10 Cisco Network Intuitive Products That Partners Need To Know

Major Cisco Product Launch

In arguably its biggest product launch of 2017, Cisco Systems unveiled the next generation of networking with its new Network Intuitive platform – marking a significant breakthrough in enterprise networking, according to CEO Chuck Robbins.

"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 Tuesday. "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."

Partners are hailing the platform as "revolutionary" and an end-to-end solution that is "unmatched" in today's market. Here are the 10 biggest products inside the platform that partners need to know.

Catalyst 9000 Series

The San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant introduced a new series of switches built from the ground up centered on the demands of mobility, cloud, security and the Internet of Things. The Catalyst 9000 – powered by Cisco silicon -- delivers unmatched security, programmability and performance with custom ASICs and software layers, according to the company. The new switches also have a built-in x86 platform where customers can run native applications.

The Catalyst 9300 is Cisco's top fixed-access enterprise switch, stacking to 480-Gbps. The 9400 series is a modular-access switch that supports up to 9 Tbps, while the 9500 is the industry's first fixed-core 40-Gbps enterprise switch.

"The Cisco Catalyst 9000 has exceeded NASA's mission-critical requirements for security and segmentation -- and at twice the performance," said Eric Latta, Solutions Architect for NASA, in a statement.

Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence

Cisco said its new intuitive networking platform provides machine learning at scale. The network leader is using the vast data that flows through its networks around the world, with machine learning built in, and leveraging that data to provide actionable and predictive insights.

"The Intuitive Network can actually become smarter through machine learning, through AI. So when you bring analytics and automation and machine learning and AI together, you really do get this network intuitive," said Robbins.

Encrypted Traffic Analytics

"This is a true revolutionary breakthrough -- the ability to find malware in encrypted traffic," said David Goeckeler, senior vice president and general manager of networking and security. "Cisco's Encrypted Traffic Analytics solves a network security challenge previously thought to be unsolvable."

Cisco said almost half of cyberattacks are hidden in encrypted traffic and this number keeps growing. By utilizing Cisco's Talos cyberintelligence and machine learning to analyze metadata traffic patterns, the network can identify the fingerprints of known threats even in encrypted traffic, without decrypting it and impacting data privacy.

Software-Defined Access

Cisco's new Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) automates tasks such as troubleshooting, provisioning and configuration. SD-Access uses automated policy enforcement and network segmentation over a single network fabric to simplify network access for users, devices and things. The network giant said the offering reduces network provisioning by 67 percent, improves issue resolution by 80 percent, reduces security breach impact by 48 percent and included Opex savings of 61 percent.

"SD-Access automates network segmentation down to the user level. This is a huge shift for the lean-IT experience," said Kevin Tompkins, network architect for Scentsy, in a statement.

New IOS XE Software

The new Catalyst 9000 switches includes Cisco's new IOS XE software. Goeckeler said the new IOS 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."

Digital Network Architecture (DNA) Services

Cisco has created a new portfolio of services that leverage best practices and innovative tools. Whether customers are looking to transform their entire network or integrate new security and automation capabilities into their existing network, Cisco partners have a life cycle of advisory, implementation, optimization and technical services to help, said Goeckeler.

Channel partners can resell these services and build networking practices that incorporate software, security, automation and analytics for their customers. The Intuitive Network is powered by Cisco DNA, which was launched in March 2016.

DNA Center

A key ingredient within the Intuitive Network platform is the DNA Center, which is an intuitive, centralized management dashboard providing IT teams with an intent-based approach spanning design, provisioning, policy and assurance. With full visibility and context across the entire network, DNA Center enables centralized management for all network functions.

"So you now have a single management console that allows you to manage the network policy, security and all the other associated platforms with one single management console – that's pretty revolutionary," said Vinu Thomas, chief technology officer at Presidio, a New York-based top Cisco partner that has already tested the platform.

Network Data Platform

Robbins said its "powerful" analytics Network Data Platform efficiently categorizes and correlates the vast amount of data running on the network and uses machine learning to turn it into predictive analytics, business intelligence and actionable insights.

The platform is delivered through the DNA Center Assurance service.

Developer Center

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

Software Subscription

"We are bringing a subscription methodology to our core networking portfolio," said Robbins.

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 beauty is customers now are going to go buy this platform, which gives them access to all these underlying products but in a unified single pane of glass. They're consumption-based -- you buy the hardware, pick the licensing, you go out and get the subscription and you consume the functionality to which otherwise you would buy in different silos,' said Faisal Bhutto, vice president of enterprise networking, cloud and cybersecurity for Computex Technology Solutions, a Houston-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner. "It just becomes a whole lot simpler for customers."