Cisco Rewrites Enterprise Networking DNA in 'Monumental Shift'
SAN DIEGO -- Cisco is gutting and renovating its enterprise networking architecture, with a strong focus on cloud, mobility and analytics, as it also brings NFV to the enterprise.
"For us, this is a monumental shift in the way that Cisco is going to deliver networks to the enterprise, and the way our customers are going to consume networks," Prashanth Shenoy, senior director of enterprise networks for Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), tells Light Reading.
To those ends, Cisco launched the Digital Network Architecture Wednesday here at its Cisco Partner Summit 2016.
DNA is an open, software-driven architecture Shenoy says. "We're known as a hardware-centric platform and closed system, with hardware and software running hand and hand for customers."
DNA changes that fundamentally. The foundation principles of DNA are virtualizing the underlying infrastructure, automating network management using analytics and moving to a cloud-based service model.
The change is driven by enterprise need to innovate, achieve faster time to market, empower their workforces and personalize customer experience, Shenoy says. Enterprises need to automate to reduce operating costs -- opex on manually configured networks can triple capex.
In other words, enterprises are driven by the same New IP transformation driving change to service providers.
DNA automation and virtualization starts with the APIC-EM Automation Platform on "Day Zero" -- installing equipment and services, Shemoy says. Cisco's Catalyst switches and wireless products will support Plug and Play installation and configurations. Cisco and its channel partners will ship equipment to customer sites, where they can be plugged in by anyone -- even someone with no technical skills -- and the hardware will automatically download configuration and installation instructions over the Internet, to boot up and configure a vLAN without manual intervention.
Cisco's IWAN wide-area network automation product, already available, automates setting up a WAN, with policies, profiles, automation, and trouble-shooting built in and automated.
The APIC-EM automation platform is new, available now. Base plug and play automation is available now, with a cloud version in controlled availability in May. The IWAN App is available now, and Easy QoS [Quality of Service] will be available later this month.
DNA also automates QoS policies.
For security, Cisco is using the StealthWatch automated tool, part of the networking giant's Lancope acquisition last year. (See Cisco Boosts Analytics, Security With Acquisitions.)
For analytics, Cisco is introducing CMX Cloud, which tracks WiFi usage on the network, primarily for enterprises in industries such as retail, hospitality, healthcare, education, even some government agencies, where customers are walking around physical facilities with mobile devices. A retail enterprise, for example, can use WiFi tracking to discover what parts of a store are most popular, where customers linger, traffic patterns, and more, Shenoy says. Previously, users need to install a client on their devices, but that's no longer necessary.
These kinds of DNA analytics are extensible to smart sensors and other Internet of Things devices, Shenoy says.
"Businesses need to move from network analytics -- how is the network behaving? -- to business analytics," Shenoy says. "How are users connecting, what kinds of devices are they using, what kinds of threats are we seeing, how can I understand all of these behaviors?"
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