Cisco Battles IT Blind Spots, Takes Network Intuitive to the WAN

Cisco is taking its intent-based networking initiative to the WAN this week with the launch of two new technologies -- Cisco SD-WAN vAnalytics and Cisco Meraki Insight.

In June, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) unveiled "The Network.Intuitive," its intent-based networking (IBN) plan to deliver automation to the entire network -- the campus, branch, data center and edge. IBN's goal is to express the desired business intent or outcome and in turn, the network configures itself. (See Intent-Based Networking: Marketing Hype or a Magic Bullet for Automation?)

Cisco says so far its IBN initiative has "more than doubled its customer base for the Catalyst 9000 switching platform" in sequential quarters, to more than 3,100. With Cisco SD-WAN vAnalytics for analytics and Cisco Meraki Insight for assurance, Cisconow extends IBN beyond campus switching and the data center to the WAN. (See Cisco Returns to Growth, With Help From Network Automation.)

"We found in our surveys that 30% of organizations think they have better need for analytics and visibility in the WAN," says Sachin Gupta, senior vice president of product management for Cisco Enterprise Networking. "At the same time, they say they spend 43% of their time just troubleshooting, looking at data, analyzing data and trying to find where the issue is." (See Cisco Announces WAN Innovations.)

Cisco SD-WAN vAnalytics
Troubleshooting issues over the WAN has historically been more complicated than in the data center, and the WAN has been IT's biggest blind spot, says Gupta. Cisco SD-WAN vAnalytics, designed as a cloud-based SaaS solution based on Viptela technology, provides data and analysis for the WAN's branch offices, multicloud endpoints and service providers and addresses "what-if" scenarios to predict application and bandwidth issues in advance, according to Cisco. Using the technology, IT professionals can predict how potential policy changes to the WAN might impact application performance or how to pre-plan and run scenarios for deploying a real-time video processing application, for example.

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"While SD-WAN has been focused a lot on automation, provisioning of the overlay circuits, better security and path selection, we wanted to marry that with the value we can bring to the table with analytics," says Gupta.

In addition, vAnalytics trends data across all of Cisco's SD-WAN customers to provide users with a baseline to compare application performance to that of their peers in the same region.

Next page: Cisco Meraki Insight

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