One of the most fascinating trends I saw at Cisco Live in Orlando was how abstraction and automation of the network can lead to seamless integration with other technologies in order to achieve significant operational workflows. For example, the use of collaboration tools to perform network management tasks using mobile devices, or how to integrate the management of IoT and conventional IP network domains. These integrations could have a very powerful impact on OpEx savings and time to response at a business operations level.
When looking at this trend, two things come to mind. First, the ability to integrate these technologies physically and how they communicate with each other, and secondly, and perhaps the bigger challenge, is how to coordinate policies that perform cross technology tasks.
The open platform nature of DNA Center has demonstrated that a single portal can manage disparate domains. However, applications and services are left to manage their policy coordination aspects. To this extent, Italtel has developed a policy management platform branded Netwrapper, which operates on top of DNA Center platform that enables such cross technology policy management.
Let’s take an example of how powerful the combination of DNA Center and Netwrapper can be.
Insecurity beyond the corporate office
You have invested a lot in securing your manufacturing facility. You have installed automatic locks, issued every employee an RFID badge, and outfitted your floor with various sensors. You might now feel that your factory floor is as secure as the data in your corporate office. You might be wrong. You may have state of the art security equipment, but are you leveraging data from the network that connects them together? Are your security personnel alerted to breaches in real-time and are they able to observe and take corrective actions quickly and prevent the breach from spreading?
Smart devices deserve a smart network
The Netwrapper application makes use of network data coming from DNA Center to address just those shortcomings in the modern physical security infrastructure.
Netwrapper utilizes DNA Center’s notification mechanism to receive events from smart devices and sensors connected to the extended enterprise network. It also uses DNA Center’s Intent, or northbound, APIs that provide a programmatic interface to access automation and assurance capabilities of DNA Center. Using these APIs, applications can create workflows combining several repetitive tasks so that engineers can focus on creating solutions instead.
In their demonstration, using a simulated factory built of Lego bricks, outfitted with sensors, Italtel showed how authorized personnel could get around unhindered. However, when the sensors detected an unauthorized person or DNA Center found a malfunctioning or disconnected security device, Netwrapper would, shut off the machinery, and initiate a video session for management using WebEx Teams who could view the intrusion and take corrective action. Watch Italtel’s Tullia Zanni and Andrea Stella demonstrate the solution.
“Cisco is enabling partners to get more value from their own capabilities, said Camillo Ascione, Head of Strategic Alliances at Italtel, “Cisco platforms provide the right foundation to create rich and powerful use cases that can address different needs in different vertical markets. After use cases on Collaboration, we are defining specific solutions and architectures spanning from manufacturing to healthcare, all built on the same foundation: the Intent-Based Network.”
Netwrapper exemplifies just the sort of innovative applications that DNA Center open APIs bring to reality for solutions development. Italtel has seamlessly harnessed several Cisco technologies to create a unique policy management value proposition that, when viewed as an OEM technology to build solutions around, can find applicability for many different solutions.
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