Intent-Based Networking’s Next Evolution: The DNA Center Platform
For more than 20 years, organizations have been running their networks pretty much the same way. But recently, that way has become increasingly difficult, fragmented, and expensive. Modern networks need to be both more integrated, and yet more flexible.
So a year ago, we launched our most ambitious network re-think in our history: our intent-based networking offering, Cisco DNA, and its centerpiece control software, DNA Center. It treats every network device — be it wired, wireless, or wide-area — as part of a unified fabric, giving IT a simpler, more cost-effective way to take control of one of their businesses’ most valuable assets: network infrastructure.
DNA Center makes it possible for network operators to react to business needs and security threats at machine speed, across their entire network. This means, first, that they don’t have to rely on time-consuming human-powered workflows, making changes one network device at a time; they can interact with the network as a single fabric. And second, that when there’s an issue with the network (like a cyber attack), the network can react to it in real time.
More recently, we rolled out DNA Assurance, which provides deep visibility and insights into everything that happens on a network, and everything that has happened previously. When there’s an issue to solve, it gives network administrators the capability to go back in time and see exactly what was happening at the precise moment that the user or device experienced a problem. It makes troubleshooting immeasurably faster, and more proactive, than it is today.
Now DNA Center is an Open Platform
And now we’re opening the network fabric itself to developers. DNA Center’s new open platform capabilities mean all its powerful, networkwide automation and assurance tools are available to our partners and customers. With the network as a programmable platform, they will be able to make IT and business applications run better and more securely, deliver better experiences to employees and customers, and extract the value of the data that their networks are collecting.
The first uses of the new DNA Center platform capabilities will be IT applications. Already, the IT service management system ServiceNow has an integration into DNA Center. With it, DNA Center can automatically create trouble tickets in ServiceNow. The tickets are enriched with insights that IT personnel can use to resolve network, user, and application issues. IT operators can also trigger remediation events using ServiceNow, that take advantage of DNA Center’s reach across the network. Together, DNA Center and ServiceNow can create and close out a ticket — faster and more accurately than either system could independently.
Other partners are creating services for things like software image updates (Accenture), power management (Presidio), physical security (Italtel Netwrapper), mobile operations management (WWT), 3rd-party device provisioning (HCL), and other IT solutions.
As more customers learn what DNA Center can do, its applicability will extend into line-of-business applications. For example, new platform capabilities will expose location data from network devices, which can be used to dramatically improve logistics. In healthcare, location data (for personnel and equipment), can improve care and lower costs.
Open to Ideas
We’re proud to be able to open up this rich and valuable resource to our customers. But it’s still early in the evolution of intent-based networking, and we want to help people learn and share new ways to make their assets work better for their organizations. Our DevNet program is where this all comes together. We have 500,000 developers on the program already, and we continue to add resources to help everyone grow. We also launched this week three new programs for DevNet: Ecosystem Exchange, Code Exchange, and DNA Developer Center.
Cisco’s Services group is also working to help business leaders take full advantage of the new DNA Center platform.
The new platform capabilities that DNA Center offers are based on a flexible architecture that will make new business processes and flows possible, both through the control it enables and the data it makes available. We can’t anticipate all the innovations that people will build on it. We’ve already been surprised by what some of our earliest partners have done.
DNA Center is our most ambitious and flexible platform ever. It builds on 30 years of knowledge across all areas of networking, on all the rich relationships we have with customers and partners, and on top of the vision our engineers have about where networking is going in the near future. We hope you find it valuable.