Cisco announces the new Network Assurance Engine for IBN


At the Cisco Live event in Barcelona, the company has announced its new three assurance software products, described as the second wave of intent-based networking (IBN) innovations, which also allowed Cisco to offer “an industry leading end-to-end intent-based networking portfolio, which spans the data center, campus, branch, and edge”.

Announced back in June last year, the intent-based networking (IBN) is a software/system which can operate on both SDN-based or non-SDN based networks and help to plan, design and implement/operate networks in order to improve network availability and agility.

According to Cisco, IBN changes the data center networking game by “capturing the intent you want from your network, then automating, enforcing, and assuring it across your diverse data center network”.

Cisco has also announced the Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA), a technology which is also a part of its IBN approach and has an ability to detect malware hidden in encrypted traffic by using machine learning-based approach. Earlier this month, the technology has become generally available for most Cisco switch and routing platforms.

Intent-based networking has been a focus of Cisco for quite some time and has been exploring the use of machine learning to understand what is happening on the network and building “a more intuitive network” and some of the technologies included DNA Center, Software-Defined Access (SD-Acces), Network Data Platform and Assurance, a completely new set of services called “DNA Services”, and Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA).

Today, Cisco has further expanded its IBN with the introduction of three new assurance software products. When it comes to intent-based networking, assurance software uses mathematically accurate models and further knowledge to give an ability to check why and when the network is not acting as intended and even offer suggestions on how to address the issue.

  • In the data center, the Cisco Network Assurance Engine uses continuous verification of the entire network to help keep the business running as intended, even as the network changes dynamically.
  • In campus and branch networks, Cisco DNA Center Assurance is delivering a new level of insight and visibility to dramatically reduce the time and money IT spends troubleshooting across wired and wireless environments.
  • For customers with distributed IT operations, the new Cisco Meraki Wireless Health reduces mean time to remediate wireless issues with rich analytics and insights.

“The network has never been more critical to business success,” said David Goeckeler, executive vice president, Networking and Security Business at Cisco. “We’re reinventing the network ground up to deliver a secure and intelligent platform for digital business. Today, we are taking another major step toward that ambitious goal with intent-based networking innovations designed to deliver contextual insights and assurance that will help transform IT from reactive to proactive.”

When it comes to data centers and the new Cisco Network Assurance Engine, it gives a comprehensive view of the network and allows IT administrators to:

  • Predict the Impact of Changes: Make changes to the network faster and with more confidence, catching human configuration errors before they cause problems.
  • Continuously Verify Network Behavior: Proactively eliminate network outages and vulnerabilities by continuously analyzing the state of the entire network.
  • Assure Security Policy and Compliance: Reduce risk by assuring that security policies are being applied consistently across the network, and ensure policies are compliant with business requirements—every minute of every day.

In campus and branch, the Cisco DNA Center Assurance brings 360-degree contextual view and allows for three major issues to be addressed, including problem isolation, problem replication, and problem resolution.

The last piece of software, called the Cisco Meraki Wireless Health, which is aimed at customers with distributed IT operations, uses a cloud-managed IT model to automate operations, simplifying the complexity of IT and allow IT teams to identify wireless anomalies, find poorly performing access point and clients, and provide actionable insights to improve the wireless experience.

According to Cisco, the Network Assurance Engine and the Network Assurance Engine are available now while the Meraki Wireless Health will be available later this quarter. All three software pieces are available for license on a subscription plan.