The story used to go something like this: DevOps would code a new purpose-built application in C++ or Java designed for scale across multiple servers. They would work closely with DBAs to optimize the backend SQL calls and ensure a client located in the same server room would have great response times. After it was all built, they would contact NetOps about a new application. NetOps would throw a bunch of Gig ports at the server farm, drop a DNS entry, verify they could ping the servers from anywhere in the network. SecOps would configure the firewall and drop the mic. All great right?… No.

Application vs. the network?

“Can you please fix your garbage application?!?”

“Can you please fix your broken network?!?”

… I was standing between warring factions on the floor of a fortune 50 company listening to an age-old fight. The Cisco Partner covering the account was rolling their eyes as we both knew the truth was somewhere in the middle. The Partner whispered to me, “I would love to provide a service that shows them where the problem really is, but there are no tools and they will not pay for months of discovery mapping.”

Intent based networking provides new tools to resolve the fight

Fast forward 10 years and everything is changing, creating new opportunities for the NetOps team to understand what is really going on, and the DevOps team to make the network do what they expected it to do. Cisco has been talking about Intent Based Networking or IBN for over two years focused on automation and assurance. IBN is more than this, it is really the way to resolve this age-old fight once and for good. This fundamental architectural change across our access, security, and data center portfolios provides new tools and capabilities that can be utilized by a customer or provided as a service by a partner.

  • AppDynamics now lets DevOps see if an application is actually behaving the way it was expected down to a library call.
  • Tetration shows how workloads are performing across all the VMs.
  • Assurance provides DVR like functionality to replay issues and see things like a WIFI authentication failing.

Now, when an end user says “My application isn’t working” these tools can pinpoint where and why instead of debating is it the application or the network. Take that a step further and the DevOps team can use the Open APIs with python scripts to modify the network, in real-time, to optimize their customer application’s performance, get location data on where people are using their application, and even tie in third parties like ServiceNow or Remedy ticketing to automate workflows.

A unique opportunity for Cisco partners

These new tools and architecture give Cisco Partners a unique opportunity that never existed before. Partners can create profitable services using these new tools to help their customers see and resolve issues 80x faster and keep their business running without fights. For Cisco Partners with DevOps practices, not only can they build the applications, they can optimize them on a Cisco Powered Network. Combining both NetOps and DevOps practices is significantly more profitable by utilizing these new tools and APIs from an IBN will result in happy customers, happy end users, and a great bottom line. Now, with the benefits of IBN architectures, I could have saved the day, helped my customer and the partner. What a difference, 10 years later we are resolving an age-old fight.

You can learn more about the tools and APIs for Intent Based Networking, and how you can use them to create connections never before possible; integrate devices from any provider; and transform slow, manual processes into fast, automated workflows.

You can also visit DevNet’s Networking Dev Center to explore tools that help network engineers and application developers alike to build great customer solutions.


We’d love to hear what you think. Ask a question or leave a comment below.
And stay connected with Cisco DevNet on social!

Twitter @CiscoDevNet | Facebook | LinkedIn

Visit the new Developer Video Channel


Bill Hentschell

Global Director of Intent Based Networking

Global Partner Organization