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June 26, 2017updated 13 Jul 2022 9:58am

Cisco Live: A new era of networking with the Network Intuitive

Chuck Robbins, CEO Cisco detailed the company's network revolution as Apple CEO Tim Cook joined him to talk about security and collaboration.

By James Nunns

The network is entering a new era, one that will bring disruption but a limitless number of possibilities and the company driving that change is Cisco.

“We have worked together for a very long time, we have built the internet, we’ve done amazing things over the last 25 years and today I believe we are embarking on a new era, and the same success that we have had over last 25 years I know all of you are going to partner with us to drive that same success into the future,” said Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco as he wrapped up the first day of Cisco Live in Las Vegas.

The CEO was on fine form, delivering a keynote focusing on the new network, Network Intuitive, and welcoming Apple CEO Tim Cook to talk about the relationship between the two companies.

With 28,000 in attendance at Cisco Live, the conference provides the perfect opportunity for the company to get its new strategy across to a large number of existing and prospective customers.

Robbins said that this year and this conference felt like the start of something new, a new era of networking.

The revolution is taking place on the back of the Network Intuitive, announced last week, the technology is taking the long view to provide an intuitive networking system that is capable of anticipating actions, stopping security threats, learning, and helping businesses to really tap into all the data that is flowing between devices.

Read more: Cisco UK CEO on failing IoT projects & the boiling frog syndrome

The point of it is to take advantage of the new era of mobile, cloud, the Internet of Things and much more. All of these things have added to the relevance of the network, “this is all about access to information, ease and simplicity. I need all my data all the time, wherever I am. The network is at the heart of it and still is,” said Robbins.

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The problem with the evolution of all these new technologies is that they’ve added complexity, the “enemy” of all the positives that these new technologies can bring. So Cisco has set about removing, or at least significantly lowering complexity.

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.

Reinvention was a key theme for Robbins during his keynote, the reinvention of the network and clearly of Cisco as well as it looks to pivot how it operates to make it fit for the future. The Network Intuitive is going to be key to success or perhaps failure.

Robbins also had a few comments to make about cloud technology, “ We don’t live in a single cloud world. I love it when people say the cloud – how many have a cloud? There’s more than one,” said Robbins.

The point being that we live in a multi-cloud world and the move to the cloud, which was billed as being for simplicity, for ease of use and to be faster, has been neutered by the vast amount of complexity created by multi-cloud environments that all compete with each other.

Robbins said: “What began in a quest for simplicity, becomes fragmentation complexity and feel of lack of control over policy and security.”

This is another area that Cisco is working on to improve, and of course everything needs to be secure. Robbins described the current security landscape as being unstable and unreliable, “things moving too quickly, the perimeter has disappeared, we have to have an architecture for moving forward,” said the Cisco CEO.

The security front brought to the stage at Cisco Live a surprise guest, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. The two CEO’s discussed the importance of silicon through the stack, the work the two companies have done together and how they are trying to ensure security.

Read more: Cisco Enterprise Agreement revolutionises software licensing

Cook said, “the hacking community aren’t hackers anymore, they’re sophisticated enterprises,” so it needs large scale collaboration to combat them.

“Together we (Cisco and Apple) make up the most secure combination of anybody in the enterprise, this is increasingly not just important but necessary,” said Cook.

The two left on a teaser of the combination of Cisco and Apple perhaps integrating the security combinations of their portfolios.

In the end, it’s about Cisco taking its core competencies, which are in the network, and adapting them for the modern world. Bringing modern tools and capabilities to Cisco’s networking expertise gives the company a modern feel, which is something that’s been lacking from the networking world for a long time.

Finally the network has caught up with the modern world of IT.

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