Adding Business-Critical Applications to WAN Insights

WAN Insights is the ability to import your business-critical application categories and quality thresholds from vManage. You can bring any application that runs over your SD-WAN fabric into WAN Insights, as long as it has an active AAR (Application-Aware Routing) policy on vManage.

Each application category in WAN Insights corresponds to a collection of applications with a set of shared SLA quality thresholds that are first defined within vManage, and then propagated to WAN Insights. These thresholds are for loss, latency, and jitter.

WAN Insights includes some built-in application categories that correspond to defaults that also exist in vManage, for example Office 365. You cannot modify built-in application categories in vManage, only the SLA thresholds associated with them, as part of a given AAR policy that you import. In addition to modifying the built-ins, you can define your own application categories in vManage and then add them to WAN Insights.

This page describes how to add custom applications in WAN Insights, after they have already been configured in vManage.

Disambiguation: WAN Insights application categories are essentially bundles of apps with similar characteristics. For example, the categories “Voice” or “Office365” both include multiple apps within them.

  • The WAN Insights user interface uses the word "application" to refer to the entire application category.

  • Outside of WAN Insights, the corresponding data entities are sometimes referred to as application classes. However, on the vManage user interface they are labeled as application lists.

  • In addition to the applications themselves, a WAN Insights application category also includes a set of quality thresholds, known as SLA class lists in vManage.

Configuration in vManage is done under Centralized Policy > Define Lists, using the Custom Options button.

If a vManage network administrator has configured their own application lists and SLA class lists (quality thresholds), WAN Insights imports those lists automatically, based on their Application Aware Routing (AAR) policies. However, you have to make them visible in WAN Insights in order to review recommendations for them.

WAN Insights users can add their own custom applications with quality thresholds into WAN Insights as follows:

  1. Configure application lists in vManage. See the Cisco SD-WAN Policies Configuration Guide sections on Application-Aware Routing and Custom Applications for more information.

  2. Specify the SLA thresholds (loss, latency and jitter) in vManage for the entire application class as a group.

  3. Create an AAR policy for the application list.

  4. Activate them in WAN Insights as new application categories.

You’ll need to allow some time for vManage data to propagate:

  • Allow 24 hours for the newly added application list to become visible under the “Add new application” feature on WAN Insights.

  • Allow up to 7 days to see any recommendations on WAN Insights.

WAN Insights generates recommendations for any NBAR- or QOSMOS-configured application that it detects in vManage, as long as there is application traffic for those applications. These recommendations aren’t visible until you activate the corresponding application category in WAN Insights.

NBAR (Network-Based Application Recognition) and QOSMOS are both deep packet inspection engines used on Cisco cEdge and vEdge routers. WAN Insights supports telemetry from both cEdge and vEdge routers.

You can also view details for the predefined WAN Insights application categories, or turn those cards on or off.

Changes to the visibility of application categories will affect all users in your organization.

Part 1: Configure Application Lists in vManage

If you want recommendations for an application in WAN Insights that’s not in one of the out-of-the-box application categories, you must first configure a new application list in vManage. To build an application list, select either individual NBAR applications or application families.

The following documentation resources may be helpful:

  • Application-Aware Routing chapter from Cisco SD-WAN Policies Configuration Guide, Cisco IOS XE Release 17.x

  • Application-Aware Routing chapter from Policies Configuration Guide for vEdge Routers, Cisco SD-WAN Releases 19.1, 19.2, and 19.3

All quality thresholds for loss, latency, and jitter are defined in vManage and apply to every application in that class.

In vManage, take care not to configure the same application within two application lists. If those application lists have different quality thresholds set, this overlap could result in conflicting site recommendations in WAN Insights.

After making these changes, allow 48 hours for the change to be propagated into WAN Insights with enough lead time for WAN Insights to generate initial recommendations.

