Cisco unveils smart ‘network of the future’

Business news |
By Rich Pell

The new network is said to be a culmination of years of research and development by Cisco in an effort to reinvent networking for an age where network engineers – who today, using traditional IT processes, are managing hundreds of devices – will be expected to manage 1 million devices by 2020. The new intuitive system says the company, “constantly learns, adapts, automates and protects, to optimize network operations and defend against today’s evolving threat landscape.”

According to Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, “The network has never been more critical to business success, but it’s also never been under more pressure. 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.”

Leveraging its position in the networking space – where most internet traffic runs on Cisco networks – the company says it has been able to capture and analyze this traffic data, providing IT with insights to spot anomalies, even in encrypted traffic, and anticipate issues in real time, without compromising privacy. According to the company, the resulting intuitive network is an intelligent, highly secure platform “powered by intent and informed by context.”

“Intent-based” networking, says the company, allows IT to move from tedious traditional processes to automating intent, making it possible to manage millions of devices in minutes. “Context” refers to being able to interpret data in its surrounding context – i.e., the “who, what, when, where and how” – enabling the network to provide new insights. “Intuition” refers to machine-learning at scale, where the vast data that flows through the company’s networks around the world, with machine learning built in, is used to provide actionable, predictive insights.

The company has introduced a suite of Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) technologies and services designed to work together to power the intuitive network:

  • DNA Center – an intuitive, centralized management dashboard allowing IT to centralize management of all network functions.
  • Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) – uses automated policy enforcement and network segmentation over a single network fabric to dramatically simplify network access for users, devices and things.
  • Network Data Platform and Assurance – an analytics platform that efficiently categorizes and correlates the vast amount of data running on the network and uses machine learning to turn it into predictive analytics, business intelligence, and actionable insights.
  • Encrypted Traffic Analytics – using Cisco’s Talos cyber intelligence and machine learning to analyze metadata traffic patterns, the network can identify the fingerprints of known threats even in encrypted traffic, without decrypting it and impacting data privacy.
  • Catalyst 9000 Switching Portfolio – a new family of switches built from the ground up for the new realities of the digital era, centered on the demands of mobility, cloud, IoT and security.
  • Software Subscription – when purchasing the new Catalyst 9000 family of switches, customers will access the DNA software capabilities by subscription, either via pre-bundled Cisco ONE software suites or a-la-carte components.
  • DNA Services – a new portfolio of advisory, implementation, optimization and technical services that leverage Cisco’s experience, best practices and tools.
  • Developer Center – a new DevNet DNA Developer Center with resources to help developers and IT professionals create network-powered applications and integrate them within their IT systems and workflows.

The Catalyst 9300 and 9500 are available this month (June), with the rest scheduled to become available in the coming months and into November.

Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA)

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