You know that feeling when you are right at the beginning of something big? A long-distance run perhaps, an extended vacation, or your first zip-line trip. You get this tingling feeling of anticipation. That was my feeling at Cisco Live when we unveiled the breadth of partner applications that have taken advantage of the new open platform capabilities of DNA Center. Partner applications, from power consumption analytics to automated onboarding of non-Cisco network equipment, are completely changing the way networks interact and exchange intelligence with the systems, applications, and devices around them.

360-degree extensibility

These applications are all built around new automated network management capabilities using an open platform. The DNA Center open platform provides 360-degree extensibility so that your intent-based network can continuously align with your organization’s business applications, integrate with your IT processes, and deliver better network experiences.

Applications interact with DNA Center platform from all directions (or 360 degrees). Intent (or northbound) APIs abstract and automate previously manual network operations, such as managing network inventories, provisioning new or replacement devices, using network health statistics to monitor network operations, and perform management functions such as image upgrades and set QoS parameters. Integration (or east and westbound) APIs enhance interworking with core IT functions such as IT Service Management (ITSM), IP Address Management (IPAM), and reporting. They also integrate with other Cisco domain controllers, such as Cisco Meraki for wireless, Cisco Stealthwatch for security, and Cisco ACI for data centers. A southbound SDK enables anyone to connect any type of device to DNA Center by developing a “device driver” like metafile called a device pack. These packs enable connections to third-party network devices as well as device types commonly used in IoT.

DNA Center’s 360-degree extensibility is especially useful for harmonizing policy and operations management of both conventional IP and IoT networks because intent policies are managed using northbound applications, and devices are connected using southbound interfaces.

Read the IDC paper the discusses the importance of an open platform in an intent-based network.

Partner enthusiasm

Many of Cisco’s top partners have already developed applications using DNA Center. Click here to see how they are leveraging DNA Center open platform and DevNet to bring innovative solutions to market.

Responses from the partner experiences at the show are trending towards more investment in developing applications that accelerate the digital transformation of networking.

Kurt Brown, Vice President of Digital Infrastructure at Dimension Data, “open APIs allow us to integrate systems that couldn’t be integrated before and allow new types of interactions that will help drive the business forward faster, rather than be held back by the architecture of the network that may not support those capabilities.”

Jack Sepple, Senior Managing Director, Group Technology, at Accenture agrees, “An open platform allows us to bring the often-disjointed worlds of IT service management and networks together. Because of this integration, we are seeing 80-90% reduction in time spent on repeatable tasks using automation, and use-cases that we had not considered before. We are also able to improve our development time by 40-50% that helps us bring these use-cases to market more quickly.”

Watch this 2-minute video to learn what these early developers see in the potential of network automation through DNA Center open platform.


What’s next

Cisco continues to work with its partners in building new solutions that will truly transform how IT operations get done. In the weeks to come, I’ll highlight each use-case in turn through a series of blogs. Stay tuned.

Discover these and our other DNA Center partners and see how they are redefining the future of networking.


Additional Reading

See how intent-based networking can spark business innovation.

Read the June 2018 special issue of Cisco Focus Magazine on Intent-Based Networking

Get involved in the Cisco Community



Vivek Bhargava

Product Marketing Manager