So Cisco had some big announcements today. Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA). Ohhh, sounds fancy. Let me put on something a little more formal before I get too involved in the post.
So what are all these awesome acronyms, you may be wondering? Well basically we start with DNA, which is the overall ecosystem that Cisco’s branding. It encompasses their SDN/NFV-ish approach to the WAN and LAN. So first thing, they announced an upgrade to APIC-EM, Cisco’s network controller. Thank you! The previous version had a bunch of issues, mainly with scalability. It seems they’ve fixed that with this new release, and I’m looking forward to seeing what it can do. They’ve also introduced some add ons for APIC-EM, Easy QOS and Enterprise NFV. Easy QOS will be a pretty nice addition to things, adding dynamic QOS to the mix and use defined policies to reserve bandwidth.
Enterprise NFV is what I’m pretty excited about though. One touch deployment of service VMs at the branch office?!?! Sign me up! Wait no, don’t get too excited yet. Granted this should actually be something pretty easy to pull off, Cisco should have also been able to pull off Zero Touch Deployment with IWAN, because well Meraki. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. I’m gonna watch this one closely. Suffice it to say though; this could be a pretty big deal. If you’re already using or going to use IWAN, you’ll have an ISR 4000 on site already. Being able to consolidate those services down into one device will be awesome. Simplicity at the branch is a real goal we should all have as engineers. The less moving parts, the easier our job is. The fact that they want to enable this deployment technology on x86 devices as well though, that’s a big step for Cisco in my opinion. This NFV architecture announcement alone would have been worth having a party over. Cisco deserves a slow clap for this.
Then you have the security stuff, StealthWatch and ISE *yawn* not that big a deal, they’ve been doing that already.
Ok something a little more exciting, Connected Mobile Experience. This is something that was already going, but they are doing a cloud service based on it. This is actually pretty cool for businesses in the retail sector. You can connect your WLAN to the cloud service, and then it uses the location data to track the customers in store. Pop up notifications on their phone about sales; send coupons, that sort of Big Brother thing.
So what does it all mean? Well it means Cisco’s vested in getting this technology into wide spread adoption in the branch. There’s also some good by-products of this approach. Once you get this spread out to the branch, then we’ll start seeing this creep out to other areas. Just think, being able to quickly deploy these services and devices across the entire enterprise network, utilizing a central interface. The future is exciting indeed. Of course this will cause other vendors to speed up adoption and introduce their own offerings which, as history shows, will bring even more innovation to networking. It’s a vicious cycle, and I love it.