Cisco: Redefining the 'DNA' of NETWORKING

Chuck Robbins, CEO In a world where millions of devices are connecting to the internet each minute, imagine the complexity of automating, integrating, and securing all the devices. To a large extent, the networking software industry has made efforts to simplify the scenario starting with early academic concepts of SDN and OpenFlow, leading to SDN controllers, NFV and most recently solutions leveraging the cloud and analytics in new ways. At this epoch, where the number of devices surpasses the number of people, it makes sense to use an entirely different kind of network. One that sees complexity as the enemy and understands that intuition is the key; because intuition is the most basic human element that helps them react to problems without reasoning. What if a network could demonstrate this human quality, if it used intuition to drive itself, had insights to learn, adapt, predict, fix things before they break, and configure millions of connections not in months or days but minutes. A network that can protect itself based on what it knows, what it learned from every attack, identify threats even the ones hiding in encrypted traffic, the more you try to hack it the smarter it becomes. The network of this era—Cisco DNA is here. Intent powers Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture (DNA) and is informed by context while incessantly growing intuitive every day. “By building a more intuitive network, we are creating an intelligent platform with unmatched security for today and for the future that propels businesses forward and creates new opportunities for people and organizations everywhere,” says Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco [NASDAQ: CSCO].

Understanding ‘The Network. Intuitive.’

Using Cisco’s single network fabric that is powered by deep intelligence and integrated security, clients can manage the unprecedented scale of connected devices more easily. The new Cisco network continuously learns from the massive amounts of data flowing through it, turns that data into actionable, predictive insights, and then turns business intent into business results. As an open, software-driven platform, Cisco DNA combines virtualization, automation, analytics, and cloud, all in one architecture to accelerate and simplify enterprise network operations. With virtualization, Cisco DNA helps run services anywhere, independent of the underlying platform: physical, virtual, on the premises, or in the cloud. Its built-in automation empowers business and IT to reduce the complexity, costs, time, and effort to deploy, manage and maintain networks and services. The architecture, using pervasive analytics to provide insights into network operations, provides the roadmap to a digital-ready network so clients can innovate more quickly, and lower risk with services that are easy to consume. Cisco DNA services are delivered through Cisco ONE Software, which provides simplified, high-value solutions with license portability and purchase flexibility.

The intuitive network starts with intent-based infrastructure that is secure, fully programmable and open to third-party innovation, which seamlessly integrates the cloud as an infrastructure component. DNA centers on a network infrastructure including switches, routers, wireless access points, that provide the connectivity and routes traffic from devices within the enterprise and to the internet.

By building a more intuitive network, we are creating an intelligent platform with unmatched security for today

Built on a SDN controller, rich contextual analytics, network virtualization and the limitless scalability of the cloud, the DNA controller facilitates simple, automated and programmatic deployment of network services. It brings the notion of user and application-aware policies into the foreground of network operations. With DNA, the network can provide continuous feedback to simplify and optimize network operations and to support digitalized applications to become inherently network–aware. Clients can easily enable network access for any user or device to any application without compromising security through Software-Defined Access (SD-Access). With intelligent network fabric, users are assured of a consistent experience anywhere with insights and analytics into user and application behavior.

Centralized Management for DNA

As part of the architecture, Cisco DNA Center is a centralized management application for the network. DNA Center simplifies network management allowing IT to move more quickly by using automation to lower costs, assurance, and analytics to improve network performance, and security to reduce risk. Clients can save time by using a single dashboard to manage and automate their network. They can easily design enterprise network starting with geographical locations, creating sites, and network devices, and then configure and provision thousands of network devices across the enterprise in minutes, not hours.

Cisco DNA Center presents network performance analytics through Cisco DNA Analytics and Assurance, a network data platform (NDP) to proactively monitor client network, gather and process information from client’s devices. Through advanced correlation and machine learning algorithms, the NDP proactively identifies outliers that are reported as issues for remediation. Cisco DNA Center uses real-time feedback from the NDP and offers comprehensive network visibility to the users. Clients can then use analytics and automation to resolve issues quickly, increase availability, and deliver a better user experience. These insights also help in identifying the root cause of problems as well as predicting utilization based on trends and deviations from a baseline behavior. Interestingly, the company’s encrypted traffic analytics (ETA) uses Cisco’s Talos cyber intelligence to detect known attack signatures even in encrypted traffic, to ensure security while maintaining privacy. While Automate feature enables network changes to respond to business needs quickly and to reduce downtime, Assurance allows clients to run the network with maximum performance.

In addition, Cisco DNA Center enables clients to implement policy across their network quickly and deploy group based secure access and network to address changing business needs. Businesses can apply a policy to users and applications instead of network devices through automation that reduces costs associated with human errors, resulting in better uptime and improved security. Cisco DNA Center’s Assurance then assesses the network and uses context to turn data into intelligence, ensuring that changes in the network device policy configuration achieve intent.
Clients can reduce network downtime with real-time network assurance and seamlessly transition from a reactive to a proactive monitoring strategy with Cisco DNA Center. Through policy-based automation, IT can roll out and manage services across hundreds of devices and sites that meet the business intent, consistently reaching 85 percent faster network service provisioning. Through virtualized services, IT delivers a more dynamic network that can easily provision, expand, and reallocate services quickly across different hardware platforms with no service calls.

Powering an Intent-based Networking Future

A testimony to DNA’s prowess is Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) Health Board in Wales. ABMU formulated a vision to unburden doctors and nurses from filling out forms and writing notes while making clinicians more mobile for better care at the bedside and out in the community. For the organization to move faster, more efficiently and securely, they required transforming network and IT operations with the latest advances in mobility, cloud, analytics, and the IoT. ABMU adopted Cisco DNA as the foundation of a progressive IT strategy that helped them benefit from automated network operations with secure access, quick and effective emergency responses and enhanced in-home care support. “Digitization is how we’ll continue to improve our clinical services. The network is now an integrated part of the business, automatically adjusting to the organization’s needs dynamically,” says Hamish Laing, executive medical director and CIO of ABMU Health Board.

To help customers embrace intuitive networking with speed and confidence, Cisco offers a portfolio of services leveraging its proven experience, best practices, and innovative tools. Whether customers are looking to transform their entire network or integrate new security and automation capabilities into their existing network, Cisco has a comprehensive lifecycle of advisory, implementation, optimization and technical services to help them on their journey. Cisco channel partners can also resell these services and build networking practices that incorporate software, security, automation, and analytics for their customers.

“Our intention is to deliver a truly secure and intelligent platform for digital businesses to bring greater value to our world”

With its DNA, Cisco has brought a revolution in the networking space through a new solution that allows customers to virtualize their network perimeter and extend it to various locations. The networking giant is also the frontline proponent in the delivery of software-defined segmentation across the entire network—from the network to the endpoint to the cloud—with complete application visibility.

The company is set to leverage the power of intent, context and intuition to its next-generation data center architectures, advanced IoT applications, security portfolio, end-to-end analytics, and the vast investments in its core technologies. “We are committed to creating new ideas that push the envelope, bringing innovation to our customers in new ways,” says Robbins.

As the adoption of modern and automated networks is expected to triple in the following years, as per findings of an IDC’s study; Cisco is uniquely positioned to accelerate the journey of these digital ready networks for virtualizing and securing them. “As we move into this new chapter of intent-based infrastructure, our intention—my vision—is to deliver a truly secure and intelligent platform for digital businesses to bring greater value to our world,” concludes Robbins.


San Jose, CA

Chuck Robbins, CEO

Cisco hardware, software, and service offerings are used to create the Internet solutions that make networks possible, providing easy access to information anywhere, at any time