Cisco is changing its DNA from a hardware company to a software, service-centric leader with the launch of its new Digital Network Architecture on Wednesday, setting the stage for a new enterprise networking sales motion for its 70,000 channel partners.
"For Cisco, who had really a consistent approach for networking for the better part of 25 years or longer, this is a departure from a hardware-centric model," said Brian Ortbals, vice president of Advanced Technology at World Wide Technology, a St. Louis-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner ranked No. 11 in CRN's 2015 Solution Provider 500 list. "This is going to create such huge services opportunity for partners, and it's going to reinforce the value of Cisco software proposition and leadership in that space."
Robert Soderbery, senior vice president of Cisco's Enterprise Products and Solutions, said every Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) will eventually become an expert at selling the new digital architecture.
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"We are absolutely going to change the DNA of the channel," said Soderbery, in an interview with CRN.
Digital Network Architecture (DNA) is an open, software-driven, service-centric solution based on automation, virtualization, analytics, managed services and open APIs that is aimed at enabling digital business. DNA is delivered within the Cisco One Software family and includes a new automation platform and applications, an array of cloud-based management services, and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) targeting the enterprise.
The San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant has been lecturing for years about digitization and businesses transitioning to the digital age. DNA appears to be Cisco's answer to digitization and shedding the notion that Cisco is still a hardware-centric company, according to WWT's Ortbals.
With DNA, Ortbals said, Cisco has recognized what customers are demanding in the market.
"Customers are looking for new methods to be able to create simplicity in management to deliver services more quickly, to create more automation and ultimately one of the best upsides with the overall model is the ability to gain insight and manage more readily the security compliance of an environment," said Ortbals.
DNA also opens the door for new opportunities involving the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) market, which WWT is having more conversations about in 2016, he said.
"IoT creates new network traffic demand and new opportunities to do analytics at the edge, and the legacy model is not [conducive] to those types of customer requirements today, at least not easily. So they're allowing for new technologies to help provide solutions to those changing customer requirements," Ortbals said.