Cisco Reveals Its New Intent-Based Networking Strategy

Forget about the Self-Defending Network or Application Centric Infrastructure; Cisco is now positioning networking to be more intuitive and intent-based.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jun 20, 2017
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Cisco has invented and reinvented its networking strategy many times over its three decades of existence. The latest evolution of Cisco's enterprise networking strategy is called Intent-Based Networking and aims to provide a more intuitive and pro-active approach to networking.

Cisco's past executive leadership has long argued that the company's networking capabilities is about transforming so-called 'dumb pipes' into sources of business value and intelligence. The new intent-based networking strategy makes use of both existing and new technologies and services from Cisco Catalyst 9000Cisco.

At the core of the model is Cisco's DNA (Digital Network Architecture) Center. Cisco has been talking about the DNA approach since at least March 2016, though the initial DNA rollout was tied to Cisco's earlier Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) efforts.

The DNA Center is a dashboard for Cisco DNA services and is now being positioned by Cisco as an 'intent-based' model for enabling network administrators to understand and manage their networks.

Cisco also announced a new Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) approach that aims to help automated network segmentation and policy enforcement. The SD-Access will complement and integrate with other Cisco policy technologies. Cisco has had its Identity Services Engine (ISE) in market since 2011 as a way to help organizations manage and deploy identity. ISE originally debuted as part of an earlier Cisco strategy called SecureX that aimed to provide context-aware security.

Catalyst 9000

While much of the intent-based networking approach involves software and services, Cisco at its core is still a networking hardware vendor. For intent-based networking Cisco is introducing the new Catalyst 9000 switching portfolio.

On the LAN access side, Cisco is debuting the Catalyst 9300 and 9400 switches. The Catalyst 9300 series has a staggering 18 different model configuration to choose from including multigigabit 24-port, 1G 48-port and 1G 24-port configurations.

The Catalyst 9400 has two models, the 9410R and the 9407R. The Catalyst 9410R is a 384-port monster with support for up to 480 Gbps per slot. The Catalyst 9407R is a 240 port switch and both models are able to support the intent-based approach that Cisco is now moving toward.

That Catalyst 9500 is a new LAN core switch, designed for the enterprise campus. There are four models (9500-24Q-Q7, 9500-24Q-A, 9500-24Q-A3 and 9500-24Q-E) each with different support subscription levels. The Catalyst 9500 can provide up to 960-Gbps switching capacity (IPv4) with up to 1440 Mpps of throughput.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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