Get the power of automation without losing flexibility. Let Cisco DNA Center and Cisco DevNet help you streamline network management while you strengthen your unique competitive advantage.

This blog is one in a series focusing on aspects of Cisco DNA and intent-based networking. #IntentBasedNetworking

Cisco DNA Center continues to mature and add greater value though continual updates and enhancements. This added value generally consists of new features as well as a wider range of supported network devices. The evolving scope of the solution helps ensure automation, policy and assurance consistency for a wide range of enterprises. However, your success isn’t built on doing things the way everyone else does. This is your unique competitive advantage and Cisco DNA Center is designed to accommodate that uniqueness.

One way you can do so is through Cisco DevNet. While this developers’ resource provides ready-made applications, it also provides documentation and APIs that help you craft your own. These tools are a natural extension of intent-based networking and can help your IT department more easily create bespoke applications that customize Cisco DNA Center to your needs.

Opening the Door Through APIs

In general, Cisco DNA Center APIs are grouped into four categories—northbound, southbound, eastbound and westbound. Let’s take a quick look at each.

Northbound—Intent APIs

Intent APIs enable developers to access Cisco DNA Center Automation and Assurance workflows. Through this access, you can simplify the process of creating workflows that consolidate multiple network actions.

Say, for instance, you’re configuring an SSID on a wireless network. Using Cisco DNA Center and the intent APIs, you can offload the process of setting WLAN and security settings. This saves time and provides greater consistency. You can do the same for QoS policies, software images running on the network devices, and application health.

Southbound—Multivendor Support APIs/SDK

The Cisco DNA Center Multivendor SDK allows partners to add support for managing non-Cisco devices directly from Cisco DNA Center. This tool provides the ability to build “device packs” customized for the level of automation and reporting that each new device allows. Once built, this capability permits basic device visibility, monitoring and Command Runner compatibility, and enables a non-Cisco device to be identified properly in inventory.

Eastbound—Events and Notifications APIs 

Eastbound APIs publish event notifications that enable third party applications to act on system level, operational or Cisco DNA Assurance notifications.  For instance, when some of the devices in the network are out of compliance, an eastbound API can enable an application to execute a software upgrade when it receives a notification. To configure events and notifications webhooks, Cisco DNA Center has to have a call back URL where it will send the notification out.

Westbound—Integration APIs

Cisco DNA Center platform can power end-to-end IT processes across the value chain by integrating various domains such as ITSM, IPAM, and reporting. By leveraging the REST-based Integration Adapter APIs, bi-directional interfaces can be built to allow the exchange of contextual information between Cisco DNA Center and the external, third-party IT systems. The westbound APIs provide the capability to publish the network data, events and notifications to the external systems and consume information in Cisco DNA Center from the connected systems.

New Interactive APIs

The DevNet team recently added an interactive element to the documentation for the above APIs. Using a few interactive questions, the getting started process is greatly streamlined. DevNet accomplished this by:

  • Pre-rendering API methods in the browser for ease of testing,
  • Making global credentials available throughout the sessions, and
  • Dynamically generating code snippets in python, node, and curl.

As a result, your developers can focus on the code itself and not get lost in the getting started.

While Cisco DNA Center greatly streamlines the process of automating, managing and troubleshooting your network, it doesn’t sacrifice flexibility. In fact, through DevNet and our Cisco DNA Center APIs, you can make it easier and more consistent to develop applications that support your uniqueness.

Get more information about Cisco DNA Center.

Join the conversation! Share your thoughts below and watch out for the next installment of our #IntentBasedNetworking blog series on the promise of intent-based networking.


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Daryl Coon

CMO EMM Mobility Solutions Borderless Networks