Cisco Systems presented at Networking Field Day 17. Three broad themes emerged from the presentations: intent, automation, and telemetry.
The session began with a presentation on Cisco’s goals for the user experience and design of the company’s forthcoming intent-based products. While the discussion didn’t have much technical detail, it did demonstrated how the design of a UI needs to align with the goals of an intent-based system, including how intent is expressed, how it’s simulated and executed, and how the results are reported back to the user.
This session also generated some bracing conversation about the notion of “gamification” in a UI.
Cisco walked delegates through two demonstrations of security automation. The first was on using SD-Access to minimize the work of firewall management by pushing centralized configurations from DNA Center.
The second demonstration showed how to use Cisco ISE and TrustSec to automatically enforce security and policy controls on client devices.
Cisco also provided a deep dive into how it’s leveraging Linux, open source tools, and DevOps principles to make its IOS-XR routing platform better suited to Web-scale environments.
One way it’s doing this is by allowing third-party apps to run directly on the router. It’s also exposing APIs to make the platform more programmable, and enabling the use of tools such as Ansible, Puppet, and Chef.
Sticking with IOS-XR, Cisco provided a detailed demonstration of the telemetry data that can be pulled from the platform. Telemetry is key to improve visibility for operations and performance. Telemetry will also be a critical component of an intent-based system for modeling network state in real time and verifying the result of changes.
Field Area Networking
One presentation that didn’t fit neatly into the themes described above, but did have a high cool factor, was on Field Area Networking; that is, wireless mesh networks of industrial sensors and devices. Cisco is building wireless gear directly into industrial sensors for industries such as public utilities, shipping, and mining.