This is part 1 of the “Your Business Powered By Cisco Customer Solutions Architecture (CSA)” blog series.

Many IT organizations are challenged to take advantage of the new technologies enabled by Virtualization, Cloud, Analytics and IoT.  Applications enabled by these new technologies must be protected from unauthorized use but remain accessible, in a secure manner, from any device in any location throughout the world. With a vast array of new technology choices and a substantial installed infrastructure base, it is important to have a place to start –a solutions architecture– that provides a framework for using these technologies that will drive business outcomes.

The CSA is a transformational customer-facing blueprint that delivers IT-based services for enterprise and service providers to achieve their business outcomes.  To be relevant for our customers, the CSA was developed based on disruptive examples that Cisco engineers observed in the industry during their discussions with both enterprise and service provider customers worldwide.

Some of these disruptive examples include use of new technologies such as: Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Everything (IoE) and Cyber security.  It should also be stated that the front end for IT blueprint consulting is Cisco Consulting Services, and this CSA is representational of the sets of abstractions that describe the actual functions.

In all IT environments, both enterprise and service providers, Cisco sees two common trends:

  • Increasing complexity, scope, and size. This is because of new technology transitions (Cloud, Big data/Analytics, IoT, etc.), customer demands, and the rapidly growing number of devices and things that need interconnectivity.
  • Increasing flexibility, shorter time to market, more inter-operability and rapid changes and adaptability in the field.

In our vision of a solutions architecture, the interoperability of technologies and solutions at the application level, platform level, and infrastructure level as well as at the service level must be ensured. This motivates the creation of a  solutions model with standardized terminology to promote a common understanding.  Additionally, line of business desires to deliver innovative, disruptive services should be supported by a solutions architecture containing essential functional building blocks for security, virtualization, automation, performance, and end user needs. The CSA should facilitate a shared understanding across multiple organizations and disciplines about future directions.   The purpose of this CSA is to drive customers’ business outcomes through connected technology architecture, flexible enough to support traditional technology needs and disruptive technology transitions such as Analytics, Cloud and IoT.

Architects, field engineers and sales engineers may use this CSA to answer questions including but not limited to:

  • How do I transform my current state architecture to a future state that delivers traditional & disruptive technologies?
  • What are some of the key architectural decisions do I need to make when designing a solution?
  • What functional blocks and technologies do I need to consider in designing solutions, establishing enterprise architecture guidelines based on service-oriented principles?
  • What functional building blocks do I need to include in each layer of my solution or standardize as part of the solution(s) architecture?
  • How do I take account of the industry best practices that are proven and already implemented?
  • How to build, deliver, and support modular solution architecture?


The Cisco CSA enables businesses to adapt to the rapidly changing economic and technological environment with speed, simplicity, and efficiency while reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO).  Some of the benefits of this Cisco CSA include:

  • Reduce capital and operating expenses through consolidation and virtualization
  • Rapidly provision new services with a flexible, secure, multitenant design
  • End-to-end security
  • Utilize new IT technology transitions such as Analytics, Cloud and IoT
  • Permits a simpler and more cost-effective capabilities introduction reducing or eliminating barriers to entering new markets

Example Customer Uses of the CSA

The following examples provide some ways Cisco customers can use the Cisco CSA:

  • Customers can transform their Current State Architectures (CSA) with legacy technologies and systems to Future State Architectures (FSA) with the latest technologies and systems.
  • Due to modular nature of the CSA, Customers do not have to transform their entire current state architecture into the FSA at once.  CSA delivers a blueprint for rolling out capabilities in lockstep across the architecture, to deliver those capabilities when business needs dictate, versus juggling many different individual technology decisions.   Architecture transformation can be done in a phased approach with mission critical areas in the early phases and non-critical areas in the later phases.
  • This CSA provides the capability (in a modular way) to integrate a multi-vendor cloud for service provisioning and support.  This allows end customers to have single point of contact (SPOC) and not worry about dealing with multiple vendors and incurring additional operating expenses.
  • This CSA helps identify which functions can be outsourced and which can be kept in-house. For example, Security identity management, Analytics, Energy Management can be done remotely from Cisco cloud or partner cloud.
  • Customer may use this CSA to better understand solution bundles such as SolveDirect ServiceGrid, Composite Data Virtualization and JouleX Energy Management so they may select any or all of these bundles to develop a solution set within their environment.

In my next blog, I’ll discuss the Cisco CSA layered approach.

Tweet me @CiscoSP360 if you have any questions or comments.


Monique Morrow


New Frontiers Development and Engineering