When something in your house breaks, it’s your problem. When something in your network breaks, it’s everyone’s problem. At least, that’s how it can feel when the sudden influx of support tickets, angry phone calls, and so on start rolling in. They quickly remind you that those numbers behind the traffic visualizations are more than numbers alone. They represent individuals. That includes individuals who don’t notice how the infrastructure supports them until suddenly… it’s not.

The adage that “time is money” applies here, and maybe better than anywhere else. Because when users on the network cannot do what they came to do, the value of their halted actions can add up quickly. That means reaction can’t be the first strategy for preserving a network. Instead, proactive measures that prevent problems (ha, alliteration) become first-order priorities.

That’s where Cisco DNA Center and Assurance comes in, and along with it, Leveraging Cisco Intent-Based Networking DNA Assurance (DNAAS) v2.0, the DNAAS course.

Let’s Start with Intent

This will come as no surprise to anyone, but networks are built for a purpose. From a top-down perspective, the network provides the infrastructure necessary to support business intent. Cisco DNA Center allows network admins and operators to make sure that the business intent is translated into network design and functionality. This ensures that the network is actually accomplishing what is needed. Cisco DNA Center has a load of tools, configs, and templates to make the network functional.

What is Cisco DNA Assurance?

Cisco DNA Assurance is the tool that keeps the network live. With it, we can use analytics, machine learning, and AI to understand the health of the intent-based network. DNA Assurance can identify problems before they manifest into critical issues. DNA Assurance allows us to gauge the overall health of the network across clients, devices, and applications and establish an idea of overall health. From there, we can troubleshoot and identify consistent issues compared to the baseline health of the network — before those issues have a significant impact. We don’t have to wait for an outage to act. (Or react.)

We’re no longer stuck in this red-light or green-light situation, where the network is either working or it’s not. When the light goes from green to yellow, we can start saying, “Hey, why is that happening? Let’s get to the root cause and fix it.”

Obviously, this was all-important before the big shift to hybrid work environments, but it’s even more critical now. When you have a problem, you can’t just walk down the hall to the IT guy, you’re sort of stranded on an island, hoping someone else can figure out what’s wrong. And on the other hand, when you’re the person tasked with fixing those problems, you want to know what’s going on as quickly as possible.

One customer I worked with installed Cisco DNA Assurance to ‘prove the innocence of the network.’ He felt that being able to quickly identify the network problem, especially if it was not necessarily a network issue, helped to get fixes done more quickly and efficiently. DNA Assurance helped to rule out the network or ‘prove it was innocent’ and allow him to narrow his troubleshooting focus.

Another benefit of DNA Assurance is that it’s built on Cisco’s expertise. 30+ years of experience with troubleshooting networks and devices have gone into developing Assurance. Its technology doesn’t just give you an overview of the network, it lets you know where things are going wrong and helps you discover solutions.

About the DNAAS course

Leveraging Cisco Intent-Based Networking DNA Assurance (DNAAS) v2.0 is the technology training course we developed to teach users about Cisco DNA Assurance. The course is designed to give a clear understanding of what DNA Assurance can do and to build a deep knowledge of the capabilities of the technology. It’s meant to give new users a firm handle on the technology while increasing the expertise of existing users and empowering them to further optimize their implementation of DNA Assurance.

One of the things we wanted to do was highlight some of the areas that users may not have touched on before. We give them a chance to experience those things and potentially roll them into tangible solutions on their own network. It’s all meant to be immediately actionable. Users can take this course and instantly turn back around and do something with the knowledge.

Labs are one of the ways that we’ve focused on bringing more of the experience to users who are taking the course. New users are going to interact with a real DNA Center instance, and experienced users are going to have the chance to see new configurations. We build out the fundamental skills necessary to use DNA Assurance, rather than focusing on strict use cases.

We treated it like learning to drive a car. We could teach you all the specifics about one highly specialized vehicle, or we could give you the foundational skills necessary to drive anything and allow you to work towards your specific needs.

Overall, students are going to expand their practical knowledge of DNA Assurance and gain actionable skills they can immediately use. DNAAS is an excellent entry into the technology for new users and an equally excellent learning opportunity for experienced users. It helps build important skills that help users to get the most out of the technology and keep their networks running smoothly.

Learn more about Leveraging Cisco Intent-Based Networking DNA Assurance (DNAAS) v2.0 course. You can also view and purchase the DNAAS v2.0 course on the Cisco Learning Network Store.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment with any questions or feedback you have.

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Andrew Richter

Technical Education Developer

Learning & Certifications