Today, we’re announcing the general availability of the Magic WAN Connector, a key component of our SASE platform, Cloudflare One. Magic WAN Connector is the glue between your existing network hardware and Cloudflare’s network — it provides a super simplified software solution that comes pre-installed on Cloudflare-certified hardware, and is entirely managed from the Cloudflare One dashboard.
It takes only a few minutes from unboxing to seeing your network traffic automatically routed to the closest Cloudflare location, where it flows through a full stack of Zero Trust security controls before taking an accelerated path to its destination, whether that’s another location on your private network, a SaaS app, or any application on the open Internet.
Since we announced our beta earlier this year, organizations around the world have deployed the Magic WAN Connector to connect and secure their network locations. We’re excited for the general availability of the Magic WAN Connector to accelerate SASE transformation at scale.
When customers tell us about their journey to embrace SASE, one of the most common stories we hear is:
We started with our remote workforce, deploying modern solutions to secure access to internal apps and Internet resources. But now, we’re looking at the broader landscape of our enterprise network connectivity and security, and it’s daunting. We want to shift to a cloud and Internet-centric model for all of our infrastructure, but we’re struggling to figure out how to start.
The Magic WAN Connector was created to address this problem.
Zero-touch connectivity to your new corporate WAN
Cloudflare One enables organizations of any size to connect and secure all of their users, devices, applications, networks, and data with a unified platform delivered by our global connectivity cloud. Magic WAN is the network connectivity “glue” of Cloudflare One, allowing our customers to migrate away from legacy private circuits and use our network as an extension of their own.
Previously, customers have connected their locations to Magic WAN with Anycast GRE or IPsec tunnels configured on their edge network equipment (usually existing routers or firewalls), or plugged into us directly with CNI. But for the past few years, we’ve heard requests from hundreds of customers asking for a zero-touch approach to connecting their branches: We just want something we can plug in and turn on, and it handles the rest.
The Magic WAN Connector is exactly this. Customers receive Cloudflare-certified hardware with our software pre-installed on it, and everything is controlled via the Cloudflare dashboard. What was once a time-consuming, complex process now takes a matter of minutes, enabling robust Zero-Trust protection for all of your traffic.
In addition to automatically configuring tunnels and routing policies to direct your network traffic to Cloudflare, the Magic WAN Connector will also handle traffic steering, shaping and failover to make sure your packets always take the best path available to the closest Cloudflare network location — which is likely only milliseconds away. You’ll also get enhanced visibility into all your traffic flows in analytics and logs, providing a unified observability experience across both your branches and the traffic through Cloudflare’s network.
Zero Trust security for all your traffic
Once the Magic WAN Connector is deployed at your network location, you have automatic access to enforce Zero Trust security policies across both public and private traffic.
A secure on-ramp to the Internet
An easy first step to improving your organization’s security posture after connecting network locations to Cloudflare is creating Secure Web Gateway policies to defend against ransomware, phishing, and other threats for faster, safer Internet browsing. By default, all Internet traffic from locations with the Magic WAN Connector will route through Cloudflare Gateway, providing a unified management plane for traffic from physical locations and remote employees.
A more secure private network
The Magic WAN Connector also enables routing private traffic between your network locations, with multiple layers of network and Zero Trust security controls in place. Unlike a traditional network architecture, which requires deploying and managing a stack of security hardware and backhauling branch traffic through a central location for filtering, a SASE architecture provides private traffic filtering and control built-in: enforced across a distributed network, but managed from a single dashboard interface or API.
A simpler approach for hybrid cloud
Cloudflare One enables connectivity for any physical or cloud network with easy on-ramps depending on location type. The Magic WAN Connector provides easy connectivity for branches, but also provides automatic connectivity to other networks including VPCs connected using cloud-native constructs (e.g., VPN Gateways) or direct cloud connectivity (via Cloud CNI). With a unified connectivity and control plane across physical and cloud infrastructure, IT and security teams can reduce overhead and cost of managing multi- and hybrid cloud networks.
Single-vendor SASE dramatically reduces cost and complexity
With the general availability of the Magic WAN Connector, we’ve put the final piece in place to deliver a unified SASE platform, developed and fully integrated from the ground up. Deploying and managing all the components of SASE with a single vendor, versus piecing together different solutions for networking and security, significantly simplifies deployment and management by reducing complexity and potential integration challenges. Many vendors that market a full SASE solution have actually stitched together separate products through acquisition, leading to an un-integrated experience similar to what you would see deploying and managing multiple separate vendors. In contrast, Cloudflare One (now with the Magic WAN Connector for simplified branch functions) enables organizations to achieve the true promise of SASE: a simplified, efficient, and highly secure network and security infrastructure that reduces your total cost of ownership and adapts to the evolving needs of the modern digital landscape.
Evolving beyond SD-WAN
Cloudflare One addresses many of the challenges that were left behind as organizations deployed SD-WAN to help simplify networking operations. SD-WAN provides orchestration capabilities to help manage devices and configuration in one place, as well as last mile traffic management to steer and shape traffic based on more sophisticated logic than is possible in traditional routers. But SD-WAN devices generally don't have embedded security controls, leaving teams to stitch together a patchwork of hardware, virtualized and cloud-based tools to keep their networks secure. They can make decisions about the best way to send traffic out from a customer’s branch, but they have no way to influence traffic hops between the last mile and the traffic's destination. And while some SD-WAN providers have surfaced virtualized versions of their appliances that can be deployed in cloud environments, they don't support native cloud connectivity and can complicate rather than ease the transition to cloud.
Cloudflare One represents the next evolution of enterprise networking, and has a fundamentally different architecture from either legacy networking or SD-WAN. It's based on a "light branch, heavy cloud" principle: deploy the minimum required hardware within physical locations (or virtual hardware within virtual networks, e.g., cloud VPCs) and use low-cost Internet connectivity to reach the nearest "service edge" location. At those locations, traffic can flow through security controls and be optimized on the way to its destination, whether that's another location within the customer's private network or an application on the public Internet. This architecture also enables remote user access to connected networks.
This shift — moving most of the "smarts" from the branch to a distributed global network edge, and leaving only the functions at the branch that absolutely require local presence, delivered by the Magic WAN Connector — solves our customers’ current problems and sets them up for easier management and a stronger security posture as the connectivity and attack landscape continues to evolve.
Summary of legacy, SD-WAN based, and SASE architecture considerations
Love and want to keep your current SD-WAN vendor? No problem - you can still use any appliance that supports IPsec or GRE as an on-ramp for Cloudflare One.