In a bid to improve productivity, drive efficiencies, accelerate business initiatives, and learn more from big data, organizations are putting more thought into their digital business strategy. Of course, your network is at the heart of this unstoppable evolution, powering communication to and between the applications driving the digital economy.
Yet, today’s networks aren’t set up to meet current demands. Network engineers are dealing with the challenges of scale (63 million new devices will be online every second by 2020), complexity, and security. They also struggling to keep up with fast advancing security threats, and evolving IoT, cloud, and mobility integration challenges.
“Network teams are increasingly judged on their ability to reduce security risk, deliver high-quality services, manage end-user experience, improve application performance, and support cloud readiness,” reports research firm, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).
They need a smarter, simpler network.
Speed and Simplicity to Meet Growing Demands
Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture (DNA) was developed with these “must haves” in mind. Cisco DNA is an open, extensible, and software-driven network architecture for digital business.
“The digital network is the platform for digital business,” explained Rob Soderbery, Cisco’s SVP for Enterprise Products and Solutions, when DNA launched almost three years ago. “Cisco DNA brings together virtualization, automation, analytics, cloud and programmability to build that platform. The acronym for the Digital Networking Architecture – DNA – isn’t an accident. We’re fundamentally changing the DNA of networking technology.”
Chief among its benefits is that Cisco DNA accelerates and simplifies enterprise network operations, while lowering costs and reducing risk. It’s a single network fabric that is powered by deep intelligence and integrated security to deliver automation and assurance across the entire organization at scale. As such, Cisco DNA gives IT time back from time-consuming, repetitive network configuration tasks so you can focus on the innovation your business needs.
That was in 2016. In 2017, Cisco took this software-delivered approach to automating and assuring services across networks one step further with the launch of intent-based networking and the introduction of the Cisco DNA Center and Catalyst 9000 wireless and switching family (the foundation for intent-based networking).
What is Intent-Based Networking?
Intent-based networking represents a fundamental shift in the way that networks are built and managed. One that does away with the old manual, time-intensive, error-prone way of doing things. Instead, these modern networks bridge the gap between the business and IT by capturing business intent and translating it into network policies. This allows the network to be automatically configured in minutes, with the assurance that it has happened correctly.
Cisco writes that “Intent-based networking is the difference between a network that needs continuous attention and one that simply understands what your organization needs and makes it happen. It’s the difference between doing thousands of tasks manually and having an automated system that helps you focus on business goals.”
For the network team, intent-based networking eliminates manual provisioning, security policy, and management tasks and replaces them with automated intent. With intent-based networking, an entire network can be configured automatically in minutes, with assurance that it has happened correctly.
Enabling Intent-Based Networking
Let’s break down how DNA Center and the Catalyst 9000 series support intent-based networking.Cisco DNA Center
While Cisco DNA is the bridge to an intent-based network, DNA Center is the network management command center at its core.
Cisco DNA is a complete network management system for today’s digital enterprise. It automates the deployment, connectivity, and lifecycle of your infrastructure and proactively maintains the quality and security of your applications so that IT staff can focus on networking projects that enhance your core business.
“Cisco DNA Center is the only way we can keep up with the explosion of devices on our network” – Marty Miller, technology strategist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
This single software platform includes integrated tools for network management, automation, virtualization, analytics and assurance, security, and IoT connectivity and is an extensible platform for interfacing into your business-critical tools – with a single dashboard for every core functionality in your network. Until now, functionality this complete could only be achieved through the purchase and operation of multiple third-party software tools. The advantages of having all your core network tools integrated into a single software platform are compelling.
Cisco DNA slashes days off time-consuming network provisioning and tedious troubleshooting tasks.
The Catalyst 9000 Series
Designed for the future of networking, with twice the capacity to support more users and devices, the Catalyst 9000 family of switches deliver an intent-based network (and at a lower price than previous generations).
The Catalyst 9000 is a purpose-built platform designed for full fabric control with Cisco DNA and Software-Defined Access (which enables policy-based automation from the edge to the cloud). This means simplified design, provisioning, maintenance, and security across the access network to the core. IT teams can automate patching, simplify operations, and overcome security vulnerabilities without slowing down to certify a new software image. It also includes state-of-the-art malware detection with Cisco Encrypted Traffic Analytics.
You can also respond faster to business needs with programmability, optimize mobility, manage the scale of IoT by easily segmenting your network through virtualization, and be cloud ready with Cisco’s DevOps toolkit.
All your sites, no matter the size, can benefit from intent-based networking. From the smallest departmental switch to the most critical corporate router, they can manage your networks strategically and holistically. Catalyst switches right-size for any environment – from branch offices and small businesses to the largest enterprise – wired or wireless.
Cisco’s push to simplify network management, while making the networks themselves more robust, agile and secure, earned the Catalyst 9000 switches CRN’s 2018 Networking Product of the Year. Read more in Top 5 Reasons to Choose Catalyst 9000 Switches.
A Smarter, More Secure Network
Together Catalyst 9000 and Cisco DNA Center support a new way to build and operate networks, so you can position your business for the digital age, accelerate the adoption of new technologies, strengthen their security posture, and improve their competitive agility.