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Building an intelligent network with Cisco DNA

DNA overview summary: Growing enterprises need intelligent, automated networks to keep pace with the speed of the business.

If you are an IT professional, your network needs to just work. It can’t slow to a crawl as you deploy new business applications, analyze real-time data, and collaborate with partners. Your business needs a network that it can rely on.

But in reality, many enterprise networks aren’t up to the task of today’s business needs. They can be sluggish, slowed by manual processes, and hardware that isn’t built for  agile, fast-paced enteprises. In contrast, today’s world is indelibly marked by the technology waves of cloud computing, mobile users and Internet of Things technologies. Companies need infrastructure that can accommodate these trends and move quickly.

Many companies need to migrate to a modern, intelligent network architecture but are mindful of the cost of upgrading. Consider Backcountry.com, an online outdoor apparel e-commerce site, which now uses software-defined networking and analytics to operate a more efficient, cost-effective network. “The margins are very thin and it’s a very competitive environment,” said C.J. Singh, the chief technology officer at Backcountry. “My focus is trying to expand margin as we grow,” he said. 

If your IT team has delayed modernizing your network infrastructure because you’ve categorized it as a nice-to-have project, consider this data. It indicates that IT modernization has priority for many companies.

  • Cost. According to a recent Accenture survey, of nearly 400 respondents 72% say that the cost to maintain their existing network is their key reason for virtualizing it. These respondents plan to spend up to 30% of IT budget on network virtualization services. Among respondents that have already pursued network virtualization, they have seen cost reductions of 25%.
  • Speed of business operations. According to a recent survey, 83% of respondents saw improvements in the speed of application development when network virtualization was used in concert with DevOps, a methodology in which development and IT operations work in tandem.
  • Security and management. Among nearly 1,000 respondents to the 2017 TechTarget IT Priorities Survey, upgrading the network is the top goal for network administrators.

Building your network with Cisco DNA

Your data center infrastructure, and your network, are the onramp to your business goals. Virtualizing, automating and centralizing management of  your networks enables cost savings, augmented network security, and flexibility as you introduce new devices, applications and collaborative partners to your network.

Enterprises need intelligent networks that can prevent traffic bottlenecks, that can proactively identify security threats, and that grow as the business grows.

Cisco’s digital network architecture (DNA) embraces that vision. Here are the four key components of DNA:

  • Virtualization. Freeing your IT infrastructure from hardware dependencies enables you to deploy network services on demand where you need them.  Virtualization enables cost savings and flexibility to accommodate new applications, devices and services.
  • Security. As networks enable capabilities like mobility and cloud computing, they can introduce new security risks by creating new points of access for malicious actors.  Security services within DNA are designed to continuously detect and contain threats faster.
  • Analytics. If you aren’t monitoring network traffic, you can’t be proactive when threats come your way. Network analytics technology can help you identify security threats before they strike. “It’s freed up time for staffer to focus on strategic initiatives rather than spending all the time capturing those analytics,” Singh said.
  • Automation. As your business grows, so does your IT environment. You need technology that can scale and management tools that enable you to provision, configure and manage with automation across your network.

"It’s all about having a network that is automated, that has very sophisticated dashboarding capabilities, and is easy to configure and maintain," Singh said.

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Lauren Horwitz

Lauren Horwitz

Managing Editor, Cisco.com