Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

The Software Revolution in the Network Has Landed

September 22, 2017

For a technical introduction join one of our Cisco Tech sessions coming to a venue near you in October

We have all heard that Software Defined Networking (SDN) promises to revolutionise networking … but for years, the focus of SDN developments has been on the Data Centre.

There have been attempts in the industry to optimise campus networks, but with little success, until now…

Our recent announcement of SD-Access is revolutionising networking as we know it.  Today’s networks were never designed to scale at the level that digitisation demands of them today.  Now, the network has the automation needed to scale to those increased requirements.

So, just what has Cisco announced?

Cisco’s new SD-Access is an innovative technology that delivers policy based automation of users, devices, and things from the edge of the network, to the cloud.  Delivered through our centralised management console, Cisco DNA Centre.

It provides a fully automated network infrastructure across the entire access and core network. Creating a single network fabric that simplifies and scales operations.  This means Network IT can finally say goodbye to VLANs, ACL’s, and IP address management that can be error prone and difficult to maintain.

By automating day-to-day tasks such as configuration, provisioning and troubleshooting, it enables you to:

  • reduce the time it takes to adapt the network
  • improve time to resolve issues
  • reduce security breach impact

Which means faster IT response to the business, less downtime, risk reduction, , and you get time back.  Cisco estimates this can achieve up to a 14% decrease in CapEx and 61% less OpEx for the business.

How does it work?

SD-Access simplifies the network by building a fabric architecture. In addition, it shifts network management from CLI to full intuitive GUI based automation.  It is made up of 5 key components:

  • DNA Center that acts as the main interface
  • APIC-EM which serves as the fabric controller
  • Identity Services Engine which is the policy repository
  • Plus, the newly announced Cisco Network Data Platform (NDP) which serves as our analytics engine collecting telemetry from our DNA-ready infrastructure
  • and the DNA-ready infrastructure

And the bonus is that all software elements of this solution will also open up a full API set so that external parties can interface into this architecture.

OK what’s in it for me?

There are lots of ways that SD-Access can benefit you.

  • Design – Network Hierarchy, Network Settings, Image Management, Network Profiles
  • Provisioning – Device On-boarding, Device Inventory, Fabric Administration, Host On-boarding
  • Policy – Virtual Networks, Access Control, Application Priority, Application Registration
  • Assurance – Health Score, 360 view on client, device and application, click to resolve

Which mean you can achieve increased agility, improved security, lower costs, streamlined design, simplified provisioning, simple segmentation constructs, policy enforcement irrespective of location or place in the network, proactive issue identification and resolution through analytics and insights.

And if you have pre-existing DNA-ready hardware you can get started with SD Access to enable automation and start benefiting from savings in costs and time.

Want even more?

The recent announcement also included the Catalyst 9000 Series switches.  These have been built from the ground up with a software-defined approach to networking baked in.  They enable SD-Access innovations, including:

Giving you greater visibility, security, and scale.

Ready to get started?

We’ve designed this so you can transition over to SD Access at a pace to suit you. You’ll need DNA-ready infrastructure and the Cisco ONE Advanced licensing with DNA Advantage package.  And you should consider the Catalyst 9000 series switches to gain the maximum benefit. Not sure where to start, then our DNA Advisory Services can help you plan.

SD Access is the groundbreaking technology that will help you survive and thrive in this era of digital transformation. The Network. Intuitive.

For a technical introduction join one of our Cisco Tech sessions coming to a venue near you in October

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