Cisco automation tools make it easier for network admins to improve performance, security

The new Cisco Crosswork Network Automation portfolio is a comprehensive closed-loop multi-vendor, multi-domain automation solution.

    Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
    • The new Cisco Crosswork Network Automation software portfolio is aimed at global service providers with large-scale networks.
    • The portfolio offers greater network visibility at scale, data-driven insights using augmented intelligence, and outcome-based automation.

    Cisco has a new automation software portfolio that helps global service providers manage massive amounts of network data and better prepare for impending security threats.

    "We built out an entirely new portfolio of automation tools. It really centers on the fact that our customers have a whole set of challenges. They're currently spending on average somewhere between 3-4 times the amount to operate an infrastructure than they are just to purchase the infrastructure," said Jonathan Davidson, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Service Provider Networking.

    SEE: Network security policy (Tech Pro Research download)

    In 2016, there were 17 billion devices and connections running on service provider networks and this is forecast to grow to 27 billion by 2021. To address this shift, the Cisco Crosswork Network Automation portfolio will assist industry adoption of complete lifecycle network automation and intent-based networking to help networks predict change and react in near real time.

    "When you think about all of the traffic that these devices are putting on the infrastructure and all of the infrastructure that's going to have to grow to support those connected elements, it's actually hard for the human brain to comprehend," Davidson said.

    The new software technologies in the portfolio are:

    • Cisco Crosswork Change Automation: Automated operations application that enables large-scale change and closed-loop control
    • Cisco Crosswork Health Insights: Smart sensors, smart alerts, and smart remediation to monitor and optimize networks
    • Cisco Crosswork Data Platform: Featuring both an open source and commercial-class data analytics platform
    • Cisco Crosswork Network Insights: Cloud-based analytics solution for solving large-scale routing issues
    • Cisco Crosswork Situation Manager: Machine learning-based event correlation with social operations

    Global service provider Telstra is one of the companies using the new software portfolio.

    David Robertson, director of network transport and routing engineering for Telstra, said in a press release: "Our work with Cisco to reinvent our network operations through orchestration, automation and advanced data models offers us valuable insight for mass data collection, applying analytics and machine learning, and taking decisive action through automation."

    Some of the customer challenges the portfolio addresses include:

    • Human driven network changes are error prone, time consuming, and lack comprehensive validation.
      • Cisco Network Services Orchestrator transforms network changes into intent-driven deployments with automatic validation
    • Data silos make network data impossible to analyze and correlate.
      • Cisco Crosswork Data Platform creates a single point to seamlessly collect, analyze, and visualize network data across multiple services and domains
    • Customer experience suffers when variations in network quality go unnoticed.
      • The Cisco Crosswork Data Platform, combined with Cisco Crosswork Health Insights, utilizes real-time visualization with analytics to provide unparalleled insight into network performance.
    • The time needed to manually identify network problems results in significant business impacts when outages occur.
      • Cisco Crosswork Situation Manager uses artificial intelligence algorithms to automatically triangulate faults across multiple network domains, drastically reducing the time to isolate network outages, and provide root cause analysis to prevent future outages
    • Remediating network problems is a slow and manual process.
      • Cisco Crosswork Change Automation uses analytics enhanced closed-loop automation to automatically remediate network issues as they happen
    • Global Routing Scale errors can cause dramatic outages.
      • Cisco Crosswork Network Insights enables a cloud-first approach for resolving challenges in the rapidly changing global routing environment
    • Networks are not continually optimized for business and service needs.
      • Cisco WAN Automation Engine (WAE) and XR Traffic Controller (XTC) use advanced telemetry and analytics to improve network performance in real time without human intervention

    "The end destination for the Cisco Crosswork Network Automation family is about enabling our customers to ultimately have a self healing and optimizing infrastructure without service interruption or human intervention," Davidson said. "It's important to note that intent driven networking is not new to Cisco, but making sure that you can support mass scale, multi-vendor networks requires a very unique approach that transforms and leverages common intelligence and make it customizable so that you can evolve it over time."

    Also see:

    Image: phonlamaiphoto/iStock

    About Teena Maddox

    Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

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