The networking world is abuzz from, in awe of, and completely enamored by the launch of the Cisco Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms Family announced just last month. For those unaware, the Catalyst 8000 transforms the WAN edge by delivering the best of SD-WAN, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), and 5G-ready connectivity across all users, to any cloud, data center or edge location via software or hardware platforms. The true star of Cisco’s intent-based networking portfolio is the simple and compelling software.

Many have already written, blogged, press-released and otherwise promoted the emergence of Cisco’s formidable new WAN edge platform family; no point in me piling on. My blog will go in a different direction. This blog will cover the advantages and use-cases for the Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms software subscriptions.

Catalyst 8000 Comes Enabled with a Subscription

Cisco works with its customers every day to meet their everchanging needs; to get them ahead of the next normal; to enable their networks to support whatever new generation of technology is coming. As a result, the Intent Based Network (IBN) evolves as a complementary mix of infrastructure, software, and subscriptions. The Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms Family was designed with this symbiosis in mind; this is Cisco’s first Catalyst WAN edge platform to include a Cisco DNA Subscription! Cisco’s DNA software delivers a network that pivots easily to adopt new features and functionality; eliminate complex and cumbersome manual processes while driving innovations across security, analytics , and multicloud.

Simple Subscription Levels

The capabilities of Cisco Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms are delivered through a tiered subscription-based offer to fit any need: Cisco DNA Essentials, Cisco DNA Advantage, and Cisco DNA Premier. Via a Cisco DNA subscription, users have access to the latest innovations in network, cloud and security services.

Figure 1: Cisco DNA Software Subscriptions.

The first tier into Cisco DNA Software for SD-WAN and Routing is Cisco DNA Essentials.  It encompasses all that makes SD-WAN so beneficial: circuit load balancing, direct Internet access, centralized management & orchestration, and lower circuit costs. It enables a robust blend of the latest routing capabilities (NAT, BGP, DNS, etc.) and basic security capabilities (MACsec, ACLs, Snort IPS, Enterprise Firewall, etc.).

Moving up to Cisco DNA Advantage, subscribers receive everything in Cisco DNA Essentials plus more advanced routing capabilities (MPLS BGP Support, IGMPv3, etc.), more advanced security functionality (Advanced Malware Protection, SSL proxy, etc.), expanded SD-WAN capabilities (unlimited user VPNs), vAnalytics, plus access to Cisco’s Cloud OnRamp for SaaS, for IaaS, and for Colocation.

Subscribers to Cisco DNA Premier embark on the SASE journey with all the benefits of Cisco DNA Advantage plus Cisco Umbrella SIG Essentials. The integration of Cisco Umbrella SIG Essentials enables customers to centrally manage the security posture for all remote and branch locations and implement effective cloud security throughout the Cisco SD-WAN fabric. We’ll go into more detail in a minute!

Regardless of your Cisco DNA software tier, the SD-WAN deployment is managed through vManage (SD-WAN), a single, centralized management dashboard to monitor and manage the entire network, simplify the workflows for physical and virtual branch automation, and handle NFV provisioning and VNF orchestration.

So, what about SASE?

Naturally, the Catalyst 8000 products embrace the SASE architecture. It enables enterprises to have an elegant multi-cloud architecture – with complete networking and security capability. The Cisco SD-WAN solution is an enterprise-grade product; Cisco SASE won the CRN 2020 Tech Innovators Award for Networking and SD-WAN, Cisco SD-WAN is recognized by Gartner as a leader in the SD-WAN segment, trusted by thousands of companies, and field-proven by over 30,000 enterprises across the Meraki and Viptela products globally. And the Catalyst 8000 family is an extension of this pedigree.

Figure 2: Cisco SASE.

Perhaps the most exciting part about your Cisco DNA Premier subscription is that it delivers the complete SASE portfolio with a single license! The Cisco DNA Premier tier delivers robust SD-WAN plus  the Cisco SIG Essentials license! Cisco DNA Premier includes SASE features such as:

The Cisco DNA Premier subscription was conceptualized to provide customers with a fully integrated cloud security solution. With just a few clicks on the SD-WAN dashboard, security can be enabled across sites globally. And given the new mode of remote work environments, you can be assured that the security posture will apply both on and off the corporate network!

Bandwidth isn’t confusing anymore …

Cisco leads the industry through innovation and will now extend that innovation into license simplification. Imitating the bandwidth structure of SD-WAN and Routing enrollments in Enterprise Agreements (EA), and exclusively for the Catalyst 8000 family, all customers will now choose from just four bandwidth buckets.

This is awesome … what now?

Reach out to your friendly Cisco Sales Representative for further guidance, or visit these sites on Cisco.com for more information:

Cisco DNA Subscription Software for SD-WAN and Routing

Cisco Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms Family

Why Upgrade to Catalyst 8000?


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Brian Loftus

Product Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking & Mobility