In order to react faster in a world of accelerating change, the winners of the digital economy must evolve their enterprise networks. And nowhere is this need to change more apparent than at the network edge.

The edge is where you deliver transformative applications and services to your users. It’s where the Internet of Things (IoT) will add both mind-boggling complexity and unprecedented insights. The network edge is your most vulnerable entry point, as well as your first line of defense against unintended or malicious threats.

Intelligence, agility, and security at the edge are at the heart of digital transformation. But, according to a 2016 study on digital transformation readiness, IT leaders have their concerns:

  • 95% of network changes are still being done manually
  • 70% of policy violations are caused by good old-fashioned human error
  • 75% of total operating expenses are sucked up by monitoring and troubleshooting

Service automation and Quality of Service (QoS) in the branch has never been easy. But I’m here to tell you: simple is possible. And we explore, in detail, exactly how both can be done in this episode of TechWiseTV:


Deploying network infrastructure is complicated, with many time-consuming, routine tasks that are frustratingly dissimilar enough to make nailing down a standard template all but impossible.

As for QoS, core is not the same as access. Who has time to understand the capabilities of all the different devices that access the network, and the different policies they require?  There are a ton of moving parts: ingress vs. egress, multiple service provider policies at the various remote locations…It’s easy to lose control.

In this episode, Cisco’s Prakash Rajamani demonstrates how orchestration tools like Enterprise Service Automation (ESA) can bring repeatable, consistent, and scalable processes to your virtualized branch deployment.  Later, Ramit Kanda shows a dramatically simple way that ESA can be used to control QoS on your network: from wired to wireless, and through the WAN.

As you’ll see, complexity will never be an excuse again.

What is ESA, you ask?

If you’ve never heard of Cisco ESA, here’s a little background before you jump in:

Software Defined Networking has been the broad and ill-defined term offered as the magic pill for all the challenges described above. If you’ve been following our show, you know that Cisco has been making consistent strides toward this reality for several years.

Last year, we introduced you to the Cisco Digital Network Architecture.  We even covered some of the more specific technologies in a two-part series in March. If you haven’t seen these episodes, I encourage you to check them out. In the meantime, here’s a quick introduction to help you see where the demos we cover in this episode fit into the big picture:

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is a powerful new tool for simplifying network deployments and operations–especially in the branch. Virtualizing traditional appliance-based functions, such as routing, firewalls, and WAN acceleration, enables you to quickly roll out new services and change existing ones in minutes.  You don’t need to deploy new hardware for every function, and centralized provisioning and management eliminates costly truck rolls.

NFV is a foundational step for Cisco DNA, and is inherent with IOS XE.  For Cisco, that centralized provisioning and management tool (otherwise known as an SDN controller) is the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller Enterprise Module (APIC-EM). The actual interface or orchestration software you would use to make all of this happen is something we call Enterprise Service Automation… or ESA.

Now that you’re caught up, enjoy the complete episode.





P.S. Speaking of QoS, did you hear that Cisco Wireless customers using Meraki can now do granular QoS from an iOS 10 device to the AP, and all the way through the network? To learn more, check out Fast-Tracking the Mobile Enterprise on TechWiseTV.


Robb Boyd

Producer, Writer, Host