Leveraging AI, Cisco unveils 'network of the future'


SAN FRANCISCO : Global networking major Cisco has unveiled new "intent-based" networking solutions that were developed with significant inputs from its Global Development Centre in Bengaluru and represent a "significant breakthrough in enterprise networking". The new networking architecture, which leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and claims to detect security threats with 99 per cent accuracy, will also have a subscription pricing model and has been dubbed as "The Network. Intuitive."


"By building a more intuitive network, we are creating an intelligent platform with unmatched security for today and for the future that propels businesses forward," Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said at an event here on Tuesday.

The system, described by Robbins as "a new network for a new eraa, anticipates actions, stops security threats and evolves and learns on the go. It is, Robbins added, "going to drive networking for the next 30 years".

A result of "years of research and development", the new network has been tested by 75 global enterprises and organisations -- including Wipro in India.

The Global Development Centre in Bengaluru, which contributed to the new network, is Cisco's largest outside the US. The one-million square foot campus houses R&D, IT and customer support teams. 

Over 800 patents have been filed from India and over 480 issued for innovations across all technologies.

"The network has never been more critical to business success, but it's also never been under more pressure," said Robbins, adding that "intuitive network is powered by intent and informed by context".

"Intent-based" networking allows IT to move from traditional processes to automating intent, making it possible to manage millions of devices in minutes -- crucial to helping organisations navigate an expanding technology landscape, said the company, which posted revenues of close to $50 billion last year.

What enables the network to provide new insights is its ability to interpret data in context. This results in better security, more customised experiences and faster operations, it added.

The new network also provides machine-learning at scale. Cisco is using the vast data that flows through its networks around the world, with machine learning built in and unleashing that data to provide "actionable, predictive insights".

The technologies that power the intuitive network include what has been called the Cisco DNA (Digital Network Architecture) that provides customers with a portfolio of hardware and software designed to work together as a single system and "empower customers to move at digital speed".

It also provides a DNA Centre, a centralised management dashboard that allows IT to "centralise management of all network functions".

Another key element is Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA) which "solves a network security challenge previously thought to be unsolvable", said David Goeckeler, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Networking and Security at Cisco.

"ETA uses the Talos cyber intelligence to detect known attack signatures even in encrypted traffic, helping to ensure security while maintaining privacy."

Almost half of all cyber attacks are now hidden in encrypted traffic. By using Cisco's Talos cyber intelligence and machine learning to analyse metadata traffic patterns, "the network can identify the fingerprints of known threats even in encrypted traffic, without decrypting it and impacting data privacy", the company said.

On the hardware front, the company also announced the new Catalyst 9000 series of switches "built from the ground up for the new realities of the digital era, centered on the demands of mobility, cloud, IoT and security".

In a departure from the past, Cisco is now making software subscription an essential element of its switching portfolio. 

When purchasing the new Catalyst 9000 family of switches, customers will access the DNA software capabilities by subscription, either via pre-bundled Cisco ONE software suites or a-la-carte components.

In India, the company - which began operations in the country in 1995 -- saw profits grow 340 per cent in the 2016 financial year on the back of Smart City initiatives and its partnership with Reliance Jio.

With an all-IP converged network provided by Cisco, Reliance Jio will offer high-speed data, mobile video, VoLTE, digital commerce, media, Cloud and payment services.

Cisco employs almost 12,000 people across its various centres in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Gurugram.

Image Credit : Youtube


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