Cisco's DNA Strategy Addresses Automation, Cloud, Virtualization for the Enterprise

By Paula Bernier March 02, 2016

The enterprise networking business of Cisco today announced its Digital Network Architecture strategy. Cisco says the introduction of DNA represents its pivot to software-centric networking, and a monumental shift in the way networks are developed, designed, and consumed.

Prashanth Shenoy, senior director of enterprise networks, told me in an interview Monday that Cisco DNA addresses the fact that every business is now a technology company, and that as that happens they are automating their business processes so they can move faster, wanting to simplify their networks, empowering their workforces to increase productivity and retention, and working to better understand their customers to increase loyalty via insight. Shenoy also said that this is one of the most important enterprise announcements from Cisco in a decade.

This new strategy entails the introduction of a new automation platform; Cisco’s move to virtualize everything, starting with the branch; and its move to cloud infrastructure, starting with the CMX Cloud.

The automation platform is called the APIC-EM. It’s an enterprise network controller for branch, big campus, and WAN environments. Shenoy said this is a completely new platform, which today offers plug and play for zero-touch configuration; the cloud version of this will be in controlled availability starting in May. It also supports Cisco’s IWAN (SD-WAN) app today, and will allow for EasyQoS policy services starting this month.

Cisco this month will also do a controlled introduction of branch service virtualization under its Enterprise NFV effort. This allows Cisco software to run on Cisco or industry-standard hardware.

“Enterprise NFV services in DNA allows us to innovate with speed via open programmability and by hosting virtualized functions and applications wherever, whenever I need them, network-wide,” said Markus Voegele, senior network architect for IBM Aviation Industry Services.

CMX Cloud, meanwhile, is a presence analytics and connections solution available now.  It helps businesses better understand their customers’ behaviors. It leverages location and presence information from Cisco wireless infrastructure to allow for easier Wi-Fi onboarding and to get access to aggregate customer behavior data.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Executive Editor, TMC

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