Cisco Launches Networking Platform That Will 'Redefine The Network For The Next 30 Years,' Says CEO Robbins

Cisco Systems Tuesday unveiled what CEO Chuck Robbins dubbed as "the new network" – an intuitive networking system that anticipates actions, stops security threats and continues to evolve and learn. Robbins said the new platform is bringing a subscription-based methodology to its core networking portfolio.

"Today, I really believe we are redefining the network for the next 30 years," said Robbins during a media and analyst event in San Francisco. "In my 20 years at Cisco, I have never been more excited about our innovation than I am about what we’re delivering today. … We truly are building the network of the future."

The San Jose, Calif.-based networking leader launched a slew of new offerings around its Network Intuitive platform, including a new line of Catalyst switches, a revamped IOS software for the digital age as well as security and analytics offerings.

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"This platform …. gives us the ability to create longer-term lifetime value for our customers"’ said Robbins."Two years ago, we had $1.9 billion on our balance sheet in deferred revenue from software and subscription, and last quarter that number was $4.5 billion. The big question is, 'Can you bring that to your core?' And today we are bringing a subscription methodology to our core networking portfolio. We're incredibly excited about not only what it does for [Cisco], but [the fact that] it allows us to continue to deliver more and more value for our customers on top of these platforms of the future."

This new network is the result of years of research and development by Cisco to reinvent networking for an age where network engineers managing hundreds of devices today will be expected to manage 1 million by 2020, according to Robbins.

Cisco's approach creates an intuitive system that constantly learns, adapts, automates and protects to optimize network operations and defend against today's evolving threat landscape.

"Cisco's Encrypted Traffic Analytics solves a network security challenge previously thought to be unsolvable," said David Goeckeler, senior vice president and general manager of networking and security, in a statement. "ETA uses Cisco's Talos cyber intelligence to detect known attack signatures even in encrypted traffic, helping to ensure security while maintaining privacy."

Goeckeler also said Cisco's new IOS operating system for the Intuitive Network was "rebuilt for the digital age."

"Our [new IOS] is open, it's API-driven, it's programmable, it's modular, it allows our customers to extend it to interconnect in an API world," said Goeckeler. "This is going to drive intent-driven networking for the next 30 years."

Cisco introduced a new family of switches built from the ground up for the new realities of the digital era, centered on the demands of mobility, cloud, IoT and security. The new Cisco Catalyst 9000 delivers unmatched security, programmability and performance by innovating at the hardware (ASIC) and software (IOS XE) layers, according to Cisco.

Robbins said Cisco is now making software subscription an essential element of its flagship campus switching portfolio. When purchasing the new Catalyst 9000 family of switches, customers will access the DNA software capabilities by subscription, either via pre-bundled Cisco ONE software suites or a la carte components.

The company’s Digital Network Architecture (DNA) helps power the Intuitive Network.

Cisco’s new DNA Center is an intuitive, centralized management dashboard providing IT teams with an intent-based approach spanning design, provisioning, policy and assurance, according to Cisco.

In addition, Cisco created a new portfolio of DNA services that leverage best practices and innovative tools. Channel partners can also resell these services and build networking practices that incorporate software, security, automation and analytics for their customers.

The network leader also released a new DevNet DNA Developer Center with resources to help developers and IT professionals create network-powered applications and integrate them within their IT systems and workflows.This includes new learning tracks, sandboxes, and developer support resources for using APIs and building skills.

Cisco said 75 leading global enterprises and organizations have already been conducting early field trials with these next-generation networking solutions, including DB Systel GmbH, Jade University of Applied Sciences, NASA, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Scentsy, UZ Leuven and Wipro.

Partners can now order the Catalyst 9300 and 9500 series, with the Catalyst 9400 series available next month. The DNA Center will become available in August, while the encrypted traffic analytics opens in September.