If you were at Cisco Live this year, you’re bound to have noticed a major shift in Cisco’s IT focus. As the undisputed leader in traditional networking, Cisco is now turning its focus towards Software Defined Networking (SDN), the shiny new toy in the network industry. With that change in focus comes a variety of exciting developments that were announced at this year’s Cisco Live.
1. Application-Centric Infrastructure
Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) was introduced as Cisco’s flagship SDN solution back in 2014. You may never have heard of ACI (or maybe even SDN). But you’re most likely very familiar with the product that they use to run ACI—the Cisco Nexus 9000 series switches. NX-OS with NX-API and Linus bash shell allows companies to run automation and monitoring on Cisco Nexus without relying on a 3rd party application. Small to medium companies choose to go this route first, before converting the Nexus9000 into ACI mode since ACI is more expensive.
2. Security enhancements
The Cisco Security portfolio has been essentially rebuilt from the ground up, and is now stronger than ever. Recent additions and acquisitions have re-established Cisco as the network security gold standard.
- ASA: The Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) has now been paired with the FirePOWER service: an IDS/IPS solution that was recently acquired by Cisco. The parent company, Sourcefire, was, in my opinion, the #1 company for IDS/ISP. Its core product, Snort, is an industry standard in network security.
- Next-Generation Firewall: The Firepower Series of products brings new innovation into the Cisco firewall portfolio. In addition to firewall technology, Firepower incorporates next-generation IPS, application visibility and control (AVC), and DDoS (using Radware), all in one appliance.
- Stealthwatch: A new monitoring product acquired from Lancope, Stealthwatch helps customers analyze their networks to better respond to attacks.
- ISE: Cisco Identity Services Engine (controls endpoints devices) recently got refreshed and is now fully integrated with the rest of the security portfolio.
- Cisco Tetration Analytics: Introduced during the keynote, this product provides more visibility into application behavior within the data center.
iWAN or Intelligent WAN is Cisco’s new software-defined WAN solution. It provides automation and QoS-based policy routing control on WAN networks. It can be deployed as an MPLS replacement or in hybrid mode to control WAN traffic between MPLS and regular internet circuits. iWAN is currently gaining traction with larger companies that have complex WAN design and high QoS requirements.
This cloud-based solution began as Wireless Access Point and simple firewall and is now a full-fledged, next-generation, cloud-enabled firewall appliance. With high-powered Wireless Access Point and switching capabilities, administrators get full control and visibility into network traffic, whether the endpoints are wireless or wired. For Zumasys customers, Meraki is going to be the solution of choice for wireless networking. Cisco Meraki certification is also now included as part of Cisco CCIE certification under the CCIE DNA (Cisco Certified Internetwork Engineer, Digital Network Architect) program.
Each of these new technologies and developments is helping customers address new and persistent networking challenges while giving IT admins more tools to innovate and grow the business. Contact Zumasys today to find out how you can get the most out of your Cisco infrastructure to take your IT into the next generation.