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Cisco's New Hardware Platform Has NFV Focus

By Steve Anderson March 02, 2017

Increasingly, we've discovered that network functions virtualization (NFV) has a lot of value in current corporate operations, and as such, businesses have been increasingly bringing this system into play. To that end, other businesses have been rolling out tools to help businesses put NFV to work. Recently, Cisco brought out some new additions to its own lineup, offering a new hardware platform to better use this growing system, as well as new tools to help the network as a whole.

While at the Cisco Live Europe conference in Berlin, Cisco showed off several of the new tools, including part of the earlier-released Digital Network Architecture (DNA) platform, which is designed to offer a whole new level of capability for network infrastructure. Not just in managing it, but in building it from the ground up.

The first new offering was the Cisco Enterprise Network Compute System (ENCS) 5400, which allows users to send a variety of standard, useful network services—ranging from wide-area network (WAN) optimization to security and routing—to outlying portions of a geographically-separated campus. The hardware allows for multiple functions, meaning that it's easier to add these necessary services with one new piece of hardware.

Additionally, it also introduced Cisco Secure Agile Exchange, a means to help drive virtualization efforts at the network perimeter, a point that hasn't always been simple in the past. The Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) offered added network visibility, which is an excellent step toward providing better security and overall operational capability.

Interestingly, Cisco was working around the term “software defined networking” (SDN) in its presentation, but still noted that it was “the first in the industry to deliver software-defined segmentation across the entire network—from the endpoint to the cloud—with complete application visibility.”

That might sound like SDN, even though a lot of outside observers thought Cisco dragged its feet on the concept. Given that Cisco recently offered up a guest blog titled “If It's Not Software-Defined, It's Legacy,” Cisco may well be making up for lost time here. Regardless of Cisco's earlier stance on such issues, as well as the distinct possibility that Cisco may be playing catchup, the key takeaway is that Cisco's definitely pulling into this market, and in a big way.

Since Cisco is just getting started, it will likely be a while before we see how it all works out. Still, with these new products in place—that look like they could deliver a lot of value, too—it's a safe bet that this comparative newcomer will make a splash before it's all said and done.

Edited by Alicia Young

Contributing Writer

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