The network was neglected for far too long. It stepped back to the hype of cloud and other new tech which, ironically, relies on it to function.
Sadly, it didn’t seem like hip or cool enough, so it didn’t enjoy much of a special attention. And it needs it. A lot of it. The network infrastructure is aging and the new tech and rising demands are putting a big strain on it. Some experts did also raise the topic often and said things will change.
So, Cisco wants to change that right now. It unveiled what it calls the “network of the future”. The official name is Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA). The key possibilities? It can learn, adapt and evolve. It’s an intuitive system which can anticipate actions, stop security threats and use its experience to evolve. All of this will allow businesses to solve many network challenges which they can’t at the moment.
“The network has never been more critical to business success, but it’s also never been under more pressure,” said Chuck Robbins, chief executive officer for Cisco. “By building a more intuitive network, we are creating an intelligent platform with unmatched security for today and for the future that propels businesses forward and creates new opportunities for people and organizations everywhere.”
Admins need help
And if the network can pretty much maintain itself for the most part, will it need admins? Is the era of network administrators coming to an end? Not by a long shot. In fact, network admins will be needed in huge numbers.
You see, currently network engineers have to manage hundreds of devices in their network. That’s a big task, but it’s nothing compared to the future Cisco envisions. Thanks to IoT and other advancements, Cisco expects that network admins will have to manage around a million devices in their networks. And that’s not going to happen in 10 years time. Or 5 years. Cisco expects it to be a reality by 2020.
As you can imagine, this is a near-impossible task. Current IT processes are not sustainable, Cisco says. Automation is key, but it has to be done the right way. “Cisco’s Encrypted Traffic Analytics solves a network security challenge previously thought to be unsolvable,” said David Goeckeler, senior vice president and general manager of networking and security. “ETA uses Cisco’s Talos cyber intelligence to detect known attack signatures even in encrypted traffic, helping to ensure security while maintaining privacy.”
The new network is already here
75 leading global enterprises and organizations are already conducting early field trials with these next-generation networking solutions. Some of them are DB Systel GmbH, Jade University of Applied Sciences, NASA, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Scentsy, UZ Leuven and Wipro, the company notes.
Cisco already also accepts orders for the Catalyst 9300 and 9500 Series. It expects the full DNA portfolio to be out by November 2017. The DNA portfolio also features several services, new switches, software, analytics, DNA services and more.
The DNA platform is software-driven, not hardware. This means it’s easier to adapt to changes and implement new solutions. It uses machine learning to evolve. Cisco calls it “a fully integrated intent-based networking system”. As DNA evolves further and the network becomes more open and programmable, application developers will be able to unlock new capabilities through API integration with the DNA hardware infrastructure, Cisco adds.
“For customers, the network is more relevant now than ever before. With this fully integrated single system, customers can trust that the right best practices are in place. This is a new beginning. From here, we can do just a lot of insanely cool and incredible stuff”, says Scott Harrell, Senior Vice President of Product Management for Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Group.