Cisco boosts its virtualization offering with Digital Network Architecture

Cisco has launched a new system which aims to virtualize every conceivable network function possible for clients and take them through the painful process of digital transformation.

The networking vendor has announced its new Digital Network Architecture (DNA), which it describes as an open, software driven framework. The DNA will complement and extend the policies of its data centre based Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) technology throughout the entire network, Cisco says.

Whereas ACI software defined the network, DNA will help enterprises to define everything from the campus to the branch, whether the network is wired or wireless, at the core or at the edge, says Cisco. DNA will sit within the Cisco ONE Software family, in order to simplify software licensing and help protect investments by providing continuity.

The Cisco DNA is built on five guiding principles, which can be summarized as virtualize everything, automate management, analyse everything everywhere, one policy for the entire network and keep every layer of networking as open and extensible as possible.

The mission to virtualizing everything that can be possibly software defined will maximise the options for telcos and all enterprises. This gives the clients the choice to run any service anywhere, independent of the underlying platform, be it physical or virtual, on premise or in the cloud, says Cisco. Yesterday Cisco announced the acquisition of Leaba Semiconductor, which specializes in networking semi-conductors which could play a central role in the virtualization of networking functions and maximise the possibilities for embedding virtualized functions.

Automating network management will maximise the speed and efficiency of the virtualized functions of an enterprise, but this may be regulated by the third important DNA principle, the need to have pervasive analytics. Analytics will provide the checks and balances needed to keep the network and IT infrastructure meeting its performance potential. Similarly, a virtualized network can only be an efficient cloud if service management from the cloud can unify policy and orchestration across the network. On Monday BCN reported how Cisco plans to buy cloud orchestration specialist CliQr.

The key to preventing network sclerosis is keeping everything open and accessible, which is why Cisco’s fifth guiding principle for DNA is to keep everything open, extensible and programmable at every layer, so that Cisco and third party technology can be integrated.

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