Wednesday 21 October 2020

Cisco SD-WAN: Onboarding Controllers step by step (on-prem)

 This configuration example only covers the process of installing the SD-WAN controller software images on a VMWare ESXI instance, establishing the transport and management networks for the three controllers to communicate, and ensuring that each controller has a valid certificate installed. This configuration does not go over the process of creating/applying configuration templates or adding edge devices, through vManage.


This configuration guide assumes that the following has already been setup and configured:

  • UCS server with at least the following hardware resources available:
    • vManage
      • 2 CPU
      • 32GB Memory
      • Disk 1: 30GB
      • Disk 2: 100GB
    • vSmart
      • 2 CPU
      • 4 GB Memory
      • Disk 1: 10.5GB (Approx. image size)
    • vBond
      • 4 CPU
      • 2GB Memory
      • Disk 1: 10.5GB (Approx. image size)
    • VMWare ESXI v6.0+ instance for managing VMs and VM networks:
      • One virtual network and switch for VM management and
      • One virtual network and switch for SD-WAN
      • Datastore(s) configured with at minimum 500GB
    • Workstation with network access to UCS server and controllers, with access to a certificate-signing server/software, such as xca. 

Image Download Links

vEdge (vBond), vManage, vSmart:

License Requirements

A Cisco DNA Essentials license is necessary in order to implement the SD-WAN solution.


This diagram describes the topology of the configuration which is covered by this setup guide.

Step-By-Step Configuration

Configure SD-WAN Component VMs

  1. Navigate to your VMWare ESXI management interface, and select “Virtual Machines” then click “Create/Register VM
  2. For vManage, click “Deploy a virtual machine from an OVF or an OVA file"
  3. Enter a name for your vManage instance, and select the downloaded file for vManage
  4. Select the datastore where the VM is going to be stored
  5. Select the VM management network for the VM Network, and select “Thick Provisioning” for Data Provisioning. Uncheck “Power on Automatically
  6. Click “Finish” to register the vManage VM
  7. Navigate to the left pane and click on "Networking" to add an additional Network Adapter. Click on "Add port group"


  1. In the pop-up window, type "SD-WAN" as a name of the New Port Group and click on "Add"


  1. Navigate to the Virtual Machines and right click the vManage VM and click “Edit Settings
  2. Click “Add Network Adapter” and select the defined SD-WAN network for Network Adapter 2