Part 2: Add New Application Category in WAN Insights

After you’ve configured the applications in vManage and allowed time for them to propagate, follow these steps to activate them in WAN Insights:

  1. Choose WAN Insights > Recommendations from the left-hand menu and then click + Add an application.

  2. A modal dialog appears titled Activate a new application.

  3. All application lists detected in vManage appear listed in the Activate a new application dialog, with Available ones at the top.

  4. To add a new application list as a WAN Insights application category, click a list item in the Available section near the top.

  5. The Edit application details modal dialog appears. Change the slider to Active and click Submit. The application category is immediately visible to all WAN Insights users in your organization.

You need the Administer WAN Insights permission to add an application in WAN Insights.

Activate New Application Modal

The Activate a new application modal dialog shows applications discovered in vManage, with an emphasis on applications where recommendations have already been generated in WAN Insights.

Columns are:

  • Available - Application categories ready to be added to your WAN Insights dashboard. The application needs to be active on vManage with an AAR policy applied.

  • # of recommendations - WAN Insights has already detected this application and traffic associated with it, and has started generating recommendations which you will be able to see if you add this application category. Note that if you just created this application list in vManage, you might not see any recommendations on this screen when activating. It takes 7 days for WAN Insights to have enough traffic data to start generating recommendations.

Below are sections for Unavailable and Already active applications.

  • Unavailable - The application exists, but no application traffic was detected from which to generate WAN Insights recommendations.

  • Already active - This application category is already activated within WAN Insights.

Click an available application to see application details. You must change the slider to Active in order to use the Submit button.

Cloud onRamp applications for SaaS products with Direct Internet Access (DIA) will be identified with a special icon and label. See Onboarding for Cloud OnRamp Applications for more information on how to add them.

Edit Application Details Modal

The Edit application details dialog appears both for new applications, and for editing an already activated application.

When editing application details, you can see the individual NBAR applications, along with the loss/latency/jitter thresholds that apply across the entire set of applications in this list. If you want to change these thresholds, do that in vManage and allow a few days for new recommendations to start generating.

Use the Edit application details modal dialog to de-activate, or hide, existing applications using the steps below.

  1. On WAN Insights > Recommendations, make sure the Top tab is selected. You’ll see the top recommendations by application category.

  2. Click the gear icon next to one of these categories, for example Voice. (Hover your mouse cursor just to the right of the “Voice” label to see the gear.)

  3. The Edit application details modal dialog appears.

  4. Change the slider to Inactive and click Submit.

  5. A new card and any active recommendations for the application category should appear immediately, in the WAN Insights Recommendations screen.

Working With vManage Default Application Lists

vManage also includes a set of out-of-the-box default application lists, that correspond to similarly-named default application categories in WAN Insights. Keep in mind that:

  • It is not possible to modify the default application lists in vManage.

  • You can clone the default application lists in vManage (with a different name) and change the included NBAR applications. From WAN Insights’ point of view, this will be a new application category.

  • If you don't want to use the out-of-the-box application categories provided in WAN Insights, you need to disable them in WAN Insights by clicking the gear icon next to the application category and make it inactive, as described in Edit Application Details Modal.

Onboarding for Cloud OnRamp (CoR) Applications

Cloud onRamp in vManage is an engine used to configure outbound applications that are accessed by users directly in the cloud. In WAN Insights, this is for traffic type Direct Internet Access (DIA). CoR applications display in WAN Insights with a “Cloud OnRamp app” label.

The add new application workflow is mostly the same as for other applications, namely, you configure the CoR application in vManage first, and in 24 hours it’ll be visible in WAN Insights as available to add.

However, there’s one important difference: you must configure the SLA in WAN Insights rather than vManage, in the Edit Application Details modal, and then click Submit, in order to add the CoR application. The SLA quality thresholds for loss, latency and jitter are local to WAN Insights and do not propagate back to vManage. This is because CoR itself does not support the concept of an SLA. Also you won’t know if there is traffic data or not until 24 hours after configuring the SLA for the CoR application.

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