In every generation there is a groundbreaking technology that completely changes the way that we view our world. In the IT industry this happened in the past with the introduction of IP-based networks in the early 90s and then again with VMs for virtualization in the early 2000s. I am very excited to be a part of the team that is defining a new era of networking for the next 20 years with the launch of Cisco Software-Defined Access and the new Catalyst 9K family.
Cisco SD-Access represents a fundamental change in the way that we design, provision, and troubleshoot Enterprise Networks and how we make the network “intuitive”.
So what is SD-Access and why will it change everything in Enterprise networking?
For the past 25 years, enterprise networks have been built on the concept of VLANs, IP subnets and ACLs. In the new age of digitization, with the exponential growth of network use, this architecture will no longer be able to scale.
VLANs and IP Subnets aren’t designed for a mobile and wireless world with a growing number of users accessing resources anywhere from any device at any time.
VLANs did not imagine a world with millions of IOT devices of varying levels of sophistication running on a converged infrastructure managed by IT.
ACLs were not built for a world where security is top-of-mind and the threat of malware and hacking are constant.
These new digital network requirements need a fundamentally different approach. Cisco SD-Access is the answer.
Cisco SD-Access is an intent-based networking solution that translates business intent into networking configurations. The following are the key capabilities of this solution.
Policy-Based Validation: SD-Access builds a standards-based network fabric that converts a high-level business policy into network configuration. One of the key use-cases for this is segmentation of users, devices and things with identity-based policy regardless of location. Gone are the days of dependency on VLANs and IP subnets!
Intuitive Automation: SD-Access uses the new DNA-Center built on top of our award winning SDN controller APIC-EM for end-to-end automation. An comparable analogy for this would be the transition to a GUI interface that Windows 3.0 drove in the early 90’s from the previous CLI-only MS-DOS interface. It ushered in an entirely new era for home computing and the same is now true for Enterprise networks. Welcome to a world of software-defined segmentation with policy controls at your fingertips!
Contextual Analytics and Dynamic Remediation: Combined with our new Network Data Platform (NDP), SD-Access validates the original business intent is satisfied and takes corrective actions when a conflict arises. This means network engineers can spend more time designing better networks instead of spending a majority of their time in fighting network-related fires!
Additionally, SD-Access capabilities are available through programmable APIs at both a controller layer as well as standard-based models on the infrastructure itself offering unprecedented flexibility and customer control.
The Business Benefits
The biggest benefit of SD-Access is the ability to deliver business policy from network edge to cloud and improve network flexibility. But that’s not all SD-Access offers:
Reduce Operating Expenditure: SD-Access Automation and workflows minimize the time and expense on operational tasks and allows network engineers and architects to focus on strategic initiatives. Companies like Royal Caribbean have embraced the segmentation and automation capabilities of Cisco SD-Access to provide secure access and remotely provision cruise-ships worldwide to reduce cost.
Improve Compliance: Automatic validation of business intent simplifies auditing and compliance regulations by ensuring that intent translates to operations. Wipro, a worldwide leader in IT consulting is looking at Cisco SD-Access to quickly deploy services to IT locations worldwide and provide clear segmentation for their clients across the globe ensuring compliance.
Optimize User Experience: A SD-Access network optimizes the network to get the most out of the infrastructure which in turn provides and overall better user experience. Deutsche Bahn looks to SD-Access to consolidate their locations across the country with consistent policy and provide their users with the best experience possible.
Cisco has also ensured unprecedented investment protection for our customers by supporting this solution on not only our cutting-edge Catalyst 9000 product family of Switches but also our existing portfolio of Enterprise Networking products. Check the list of supported products on the Cisco SD-Access page.
The Bottom Line
The new era of digitization requires a fresh approach to meet the network requirements for the next 20 years. Cisco SD-Access gives customers the power to redefine networking and brings real business benefits.
For more information, www.cisco.com/go/sdaccess
Want to learn more? Join my colleague, Sehjung Hah, on July 18, 2017 from 8:00-9:30am PT in the Cisco Customer Connection program. He'll be delivering a technical, deep-dive briefing on SD-Access. Register for the Customer Connection program and then sign up for the session. www.cisco.com/go/ccp We look forward to seeing you there!