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June 6, 2023

Cisco launches Networking Cloud to unify device management tools

By using data gathered from across networks, the vendor says it can make life easier for system administrators.

By Ryan Morrison

Cisco is bringing together its array of network management tools into a new product, Cisco Networking Cloud, that is designed to create a simpler management platform experience and automate more of the process. Utilising AI and large datasets, the networking company claims the platform will “dramatically simplify IT”.

Cisco says its new cloud and service tools will allow system administrators to track, monitor and manage networks more easily (Photo: Anucha Cheechang / Shutterstock)
Cisco says its new cloud and service tools will allow system administrators to track, monitor and manage networks more easily (Photo: Anucha Cheechang / Shutterstock)

Announced today at the vendor’s Cisco Live conference in Las Vegas, the Networking Cloud will work across all Cisco appliances regardless of whether they are on premises, virtual, in a cloud environment or hosted. It will allow system administrators to log in to a single portal and manage the entire infrastructure. The platform will include cloud-driven automation, deliver network insights and offer a range of security options including API key exchange and cross-platform navigation.

Cisco says it will include end-to-end network assurance over any network through its ThousandEyes product and cloud monitoring for Catalyst. This will give system admins the chance to view, troubleshoot and manage Catalyst devices from the same Cisco Networking Cloud portal.

The company also plans to simplify its Catalyst stack with more consistent branding that will see it used across the entire enterprise networking stack. This includes rebranding DNA branded products and services using the Catalyst moniker. The company says it will also put sustainability front and centre, with real time insights into power consumption across the entire data centre operation.

“Today we are sharing our vision and first steps to eliminate networking complexity and securely connect the world,” said Jonathan Davidson, executive VP of Cisco Networking. “Only Cisco has the portfolio, experience, and partner ecosystem to bring together campus and branch, data center, compute, IoT, and SD-WAN to optimize outcomes using one networking management platform to deliver unified experiences.”

Cisco security and AI updates

Cisco announced a number of new products and services in addition to the networking cloud during its keynote. Among them were a number of AI-related products that can track energy usage across IT systems and help in network security selection to simplify and streamline the process.

This included the launch of a new Full Stack Observability Platform that is vendor-agnostic and works across the full Cisco portfolio of products. It provides contextual correlated and predictive insights into various issues that can allow administrators to resolve problems more quickly.

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On top of the observability platform and cloud network, Cisco also debuted a security cloud that is designed to provide end-to-end protection and information across an entire inventory of assets.

Gordon Thomson, VP of tech acceleration for the EMEA region at Cisco, told reporters that currently the administrator decides how to get secure access to a specific application or capability within the network environment. This could be using a VPN or zero trust network. 

“When you turn on the tap in your house, you’re not making a decision about how that water comes through the tap – water is just delivered,” Thomson said. “The same is true [in networking]. We should not force the user to make a security decision. We should make it for them but make it more seamless and more secure.”

One of the security aspects being launched is Cisco Secure Access which provides the ability to connect to the network once and then hand over decisions on which tools to use for each application type to the system.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins added: “We believe there’s huge opportunity ahead for Cisco, as we’re uniquely positioned to help our customers solve many of their biggest business challenges using technology. Whether security, connectivity, applications or sustainability, Cisco is the partner of choice to help our customers transform and adapt.”

Read more: Cisco reveals critical security vulnerabilities in networking switches

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