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Reduce Complexity and Increase Network Automation with Cisco DNA

Emerging technologies are enabling businesses to fundamentally change how they operate and deliver value, but they are also making network management vastly more complex. Increased automation is essential for improving performance, reducing human error and reducing costs.

Things are simply moving too fast for conventional network infrastructures that rely upon an assortment of independent hardware and software solutions that must be integrated, configured and maintained with an array of manual processes. Up to 95 percent of network changes must be performed manually, which means operational costs far outstrip the cost of the network.

Cisco is addressing these challenges with its Digital Network Architecture (Cisco DNA), a software-driven platform that helps create a highly intuitive and automated network. This allows network administrators to use software to execute policy and configuration changes they want to be made throughout the network. Many other operational tasks are streamlined through drag-and-drop provisioning, proactive troubleshooting, immediate remediation guidance and fast network segmentation.


Powered by SD-Access

The architecture is largely driven by Cisco’s Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) feature, which provides policy-based automation from the edge to the cloud through a virtual overlay network. The overlay serves as a software abstraction layer for deploying services and setting policies. The software uses APIs to configure the necessary hardware to enforce requested policies.

By automating day-to-day tasks such as configuration, provisioning and troubleshooting, SD-Access reduces the time it takes to adapt the network, improves issue resolution and reduces the impact of security breaches. This results in significant simpler operations and lower costs.

Automatic device discovery is another key feature of SD-Access. Industry analysts say many businesses will have thousands of personal devices connecting to their network each day, but they usually can’t identify these devices and therefore cannot control or manage them.

Cisco DNA automatically discovers these devices using machine learning and intelligent analytics to pull telemetry data from everywhere in the network. Cisco’s Network Data Platform (NDP) analytics engine captures traditional network information as well as operational data about communication protocols and interfaces to create a device profile. Cisco’s Identity Service Engine (ISE) uses these profiles to instantly identify devices as they connect to the network.


Centralized Management

Cisco’s DNA Center appliance is the piece that ties everything together and dramatically reduces complexity. It presents network administrators with all the functionality of SD-Access, NDP and ISE through a single interface, creating a centralized management dashboard for complete control of the network. It provides full automation for all network provisioning, configuration and change management across both wired and wireless networks. Any problems with network, application or device performance are immediately flagged, and instant remediation guidance saves hours of IT troubleshooting.

DNA Center’s Service Assurance Module proactively optimizes the network through the continual analysis of data from network sensors. It identifies performance issues from an end-user perspective, and rapidly offers remediation options based on 30 years of Cisco domain expertise. It typically can identify issues with network devices in a matter of seconds compared to the hours involved for manual troubleshooting processes.

Cisco DNA also provides Investment protection. Most Cisco routers, switches and wireless systems either support Cisco DNA today or need only a software update. All Cisco DNA solutions can be consumed through one of Cisco’s software subscription tiers across switching, routing and wireless.

It also reduces operating expenses by slashing the time and effort required for many day-to-day tasks. Field trials and internal testing show network provisioning time is reduced by 67 percent, issue resolution is improved by 80 percent and security breach impact is reduced by 48 percent. Network administrators can consistently and quickly apply policy updates in a few minutes instead of hours or weeks.

Modern connectivity demands are stressing legacy networks and their administrators to the limits. Conventional manual processes required for day-to-day tasks such as configuration, provisioning and troubleshooting can’t meet the pace of technology change. By infusing networks with increased automation and optimization, Cisco DNA can help IT focus on supporting new business initiatives, improving collaboration and innovation, and reducing costs.

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