application Experience (AppX), and Right To Use (RTU) for Wide Area Application Services (WAAS). Cisco 4000-AXV bundles also include licenses for Unified Communications (UC) and Cisco Unified Border Element.

b.2) Cisco WAAS on the Cisco 4000 and 4000-AX Series ISRs with optional Cisco UCS-E Series module

The Cisco UCS-E Series module can run vWAAS licenses as an option to ISR WAAS on the 4000 Series ISRs. The 4000-AX ISR bundles include a Right-To-Use (RTU) license for WAAS that you can apply to vWAAS on the Cisco UCS-E module, or you can purchase vWAAS separately as a separate or standalone license for vWAAS (refer to section c).

b.3) Cisco WAAS included with APP licensing for 4000 Series ISRs

Separately order the Application Experience (AX) license with WAAS RTU for your 4000 Series router; for example, SL-4xxx-APP-K9.

c) Cisco Virtual WAAS (vWAAS) as separate or standalone license

For vWAAS ordered as a as standalone license:

For vWAAS ordered as a as standalone license

d) Cisco WAAS at Microsoft Azure marketplace:

For information about vWAAS is a part of the Azure marketplace, please visit:

e) Cisco Virtual Central Manager (vCM) is licensed as follows:

Cisco Virtual Central Manager (vCM) is licensed as follows


Contact our sales experts to find out pricing and how to get your license through price inquiry form.