Building on 28 years of history to an audience of over 28,000, Cisco Live is one of the juggernaut tech events of the calendar year.
Cisco has helped to build the internet and the fabric that we take for granted every day in work and in everyday life, but the world it helped to create has dramatically changed.
Mobile, Cloud Computing, more data that you can shake a stick at, and devices that can be located at the deepest accessible levels of the ocean to the highest peaks. This new world has prompted Cisco rethink how it operates and the foundation of what it built the company on.
At Cisco Live the company focused on the Network Intuitive for the majority of the show, and for good reason, but it wasn’t the only thing to come out of the event.
CBR runs through the key takeaways from the show.
The Network Intuitive
The Network Intuitive marks a new era for Cisco, a reinvention of the network, “This is a year where we are beginning a journey to change everything,” said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.
The technology is part of Cisco’s long term vision, an intuitive networking system that is capable of anticipating actions, stopping security threats, earning, and helping businesses to really tap into all the data that is flowing between devices.
The system is designed to help businesses make the most of their data, feel secure whilst doing so, and make it even more beneficial to make your business a cloud and mobile first one.
The Network Intuitive is designed to remove thousands of lines of code, replaced by policy based settings that are intelligent. Robbins described it as automation at scale. This means that instead of having an army of developers writing thousands of lines of code, there just needs to be someone setting policy, theoretically freeing up developers to work on the more important, valuable things.
The Network Intuitive, although somewhat frustratingly named, is a big deal, it’s Cisco’s opportunity to rebuild in a way that makes it fit for the future. It’s probably not a make or break change for Cisco, but it will certainly have a big impact on the company going forward.
Apple & Cisco
Apple CEO Tim Cook made a surprise appearance during the day one keynote, speaking with Chuck Robbins about the work between the two companies on the security front.
Cook said: “Together we (Cisco and Apple) make up the most secure combination of anybody in the enterprise, this is increasingly not just important but necessary.”
The combination of the two companies led to Cook discussing the rise of the cyber security insurance market, with the Apple CEO saying: “If your company is using Cisco and Apple, then the combination of these should make that insurance cost significantly less for you than it would if you were using some other personal network side and the other operating system in the mobile area.”
Cisco is already working with a number of insurance heavyweights, along with Apple, to try and effectively offer cheaper insurance to customers that use the two in combination.
There’s also the Cisco Security Connector, coming later this year, which will provide deep visibility, control, and privacy for iOS devices.
Cisco Jasper multi-tier IoT platform
Not a lot of airtime was given to this announcement at Cisco Live but it’s a good one from Cisco Jasper.
The announcement of Control Centre 7.0 basically makes it easier for businesses to get onto the IoT path at whatever stage they are.
The 7.0 version adds Control Centre Advanced, which is a new tier that caters to customers with more sophisticated deployments that require greater capabilities.
Two premium services have also been added in the form of Threat Protection & Smart Security and Traffic Segmentation. Cisco’s also added LPWAN support.
The company says that the 7.0 version is the first version to integrate multiple Cisco technologies. This means that it offers multi-layer security, integration with Cisco Spark, enhanced analytics and support for low power devices.
Network Intuitive training and developer programs
Given that the company is trying to reinvent the wheel…or network, it’s a given that it’d have some programs in place to speed adoption and make it possible for developers to actually use it.
For network engineers Cisco is adding two new training offerings around SD-Access which builds on the existing DNA training portfolio and Network Programmability training and certifications.
As part of the DNA Developer Centre the company is said to provide Cisco’s DevNet community the “tools they need to bring applications directly into the network and create smarter software,” according to Cisco.
Scott Harrell, SVP product management for enterprise networking said: “Intent-based networking signifies a paradigm shift for our industry and a completely new era of networking. It’s exciting to witness our global ecosystem — spanning three million network engineers, 60,000 partners, and 450,000 developers — embrace the future of networking.”
Machine learning enabled network switches
The introduction of the Catalyst 9000 series switches was made last week but Cisco spoke about them a number of times during the keynotes and throughout the conference.
The latest series of switches are an extension of Cisco’s move into the compute space, this time fuelled by the addition of DNA Centre. The idea is that the switches will then be able to better analyse and control network traffic, in addition to making it possible to manage access policies and privileges for devices and so forth.
Cisco’s machine learning element is going to enable the switches to change policies to recognise devices and users.
All of this has been made possible because of the introduction of the custom ASICs that are customisable and re-programmable to work with private clouds or specific applications and stacks.
The new series comes in three versions, the 9300, 9400, and 9500.