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Cisco Network Insights Advisor (NIA) Data Sheet

Data Sheet

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Updated:March 5, 2020

Available Languages

Download Options

  • PDF
    (425.9 KB)
    View with Adobe Reader on a variety of devices
Updated:March 5, 2020
 

 

The Cisco® Network Insights Advisor (NIA) application enables customers to prevent unscheduled outages and lower downtime for their data center networks by providing proactive notifications covering security advisories, critical bugs, end-of-life and end-of-support announcements and recommended software and hardware upgrades based on platforms, deployed software, and features. The NIA application also helps speed up troubleshooting by collecting the necessary data for Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) service requests in case of issues. These capabilities enable customers keep deployments running smoothly while reducing operating expenses and troubleshooting time. The NIA application works on both Cisco ACI / APIC and Cisco NX-OS / Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) platforms.

Product overview

The Cisco NIA application is available for download on both APIC and DCNM application stores. Once installed, it runs on either APIC or DCNM, periodically scans the customer’s network, and provides proactive notifications to alert customers about potential issues that can impact uptime. The notifications are customized to the hardware and software deployed and to the features enabled in the deployment. This application leverages Cisco Customer Experience intelligence by periodically connecting to Cisco to obtain fresh advisory data to compare against the deployment and the configuration. This ensures that published data is used without having to constantly monitor mail-lists or Cisco websites. The application provides proactive advice with a focus on maintaining availability and alerting customers about potential issues.

NIA Dashboard

The NIA Dashboard provides a single pane of glass as an aggregate view of the entire network, drawing attention to critical notifications when present.

Highlights of NIA proactive advisories include the following:

     Advisories: Software version upgrade and hardware refresh recommendations and “Open SR” recommendations

     Notices: Hardware and software end-of-life/end-of-sale notifications with replacement hardware and replacement software version and field notices

     Anomalies: Hardening recommendations, configuration consistency checks, forwarding state consistency checks and scale limit checks against verified scalability guides

     Bugs: Known and open bugs in the product versions

     PSIRTS (Product Security Incident Response Team alerts): Security advisories

The NIA periodically collects “show tech-support” and running configurations for each device monitored and for the APIC controller in Cisco ACI deployments. It compares this data against the Cisco Customer Experience intelligence data downloaded from Cisco to determine the advisories and recommended actions. A recommended action is provided along with the NIA notification where applicable. When a software image upgrade is recommended, NIA will also run an upgrade impact analysis and identify if the upgrade is “disruptive” or “nondisruptive.”

Features and benefits

Feature

Benefit

Software version upgrade and hardware refresh advisories

Stay up-to-date on new software and hardware availability and get lead time to plan for upgrades.

EOL/EOS field notices

Be up-to-date on hardware and software going out-of-sale and out-of-support and get lead time to plan for upgrades.

Anomalies and consistency checks

Have visibility into inconsistencies between configuration state and forwarding state, deviation from best practices, and system parameters pushing scale limits. Avoid unscheduled outages.

Bugs

Get instant visibility into any applicable bugs as soon as they are reported and fixed in other customer environments. Avoid unscheduled outages for issues already known to Cisco.

PSIRTS

Get instant visibility into any security advisories and take necessary action to stay secure and stay in compliance.

Prominent features

NIA Dashboard

The NIA Dashboard provides an aggregate view of the entire Data Center network, drawing attention to critical notifications when present. The notifications are grouped and graphed based on various criteria: severity of the issue, platform model, software version, etc. The dashboard displays the issues needing attention as they occur and allows for deeper investigation into each issue.

Deployment awareness notifications

NIA’s advisories are customized to the hardware, software, and features deployed in the Data Center network. The NIA application reads the configuration and state information, compares against the digital signature of defects logged in the Cisco Customer Experience data base to provide context-aware advisories that are relevant to the customer’s network. Along with the issue description, the advisory also contains a recommended action depending on the type of advisory. For example, when reporting a critical defect in a software version, the advisory also provides a recommended software version for upgrading after the defect is fixed. Also, the recommended action identifies if the recommended upgrade will or will not have a traffic impact.

PSIRTS, EOS/EOL, and bug notifications

Periodic lookup of ever-changing Cisco Customer Experience intelligence data base for PSIRTS, EOS/EOLS notifications, and recently reported bugs shifts the paradigm from a manual, human-driven, ad hoc task to a cadence-based machine-learning activity. The necessary information to keep the Data Center network secure, to keep the network in compliance with the regulations, and to reduce unscheduled or unexpected downtime is right in front of the operator.

Platform support

Cisco Nexus® platform

Cisco Nexus 9300 / 9500 switches (first-generation and cloud-scale)

Cisco Nexus 3000 Series Switches (all models) – DCNM / NX-OS only

 

Cisco ACI software version

Cisco ACI Release 4.0(3d) or later

 

Cisco NX-OS software versions

Cisco NX-OS Release 7.0(3)I7(6) or later in 7 train

Cisco NX-OS Release 9.2(1) or later in 9 train

 

Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) software versions

Cisco Data Center Network Manager Release 11.2 or later

Licensing

     NIA app license is included as part of ACI/NXOS Premier license.

     For customers who have Cisco ACI/NXOS Essentials or Advantage license, NIA app license is included as part of ACI/NXOS Day2Ops bundle license.

     NIA app license is available in subscription only mode.

     For ACI environment, NIA app license is required only for leaf switches.

     For NXOS/DCNM environment, NIA app license is required for all nodes.

To learn more about Cisco ACI Smart Licensing, click here. The NIA App is currently available to download and use. Contact your Cisco Account team to learn pricing and additional details.

System requirements

The Cisco Network Insights Advisor application runs on both APIC and DCNM frameworks and has the following dependencies:

1.     The NIA application in DCNM requires a compute cluster; a 3-node Cisco UCS® cluster can be used for this purpose. See the Cisco Network Insights - Advisor Application for DCNM User Guide for configuring a 3-node UCS cluster. A native HA (high availability) deployment is recommended.

2.     The NIA application can be installed on existing Cisco ACI deployments using an APIC user interface. The NIA application requires a Cisco Application Services Engine appliance cluster to be available to APIC. The Cisco Application Services Engine appliance cluster target availability is early to mid calendar year 2020.

Ordering information

The Cisco NIA application is currently available to download from the Cisco DC App Center.

The NIA application license is by subscription only. On APIC, the license is available only through Smart Licensing. A PAK-based add-on license is available for DCNM with NX-OS deployments. To learn more about Cisco ACI Smart Licensing, see the Smart Licensing page at Cisco.com.

For an ACI/APIC deployment, the number of NIA add-on licenses required is equal to the sum of the leafs. The spine switches do not require a license.

For DCNM/NX-OS, the number of NIA add-on licenses required is equal to the sum of the leafs, fixed spines, and/or modular spines.

See the Cisco Network Insights for Data Center Licensing Guide for license ordering details.

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