Networking’s Future? Cisco DNA Goes Under the Microscope
If Gartner’s researchers are correct, over the next two years, scores of IT pros are going to be adding a new phrase to their vocabulary – and to their corporate networks. That phrase is intent-based networking and Gartner’s team predicts it’s about to go mainstream. They believe that, by 2020, more than 1,000 large enterprises will be leveraging intent-based networking, compared to the dozen or so doing so today. In order to understand the reason behind that spike, we first need to look into the concept itself.
Intent-based networking differs significantly from prescriptive (customary) approaches to networking. It’s free of the granular concerns that plague more traditional methodologies. In a way, the difference between overseeing the two is almost like the difference between saying: “I want to bake a cake” versus “I need eggs, flour, sugar …” and so on.
That cake analogy is one way to think of intent-based networking. According to Gartner, another is to consider its four defining characteristics. It’s important to keep in mind that, while these capabilities can all be present on Day One, it’s not essential, or even recommended. Instead, they can be implemented over time, allowing the business to gradually adjust to the power and ability of intent-based networking.
- It can translate then validate
Intent-based networks are able to take high-level policy demands from IT and turn them into a proper network configuration. Then, the system will generate and test its configuration to ensure accuracy.
- It can automate implementation
After validation, intent-based networks are able to roll out their devised configurations across a preexisting IT environment, by way of either network automation or orchestration solutions.
- It is aware of network state
Intent-based networks remain cognizant of the status of the systems under their control, relaying that information back to IT.
- It is capable of self-optimization and issue remediation
In real time, intent-based networks can confirm they are helping the business achieve its networking goals, and if not, it can initiate the necessary corrective actions.
Intent-based networking has a certain futuristic air to it – even without Gartner’s references to the year 2020. However, there are solutions bringing these capabilities to today’s businesses. Here’s a closer look at how one in particular is impacting companies in the here and now.
Reimagining the ‘DNA’ of networking
Cisco has heralded the arrival of its Digital Network Architecture (DNA) solution since last spring’s Partner Summit. Then, at this summer’s Cisco Live, the tarp was finally stripped away and it made an impression. In fact, our own Dan Clarke, who attended Cisco Live, began his blog post recapping the event with a single telling line: “The evolution of networking is all about the DNA.”
Cisco DNA is an open, malleable network architecture designed to actualize the benefits of intent-based networking. It does this while taking into account the realities of the modern technology landscape, including ever-present security threats, sprawling connectivity and a workforce that won’t sit still. Let’s drill down further into several ways DNA addresses these ideas.
- Security – Cisco DNA is a holistic security solution, touching the entire network from edge to core. That posture leverages Cisco solutions such as ISE to provide IT with greater insight into network traffic, spotting threats wherever they may lurk, encrypted or not. As DNA is exposed to attacks, it learns what to expect and how to respond, powering faster, more comprehensive, and more hands-free threat response.
- Mobility – Many organizations struggle to find the balance between the freedom of enterprise mobility and the necessity of cyber security. Cisco’s Software-Defined Access lets devices and users be easily and safely welcomed onto the network while tools like Umbrella and AMP for Endpoints keep data and devices safe wherever employees roam.
- Internet of Things – Businesses stand to gain plenty of insight and efficiency through the Internet of Things (IoT). Before they can, they must first reconcile issues regarding architecture, cost, and security. Through its edge-to-core security, routine task (configuration, provisioning, etc.) automation, and a centralized management dashboard, DNA makes it easier and safer to embrace IoT.
- Cloud – The cloud has become an increasingly important part of today’s business model, forcing a change in the way organizations think about their network traffic and workloads. Cisco DNA provides support for cloud strategies, including hybrid and its underlying infrastructure. This allows employees to connect to the cloud without fear while experiencing the greater quality and consistency it offers.
Want more information on Cisco DNA, intent-based networking, and what they can do for your business? Arraya Solutions’ Cisco and IoT team is ready to help you analyze your network and your needs to help connect you to the right solutions. Start a conversation now by visiting: https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/.
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