Cisco's Next Networking Frontier: Intuitive Networks

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cisco today unveiled what it calls the intuitive network, a move CEO Chuck Robbins described as "redefining the network for the next 30 years."

The announcement boils down to a concept called intent-based networking, which the industry has been kicking around for a few years. The idea is that network operators would simply state what they want the network to do -- allowing one set of users to connect to another, for example -- and the network would configure itself to make that happen.

The network would further use telemetry and machine learning to figure out how well things are going, making on-the-fly adjustments as necessary.

It's a long-term vision that seems likely to spread to Cisco's entire portfolio, including products for the service provider core. But the intuitive network is getting its start in the enterprise, where Cisco announced the next generation of Catalyst switches, based on an updated and programmable version of the IOS XE operating system and an intelligence center based on Cisco's Digital Network Architecture.

Read the whole story on Enterprise Cloud News: Cisco Declares a New Era of Intent-Based Networking.

— Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

COMMENTS Add Comment
Phil_Britt 7/4/2017 | 11:00:09 AM
Re: Window dressing Operators will likely want to state what they want the network to do, but there will be several starts and stops before that would become a reality, much like with other technological advancements.
kq4ym 7/4/2017 | 10:09:12 AM
Re: Window dressing Yes it only life were as simple as "network operators would simply state what they want the network to do," and then it happens. Eventually we'll probably get there and it will be interesting to see how Cisco fares in that quest.
Craig Matsumoto 6/26/2017 | 4:44:12 PM
Timeframe update From Cisco Live -- the DNA Center (which is the thing that will make all this automation go) will be in production in early August, Cisco says.

The new Catlayst switches are orderable now, and some of them will be shipping in July.

Phil- I don't think Cisco announces earnings until August...
Phil_Britt 6/23/2017 | 7:57:42 PM
Re: Window dressing Cisco posts earnings this week. The conference call should provide a good indication of how committed Cisco is in going in any new direction.
Craig Matsumoto 6/22/2017 | 12:39:10 PM
Re: Window dressing You could say Cisco is co-opting what was supposed to be a multivendor, open concept. The technologies Cisco presented are built by Cisco, for Cisco, and they're in stark contrast to the multivendor "intent" discussions that were being held a few years ago.

Those discussions waned, and I think a lot of investors and customers weren't fully aware of them -- so, now, Cisco gets to claim "intent" as its own term. We'll see how well that flies. Apstra, for one, will have something to say about it. 

So yes, Richard, I think your analysis is sound.

Separately, though, I do think intent-based networking is a strong idea and has a good chance to become the Network Of The Future. In that sense, it's important that Cisco is so committed to this direction, basically applying it to all future Catalyst models.
RichardDT2P 6/21/2017 | 12:32:17 PM
Window dressing Good post Craig. I did notice though it didn't take reading too far to find how Cisco wants to tie this into things they are already doing. Intent based networking implies a level of abstraction as opposed to introspection with what's inside the black box. This reminds of the 'E' thing - we had e-marketing, e-business, etc etc. Understandably Cisco wants to have its name breathed in the same sentence as NFV/SDN and intent based networking and not have to reinvent too much to realize the revenues its used too. Time will tell
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