Cisco creates self-learning network

SAN FRANCISCO — Cisco Systems latest network will be able to recognize intent. For example, it will be able to automate incoming actions such as adding more capacity and track and eliminate security threats in minutes rather than months.

The new intent-based network is built on three product sets: a new DNA Center, a new Catalyst 9000 Series, and the Encrypt Traffic Tool.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said customers need a reason to refresh, go to a subscription model, and embrace security.

“This is a major day for Cisco as we’ll answer all those questions. The network has been the foundation for business and society for the past 10 years. We plan to do the same for the next 30 years,” he said.

Robbins added that this three-pronged release from Cisco will essentially put users in the 4th era of computing, which he called the “Intelligence Era”. It’s based on exponential expansiveness and it will be able to connect to everything. The value will then be in the insights customers can gain from the data created by these connections through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“Guess what? The network sees all the data and that’s the common denominating theme throughout,” he said.

Kevin Tompkins, a network analyst for Scentsy, a direct selling candle company from Boise, Idaho, called the new Cisco network a game changer. They have a network of 125,000 independent consultants that resell their candles and stays in touch with them through an e-commerce network. Tompkins works to secure each of the consultant’s personal data and financial data. He has been looking to implement secure network segmentation for years and thought it was impossible to maintain because of the thousands of independent devices he would have to manage. With Cisco’s new intent-based network he can now introduce a new policy for single source and have it pervade throughout the network creating secure network segmentation.

“This creates containers around critical users and reduce access to the movement of the users. Layered on top of that is analytics and it can see malicious tactics faster, which will reduce the cause of breaches to within minutes instead of months,” Tompkins said.

And analytics is a big part of this announcement by Cisco. Senior vice president of networking and security, David Goeckeler, said the Encrypted Traffic Analytics tool will be a system driven by automation. It starts with the infrastructure itself and worked to build an IP network that is programmable, integrated and secure.

“We’ve built an OS for the digital age that is feature rich, open, programmable, and modular that can drive intent-based networking for the next 30 years,” he said.

An example of this is a CFO who uses a device to access all the company’s financial data. But when that CFO is travelling and decides to use a partner’s device, this will automatically change the access privileges to provide lesser access for security purposes, Goeckeler added.

Also, part of the intent-based network is a new command center technology for DNA Center that will be informed on-the-fly by consent. The new Catalyst 9000 Series is Cisco’s next-generation switch, built from the ground up, for cloud, mobility, Internet of Things, and intent-based networking.

The Catalyst 9300 & 9500 Series can be ordered today, the Catalyst 9400 Series is out next month, while the DNA Center with SD Access will be available in August. In the September time frame, look for the release of Encrypted Traffic Analytics, and finally in November the new Network Data Platform.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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