Cisco Live 2016: The 10 Most Impactful Announcements You Need To Know

Cisco Boosts ACI, Meraki, DNA, UCS, Security And Spark

Cisco Live clocked in a record of 28,000 people who descended to the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas this week to listen and learn about Cisco solutions and the future of the networking giant – which has never been more bullish.

"You're going to see us drive more innovation faster over the next several years than you've ever seen in the history of this company," CEO Chuck Robbins said in his keynote in front of around 12,000 people inside the Mandalay Bay Conversation Center. "Given everything that's happened in this world in the last several months … the world needs us."

Taking a step back from the event's theme of how Cisco technology can help solve some of the largest problems facing humanity, CRN takes a look at the most impactful new solutions and strategic partnerships unveiled during Cisco Live that will impact channel partners.

Cisco Lights A Spark With Bots

The networking giant unveiled a partnership with bot-building platforms and Gupshup to integrate their technologies with Cisco's flagship collaboration platform, Spark. The alliance allows thousands of bots to immediately join the Cisco Spark and Cisco Tropo platforms.

Developers will now be able to create advanced, omni-channel bots for responsive and intuitive experience within the Spark ecosystem, according to a Cisco release.

Veeam Technology Partnership Boost Cisco UCS

Veeam Software, a provider of data protection technology for cloud and virtualized environments, unveiled that it had integrated its technologies with Cisco Unified Computing Systems (UCS).

The Veeam Availability Solution for Cisco UCS leverages Veeam Backup & Replication Enterprise Plus software in either Cisco C240 or Cisco C3260 for a complete data availability solution. The joint solution – available through distribution giant Avnet – helps enterprises meet the most rigorous recovery time and point objectives required for tier-1 applications and data, according to a release.

In June, Veeam hired former VMware executive Peter McKay as its new president and chief operating officer.

Cisco Storage Gets Shot In The Arm With SwiftStack

Open-source object storage provider SwiftStack unveiled a technology partnership with Cisco to deliver a new turnkey solution that enables enterprises to build public cloud storage capabilities within their on-premise data centers.

SwiftStack is integrating its new SwiftStack 4.0 open-source platform with Cisco systems such as Metapod OpenStack-based software and Cisco UCS.

"The other guys look like legacy storage vendors compared to us," SwiftStack CEO Don Jaworski (pictured) said in an interview with CRN. "They come in and sell you three years' worth of stuff. We're coming in with Cisco and saying, 'You can start small and then grow. Pay as you grow, scale as you grow just like Amazon does … I would be excited if I was a channel partner."

Security Wrapped Around Meraki MX

Security was front and center at Cisco Live this week as the networking giant strives to become the dominant cybersecurity market leader by offering a holistic approach compared to point-product competitors by implementing security everywhere in the network.

Cisco's Meraki MX appliance is received huge security enhancements as the company added its Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) and Threat Grid malware analysis and threat intelligence technology to the MX.

In June, the networking giant announced a deal to buy CloudLock, a cloud-based security provider, for $293 million, its fourth security vendor acquisition in the past 12 months.

Cisco ACI Undergoes Security Facelift

Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) will be enhanced through a new technology partnership with Tufin, a provider of network security policy orchestration solutions.

Tufin is integrating its Orchestration Suite with Cisco ACI to deliver unified security policy management across physical and public, private and hybrid cloud networks. The joint solution enables customers to centrally manage application security policies from a single pane of glass. It also manages and controls micro-segmentation across hybrid networks, and simplifies regulatory compliance and audit readiness, while expanding visibility and control across all enterprise platforms, according to a release.

Cisco And VMware Become BFFs

The tension between the two leading software-defined networking providers Cisco ACI and VMware NSX is easing, which has partners cheering, as tighter integration is on the horizon.

In a Q&A session with the media at Cisco Live, Zorawar Biri Singh (pictured), CTO and senior vice president for Cisco's Cloud Services and Platforms, said he's "optimistic" that Cisco has a solid roadmap ahead regarding the convergence between ACI and NSX.

"There's a set of feature requests that our customers are asking for and the common theme has been, 'We want to see VMware and Cisco work together closely,'" said Singh, while sitting alongside Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins. "I feel very optimistic that we have a pretty good roadmap with our friends at VMware."

CEO: Spin-Ins Still On The Table

After a massively public fallout between Cisco and four of the company's longtime engineering leaders, it appeared the networking giant's previously successful "spin-ins" innovation model was over.

But at Cisco Live this week, CEO Robbins (pictured) left the door open for the possibility of potential future spin-ins.

"What I am singularly focused on is driving more internal innovation and that's what you saw today with some of that work done by basically creating the same set of conditions inside the company that have been set up for a potential spin-in," Robbins said in an Q&A with the media. "But I also don't rule out the use of spin-ins in the future if the conditions would lead us to the fact that that's the best way to move forward. So we'll look at any lever and any way we need to drive innovation going forward."

Cisco Defense Orchestrator

Cisco unveiled its new Cisco Defense Orchestrator, a cloud-based management application that allows customers to easily and effectively manage a large security infrastructure and policies in distributed locations across thousands of devices. The application provides customers with a template to set a consistent policy across an enterprise while also being able to manage the policies.

Nectar To Optimize Cisco's New DNA

Unified communications and management software provider Nectar Services has teamed with the networking giant to optimize the communications experience inside Cisco's new Digital Network Architecture (DNA).

Nectar software technology is integrating with DNA to automate quality of service (QoS) and verify best practices that were previously manually implemented. The new solution enhances voice, video and collaboration across the Cisco Unified Communications Manager.

Network Readiness Model

Partners will be getting some help around how to better sell DNA by introducing a new Network Readiness Model for partners and customers to help them navigate and adopt DNA. The model identifies the network readiness of a customer's environment to become a digital organization, then builds out a plan and recommended steps toward transforming their network.