Have an account?

  •   Personalized content
  •   Your products and support

Need an account?

Create an account

Cisco Network Architecture for the Digital Era - A Primer

Cisco Network Architecture for the Digital Era

A Primer

Digital Transformation Is Here

Innovate or Dissipate

Organizations that master digital transformation are 26% more profitable.1

Book stats graph


Revenue Growth

Brick and Mortar > Online
Book stats graph

200 Cities

45 Countries

Taxi > E-hailing (Uber, Lyft)
Book stats graph

40 Million


CD > Download, Streaming
Book stats graph


in Transactions in 2014

Transactional > Actionable Insights
Book stats graph


of Digital Ad Revenue Worldwide

Print > Digital

Technology Is Strategic to CEOs

When asked, “How strategically important are these technologies?” CEOs responded:2

  • 81%Mobility

  • 80%Analytics

  • 78%Security

  • 65%Internet of Things (IoT)

  • 60%Cloud Computing

Disrupt icon

To transform, businesses use IT to DISRUPT.

Innovate icon

To disrupt, IT relies on the network as the platform to INNOVATE.

Digitize icon

To innovate, the network needs a next-generation architecture to DIGITIZE.


Digital Transformation IT Challenges


Current State of the Network

When asked about the current state of their network, organizations responded:

IT Responsibility icon

IT Responsibility

79% said IT should ensure the network can support the company’s digital plans.3

Security concerns icon

Security Concerns

85% claimed improving data security is the top business priority.3

New Mobile devices icon

New Mobile

20% have already deployed wearables in the workplace.4

Cloud growth icon

Cloud Growth

57% are using or planning to implement some form of cloud.5

network icon


Less than 10% have clear integration between their network and digital business strategies.6

67% of businesses believe the current network is a bottleneck in Enterprise IT.3

In end-user IT and business executives’ view, networks and communications add value to digital business and IoT through security, bandwidth, agility, and integration with existing technology.6

Networks need to be agile, with greater programmability and automation capabilities.7


Network Evolution for the Digital Era

Information-Era Network

From Manual, Rigid, Device-Centric to

  • Closed and Hardware-Centric
  • Manual Box-by-Box Management
  • Perimeter-Based Reactive Security
  • IT and Historical Analytics

Digital-Ready Network

Automated, Flexible, Networkwide

  • Open, Programmable, Software-Driven
  • Networkwide, Policy-Based Automation
  • Proactive, Context-Based Security Everywhere
  • Business and Real-Time Analytics

Why Evolve to a
Digital-Ready Network?

IT Capabilities

  • Increase Flexibility
  • Simplify IT Operations
  • Protect Against Threats
Linking scheme

Business Outcomes

  • Accelerate Innovation
  • Lower Costs
  • Reduce Risk

What’s Holding IT Back?

  • Business
  • Unproven technologiesUnproven
  • Immature Architecture StrategyImmature
    Architecture Strategy
  • Security ConcernsSecurity
  • Lack of Trusted PartnersLack of
    Trusted Partners
  • Closed SolutionsClosed
  • Scarce New Skill SetsScarce New
    Skill Sets

Cisco Digital Network Architecture

A Network Architecture for the Digital Era

New principle

Cloud Enabled

Network-Enabled Applications

Cloud Service Management

  • Policy
  • Orchestration


Abstraction & Policy Control from Core to Edge


  • Network Data
  • Contextual Insights


  • Physical & Virtual Infrastructure
  • App Hosting

Cisco ONE Software Delivered


  • Insights & Experiences
    Insights &
  • Automation & Assurance
    Automation &
  • Security & Compliance
    Security &

The Cisco Digital Network
Architecture Delivers:

Faster Innovation: Workforce Experience


With New Digital Capabilities

  • Anytime, anywhere mobile workforce
  • Bring-your-own X (device, app, wearable)
  • Flexible work environments
  • Optimize workplace efficiency


By Enhancing IT Capabilities

  • Secure access to mobile and cloud apps
  • Protect devices, apps, data, and networks
  • Deploy collaborative workspaces with wireless and video
  • Implement carpeted IoT and location services

Faster Innovation: Customer Experience


With New Digital Offerings

  • Enhance customer service and loyalty
  • Deliver consistent online and in-venue relationship
  • Gain insights that help optimize business processes


For an Immersive Experience

  • Provide personalized mobile experiences
  • Promote rich omni-channel experiences
  • Deliver contextual network-enabled data and analytics

Simplicity: Lower Cost and Complexity


Traditional Business Models

  • Decrease operating costs
  • Accelerate deployment of new apps and services
  • Streamline network operations


With New IT Capabilities

  • Simplify design, deployment, and operations
  • Automate service provisioning
  • Consistently manage services networkwide

Security: Reduce Risk and Meet Compliance


Siloed Approach

  • Mitigate vulnerabilities and threat impact
  • Accelerate response and containment of threats
  • Ensure compliance and business continuance


Network Security Capabilities

  • Provide context-aware access control
  • Implement network as sensor and enforcer capabilities
  • Ensure network is compliant and resilient

Cisco Digital Network Architecture Delivers Real Business Benefits

  • Greater Business

    85%Faster network services provisioning8

  • Increased IT

    79%Reduced network installation costs9

  • Investment

    2XSoftware value vs. à la carte with license portability10

  • Reduced

    99.2%Breach protection11

  • Resource

    80%Energy savings and reduced building maintenance costs12


  • 8. Based on IWAN App – Estimate based on workflow changing from 900 CLI lines to 10 GUI clicks.
  • 9. PnP App – Based on average installation cost for SWM, Rolls Royce Engines and Kaiser Permanente installation costs.
  • 10. Cisco ONE Software Buying Model for Access and WAN Based on Cisco Threat-Centric Infrastructure Study, 2015.
  • 11. Based on Cisco Threat-Centric Infrastructure Study, 2015.
  • 12. Cisco Energy Management Solution with Philips LED Systems.

When evaluating a network architecture to fuel your digital transformation, use the following requirements checklist to guide your network vendor and technology architecture assessment.

Requirements Checklist for Vendor Evaluation

Ask your vendors:

  • Can you demonstrate the business benefits of your architecture?
  • Can you help us migrate our installed base seamlessly to a software-centric architecture?
  • Do you offer investment protection?
  • Is your architecture networkwide (access, core, WAN, branch)?
  • Is your architecture open and standards-based?
  • Do you have broad partner or services ecosystem support?
  • Does your architecture simplify sustainable network compliance and support security certifications?
  • Can you help us develop our network team’s skill set to support a programmable network?
  • Do you have a proven track record to be a trusted partner for the long-term, to support IT through the journey to digital?
  • Do you or your partners offer a full portfolio of professional and technical architecture services?

Requirements for Technology Architecture Assessment


  • Can you offer on-premises and cloud-managed network consumption models?
  • Does your architecture enable end-to-end service automation?
  • Is your architecture designed for provisioning of services from the cloud?
  • Is your architecture designed to support a controller-based programmable network?
  • Is your architecture built to support virtualization that enables network services and hosted third-party apps to be deployed consistently across network devices, appliances, and virtual platforms?


  • Can your management system create and apply networkwide policy and services through standard APIs and traditional interfaces?
  • To what extent does the architecture support consistent northbound APIs for third-party management or control applications?


  • Can your network act as a networkwide security sensor and intelligence dashboard?
  • Can your network enforce contextual security policies and respond to contain threats?
Download PDF

For more information, visit: