When you visit Luxembourg, technology would probably be the farthest from your mind as you immerse yourself in centuries of art, history and royalty of The Grand Ducal Palace or Bock Casemates. There is so much to see in the old city with its fortified walls (which has been added to UNESCO World Heritage list), the Neumünster Abbey or the Grund Quarter, it seems like you are in a different age altogether.
Given that backdrop you may not realize it, but the city has always been at the forefront of contemporary technology. From forts to roadways, city planners have been quietly transforming the city through the ages and now they are busy digitally transforming it using the most modern technology available. Making this possible is the city’s IT department that is laying the networking foundation that will keep the city at the vanguard of technology.
Ville de Luxembourg
Industry: Public Sector
|· Large installed legacy infrastructure |
· Broad diversity of connectivity requirements
· Too much time spent in day-to-day maintenance activities
|· Cisco DNA, SD-Access, and Assurance solutions |
· Cisco DNA Center, Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)
· Catalyst 9000 series of switches, access points, and wireless controllers
|· Uniform network with consistent policies allows teams to collaborate better|
· New network devices deployed up to 10x faster
· New offices migrated to SD-Access fabric in hours
One network for all city services
Luxembourg’s IT department serves all of the city’s facilities – as diverse as schools, public transportation, sports stadiums, and water works – 200 sites in all – and all with a patchwork of network architectures and dedicated teams to run them. City IT leaders soon realized that if they wanted their new network to be agile, flexible, automated, and secure, they needed to bring uniformity in policy and design to streamline operations.
On learning that the city had implemented Cisco Digital Network Architecture (Cisco DNA) to transform their infrastructure, I met with Frank Weiler, Head of the Networking Department for the city, and Raphael Lienard, Senior Network Engineer, to learn more about their experiences with Cisco DNA.
“Due to the rapid digitization efforts of city departments, we are called upon to solve a diverse set of connectivity problems and are challenged to provide our services faster. With Cisco SD-Access, we can automate and apply segmentation and security policies to our network devices up to 10 times faster than before. Cisco DNA is the right platform for our city to remain on the forefront of technology for years to come”.Frank Weiler, Head of Networking Department, City of Luxembourg
Single source for policy truth
According to Frank, one of the major benefits they have experienced with Cisco DNA was how it is bringing consistency in network design. The city’s network operators use Cisco SD-Access’s centralized policy definition and Cisco DNA Center’s automated configuration capabilities to provision network devices throughout the city’s facilities. Now all devices can be governed by a single policy and all different networking teams can work together through the single platform.
Network automation saves the day
On the operational side, Raphael related how Cisco DNA automation helps him provision networks on the fly that earlier took him many hours. Citing some examples, he explained how it took him over three hours to bring a new switch online, upgrade it, and configure ACLs on it for secure access. Now he can accomplish the task in as little as 30 minutes. Using Cisco DNA’s automation capabilities, the city is now busily migrating its facilities to the new networking architecture.
Raphael recalled how in April 2019 at the unexpected and tragic passing away of the Duke of Luxembourg, Cisco DNA helped him create secure access networks for media persons and their streaming video equipment in different venues of the city where remembrance events were being held. He was able to provision additional new switches, routers, and wireless gear in just a few hours.
The old coexists with the new
As the city is migrating its existing infrastructure to an SD-Access fabric, there are still large swaths of the network that are not yet part of it. Frank talks about how Cisco DNA’s network automation and analytics services work regardless. It is this capability that lets Frank and his team start realizing the benefits of Cisco DNA even before SD-Access is fully deployed.
More capable tools = more productive workforce
Commenting on how Cisco DNA has enabled his team to evolve, Frank explained that the network engineers are no longer immersed in day-to-day provisioning tasks or poring over various logs to find and solve networking issues. They use Cisco DNA Assurance to garner insights into client behavior, network performance, and solve potential problems before the users even encounter them. They are now free to focus on network design and services, rather than worry about the minutiae of its implementation and debugging.
“Due to the rapid digitization efforts of city departments, we are called upon to solve a diverse set of connectivity problems and are challenged to provide our services faster”, Frank said. “With Cisco SD- Access, we can automate and apply segmentation and security policies to our network devices up to 10 times faster than before. With Cisco DNA Assurance we have much better visibility and can resolve potential issues even before they become problems. Cisco DNA is the right platform for our city to remain on the forefront of technology for years to come”.
The next time you are in Luxembourg, marvel at the historic sites that the city has to offer and know that the city is working hard to make your stay secure, comfortable, and enjoyable with its investment in new technology and services.
See how Cisco DNA enabled the City of Pforzheim to provide mobility and security to their workforce.