Cisco Network Assurance Engine (NAE), a key pillar in Cisco’s Intent based networking, is built on a strong foundation of open APIs that has enabled a broad ecosystem of partner-integrated solutions for automated, closed-loop incident resolution use cases, across scores of potential network issues. One such marquee solutions features Cisco NAE with ITSM leader ServiceNow that boasts hundredsof customer deployments across the globe. Cisco IT on its own is a stellar example of such deployments. A result of this implementation and deployment is a case study detailing highlights of Cisco IT’s success story. Cisco IT delivers applications and services that support 75,000 employees as well as partners and customers around the world. Its data center environment includes 10 production fabrics of Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), 10 instances of Cisco NAE, and more than 70 network appliances, 35,000 endpoints, and 900 applications.

In this blog, we are pleased to present highlights of the case study, specifically delving into how Cisco IT benefited from this solution by identifying and resolving network problems before they turn into costly outages. The blog also gives insights on how Cisco IT additionally accelerated incident response times while freeing up precious network engineering resources.

Challenges Cisco IT encountered

Monitoring Cisco IT’s expansive data center environment and making sure it continues to operate as intended is a significant challenge. Multiple network fabrics, 1000’s of smart events emanating from these fabrics, analyzing, and prioritizing and disseminating the events to individual teams are among the foremost challenges, as summarized in the figure below.

Challenges: Analyze events across 10 network fabris; align network events with incident management workflows; improve efficiency and responsiveness of IT Ops

What solutions were used to address the challenges

By integrating Cisco NAE with ServiceNow ITSM, Cisco IT was able to automate the smart events review, analysis, and prioritization process. This creates a closed-loop incident management solution. Using the Cisco NAE App for ServiceNow—which is free to download from the ServiceNow Store—the integrated solution automates the analysis, prioritization, and ticket assignment of smart events across multiple fabrics and scores of potential network issues. The App deduplicates and scours through all the events captured by Cisco NAE, identifying the most critical issues based on predetermined mnemonics or signatures.

ServiceNow ITSM then creates a ticket for each critical issue, categorizes the tickets based on urgency and priority, and assigns the tickets to the users or groups responsible for remediation.

Key Deployment Components & Architecture

The integrated solution and its components are easy to deploy, all the data is aligned, and Cisco IT can view everything from a single pane of glass, whether it’s the Cisco NAE dashboard or the ServiceNow dashboard.

Key outcomes achieved

The solution finds and puts a spotlight on the events that can have an impact on performance and availability. As a result, Cisco IT operations are faster, more efficient, and increasingly proactive. The solution has also accelerated response times and freed up network engineering resources.

Results: Automated event Analyses to prioritize critical issues; Established closed-loop incident management solution; laid foundation for self-training network


Where does Cisco IT see this going forward?  In addition to network monitoring and intent assurance, Cisco IT is using the integrated solution to improve the health and hygiene of its network fabrics such as identifying and fixing latent configurations. The outcome is fewer events over time as a result. Cisco IT is also developing additional scripts for the closed-loop resolution framework, laying the foundation for a true self-healing network. Now that they’ve automated the ticketing process, the next step is to automate incident resolution. The integrated solution has been successful, easy to deploy, great data alignment, and IT operations can see everything from a single pane of glass, whether it’s the Cisco NAE dashboard or the ServiceNow dashboard.


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Ravi Balakrishnan

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Datacenter Solutions