One month after the Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) announcement, I’m reflecting on how different audiences responded to Cisco’s networking vision to make a monumental shift to an open, extensible and software-drive platform. Knowing the many man-years and woman-years of engineering innovation it took to bring this architecture to life, it is very exciting to see such a positive response from the press. And, even more satisfying was to hear analyst firms like IDC validate that “Cisco DNA is a Game Changer” – which just happened to be our internal launchidc name. Glad we all see eye-to-eye on that.

The industry has been talking about software-defined networking or SDN for years, and networking professionals have been eager to move to a truly open architecture that gives them flexibility and choice. With Cisco DNA, we have delivered just that. We are allowing Cisco and third party applications and services to run across DNA and paving the way to run any capability anywhere.

Here are a few notable mentions from our analyst community recognizing Cisco leadership during this major networking transformation to open, programmable and virtualized networking environments.

  • IDC: “For Cisco, DNA establishes leadership in the enterprise (campus) SDN and NFV space… This provides an opportunity for Cisco to leverage its proven enterprise networking technologies in the context of an automated, programmable infrastructure that is now relatively open as well.”
  • Gartner: “Cisco is the first big networking company to come out and say publically, ‘Hey, NFV is for the enterprise too’,” Andrew Lerner, Research Director, Gartner quoted in Network Computing
  • ZK Research: “Cisco DNA gives Cisco and its partners the ability to talk to these executives about an immediate pain point: going digital as fast as possible.”
  • ESG: “If Cisco can deliver by providing a variety of capabilities in an integrated manner, they will be able to change the way these new systems are evaluated. I don’t think it will be an overnight change, but this is a great start in this journey.” *

DNA is a Game Changer for Networking Professionals, too

One area that hasn’t been as heavily discussed is how DNA is not only a game changer for businesses, but it is also a game changer for networking professionals. Recently, many have been quoting David Bowie on his view on the future of the Internet in 2000, when he said, “We’re on the cusp of something terrifying and exhilarating.”

I imagine that for many networking professionals, this next era of networking feels the same way. Change is always a bit unnerving. And there is no doubt that with change comes both opportunity and risk. However, this new architecture helps IT deliver more of what the organization needs – a fast, agile infrastructure that can enable and drive new digital initiatives. And that must be good for networking professionals – short term and long term. With DNA, we can help take IT talent to a new level, and help networking professionals become better strategic business partners in their respective organizations. However, before being able to do all that, we must do two things:

  1. Free up time and resources by automating daily networking tasks, thus making breathing room for nurturing new skills
  2. Build some key programming skills that allow IT professionals to tap into network intelligence and enable powerful new network-enabled applications through open APIs

Cisco has two teams laser focused on this transition to software defined networking for our IT professions: Learning at Cisco and DevNet. Learning at Cisco helps our certified professionals stay current on bleeding-edge networking technologies, while DevNet is helping networking professionals, ISVs and developers build their programming skills and learn how to tap into the open APIs.

With DNA, networking professions have an opportunity to change their industries in ways we don’t know yet. Through automation of day-to-day tasks, IT can finally focus on innovation. Some of networking professionals will revolutionize the shopping experience and truly delight the right customer at the right time. Others will find new ways to capture vital health statics that can save lives. And some others will simplify everyday life in big cities, making it easier to do basic tasks like parking or acquire public services. The possibilities are endless.

LACCOMMUNITYMany of today’s networking professions have mastered how to connect everything. Now it’s time to put your networking career on turbo-drive, and explore the intelligence you can pull from the network and transform your own organization.

Here are three ways to get started today on your career transformation today!


* EMA Impact Brief: Cisco Digital Network Architecture: A Blueprint for Digital Transformation, March 2016


Raakhee Mistry

Senior Director

EN & Cloud Marketing