Digitization is disrupting business and organizations on a scale more like a tsunami than a rising tide. IT and business leaders I meet with on a daily basis are telling me that to compete in the face of this disruption, their organizations need to harness the power of digital technologies or risk being left behind. This market transition affects everyone, whether you’re creating new experiences for consumers or your workforce, building operational technology for your business or creating the next generation of services for your citizens.

The very nature of digital business places new demands on the network, and in turn the network is what enables digital business. The key insight is that digital business is now happening at the edge of the enterprise, in the physical world as much as in the cloud and web.  Retailers are using the network for presence and analytics information about their customers.   Manufacturers are using the network to connect factories and supply chains in new ways.   Utilities are using the network to manage production and consumption of electricity in the new grid ecosystem, driven by solar and plug-in EV.

Today at Cisco Partner Summit 2016 we unveiled the Cisco Digital Network Architecture (Cisco DNA), a platform that will give our customers both a roadmap to digitization and a path to recognize immediate benefits of network automation, assurance and security. Wherever you are on the path to digital, with DNA we intend to make Cisco your partner of choice in this exciting journey.

To understand the motivation behind this new architecture, it is important to understand the evolution of network software.   The industry has been in the era of experimentation in networking software, starting with early academic concepts of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and OpenFlow, leading to SDN controllers, Network Function Virtualization (NFV), Model Based Networking and NetConf/YANG and most recently solutions leveraging the cloud and analytics in new ways.

However, this innovation creates challenges for organizations looking to take advantage of all this new capability, and creates as many new questions as answers.   How does all of this come together?   How does it make my environment simpler?   Do I have the software and integration skills to do this? Am I exposing my organization to new security risks?

Cisco Digital Network Architecture is an open, extensible, software-driven architecture. In developing Cisco DNA, we have committed to five fundamental new design principles for the networking software stack:

Virtualize everything to give organizations freedom of choice to run any service anywhere, independent of the underlying platform – physical or virtual, on premise or in the cloud.

Designed for automation to make networks and services on those networks easy to deploy, manage and maintain – fundamentally changing the approach to network management.

Pervasive analytics to provide insights on the operation of the network, IT infrastructure and the business – information that only the network can provide.

Service management delivered from the cloud to unify policy and orchestration across the network – enabling the agility of cloud with the security and control of on premises solutions.

Open, extensible and programmable at every layer – Integrating Cisco and 3rd party technology, open API’s and a developer platform, to support a rich ecosystem of network-enabled applications.

Today we are introducing the architecture and the first wave of solutions, including network automation for IWAN and network operations teams, virtualization for the enterprise branch and new cloud managed offers.   All delivered as Cisco ONE software offers.   And this is just the first wave of technology announcements – stay tuned for more.

Early adopters of Cisco DNA are already seeing the benefits of gaining insights, automation and security through the network:

  • “Unlike other SDN solutions, DNA innovations like APIC EM can be deployed on our existing infrastructure so we can move quickly with minimum risk and maximum investment protection.” CJ Singh, Chief Technology Officer, Backcountry.com
  • “With Cisco DNA, I can easily deploy services to a branch office. It’s fully automated, and saves me time and money for my entire operations.” Markus Voegele, Sr. Network Architect, IBM Aviation Industry Services
  • “DNA-enabled solutions such as CMX Cloud allow us to quickly deliver easy Wi-Fi, gain new business insights on customer trends and preferences, and substantially improve the way we engage visitors that were once largely anonymous to us.” Abbas Rizvi, Senior Network Manager, Santana Row Shopping Center
  • “Cisco DNA policy-based approach, using NetFlow-based monitoring turns our network into the most powerful all-seeing sensor that has helped us protect our staff, students and intellectual property.” Ryan Laus, Network Manager/Security, Central Michigan University

Watch my video  to get more details on how Cisco is building the next generation architecture to help IT lead the digital transformation in their organization. And explore the microsite to learn more about Cisco DNA. I hope you’ll join us on this journey and I look forward to hearing how well Cisco DNA meets your future networking needs.



Rob Soderbery

Former Senior Vice President

No Longer with Cisco