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The View from Cisco Partner Summit 2018: Part 1

Cloud | Posted on November 29, 2018 by Siobhan Cox

Every year at Cisco Partner Summit, Cisco brings partners, customers, and technology together to explore the future of networking. Together, we find out how to create value and solve customer challenges.

As I reflect on my week spent with Cisco, I was struck by the enthusiasm and conviction of the executive leaders on stage. The momentum and buzz sent a very palpable message: Cisco is back, and they are here to stay.

In this two-part series, I’ll highlight the most compelling takeaways from this event.

The Bridge to Possible

In her opening keynote, Gerri Elliott, EVP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer introduced us to the “Bridge to Possible” campaign. It represents Cisco’s commitment to connect people, places, ideas, and things. It focuses on the good that Cisco enables with its technology, rather than the technology itself. With this campaign, customers will see how the greater good touches all aspects of Cisco’s operations.

Cisco’s overriding goal is to positively impact 1 billion people by 2025. The campaign will drive demand for Cisco and partners with inspirational, transformational stories.

SD-WAN and Re-Thinking Security in a Multi-Cloud World

Cisco partners are witnessing a unique opportunity to deliver game-changing value. That was one of the key messages of EVP & GM of Cisco’s Networking and Security Business Group, David Goeckeler. He discussed the need to enable a cloud-centric network for the modern enterprise. “Cisco is building Multi-Domain Architecture that securely connects any user, on any device, on any network, to any application,” said Goeckeler.

Integral to this is Cisco’s investment in SD-WAN. It’s crucial positioning at this point in history. LogicMonitor predicts that 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020 and that 41% of enterprise workloads will be run on the public cloud by 2020. Digital transformation of the enterprise is the leading factor driving greater public cloud consumption, followed by IT agility. Moreover, according to IDC, while half of IT spending will be cloud-based in 2018, this is growing fast. Soon, it will comprise 60% of all IT infrastructure and 60-70% of all software, services and technology spending by 2020.

This exponential growth poses challenges. All too often, businesses must balance two opposing goals. They have to deliver high app performance across clouds while handling the security risks this implies, compounded by the growth in internet connectivity replacing traditional MPLS infrastructure. According to LogicMonitor, 66% of IT professionals say security is their primary cloud concern.

Summing it up, Goeckler said that “CIOs are required to manage a set of variables that are changing constantly.” Cisco’s new Security architecture will help customers balance those variables. They’re bringing app-aware firewall, intrusion prevention, and URL filtering to their ISR and ASR SD-WAN platforms. With these features, Cisco can provide “no compromise” access to the cloud, while minimizing enterprise risk.

Sachin Gupta, SVP of Enterprise Networking, reinforced this compelling value proposition. He underlined the value of Cisco’s routing, security, and application experience. “IT architecture must be reinvented for the realities of this next-generation digital world,” he said. “Only Cisco can build this multi-domain, intent-based architecture.” There has never been a better time to make this investment. According to IDC, 95% of customers plan to deploy SD-WAN in the next two years.

Optimizing Everything

Cisco and Microsoft are optimizing cloud-based Office 365 application access through SD-WAN. This optimization has many benefits. It will allow organizations to manage everything in a single instance, and it will also create up to 40 percent faster application performance.

Moreover, Cisco announced a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Together, Cisco and Amazon will merge networking, security, management, monitoring, and identity into a consistent and secure environment. That environment will function seamlessly across on-prem data centers and the AWS cloud. While Containers and Kubernetes have provided revolutionary agility, they’ve provided problems, too. IT is hampered by the task of managing and configuring containerized apps in a hybrid and multi-cloud environment.

Available in December 2018, the Cisco Hybrid Solution for Kubernetes on AWS will lighten that load. It will enable IT professionals to securely manage containerized applications in Kubernetes clusters across private data centers and the AWS cloud. This will let developers deliver new apps faster, accelerating innovation and time to market.

New Catalyst 9200 Switch and Catalyst 9800 Wireless LAN Controller

Gupta also took us through the theme of Intent-Based Innovation in the campus. The centrepiece was the introduction of new additions to Cisco’s iconic Catalyst portfolio. Between the versatile 9200 model and the powerful 9800 model, there was something for every enterprise.

“We’re excited to bring the full power of Cisco’s intent-based capabilities to everyone, everywhere,” said Gupta. “We want to give IT the tools they need to automate and see the network end-to-end. Our expanded Catalyst 9000 portfolio lets customers do this not only for large wired networks but for wireless and simple branch deployments too.”

The Catalyst 9200 is a mid-market and branch intent-based network offering. At an accessible price point, it provides the full suite of enterprise services. This will allow more companies to take advantage of this intelligent, powerful platform.

Meanwhile, the new Catalyst 9800 Wireless LAN Controller offers wired and wireless intent-based networking. The single software controller helps automate the entire network, across deployments of all sizes. The controller can be used on-prem, in the cloud, or embedded virtually on Catalyst 9000 switches. It supports today’s wireless standards and is ready for the 802.11ax standard. It also elevates wireless services with smooth software updates, new threat defence, and better programmability.

These switches will help organizations unlock the full value of Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA). The goal is to help customers streamline operations and boost IT and business innovation.

What’s next?

In Part 2, you’ll find out how Cisco is changing networking on the micro and macro scale. Stay tuned for more insights.

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