Cisco DNA - Digital Network Architecture

By Garry Hamilton

Cisco Digital Network Architecture DNA, the revolution in the network world

Cisco DNA Digital Network Architecture, the new trend in the networking industry, accompanied with a bundle of amazing features, is stealing the lights from all other vendors to the favor of Cisco, so what is Cisco Digital Network Architecture DNA and how does Cisco introduces it?

Quoting from Cisco’s own website, “Cisco DNA takes a software-delivered approach to automating and assuring services across your campus, WAN, and branch networks. Based on an open and extensible platform, DNA allows you to build value on the network, so you can streamline operations and facilitate IT and business innovation.”

So let’s explore each part of this definition and deep dive into its meanings and use cases.

First of all, what is the meaning of Software-delivered approach? Software-delivered approach means that this whole solution is based on Software Defined Networking SDN concept as the building block for those technologies, and as it is already known for most of us that Software Defined Networking SDN is based on the idea of abstracting the Control plane for the various network devices from the underlying hardware, this way the network devices can be programmed directly to dynamically and perfectly fulfill the differing requirements of applications transferred through those network devices.  


Coming to the second part of the definition of Cisco Digital Network Architecture DNA, automating and assuring services across your campus, WAN, and branch networks. How such a fancy statement can be done!!! Again the magic behind those features is in the Software Defined Networks SDN capabilities of the network devices. Since the control plane is abstracted from the underlying infrastructure, whether this infrastructure is part of the campus, the WAN, or the branch, and neglecting the fact that those platforms may be so different in many aspects, such as the performance and the offered capabilities, using the Software Defined Networks SDN those platforms can act so similarly so the users can feel no difference in his experience while moving among those different environments. This means the same experience for the users whether they are working in-site in the campus, or working over the WAN from distance, or even working over other branches or Small office Home office SoHo environments over a VPN connection. Same experience means the same Quality of Service QoS profiles, same Access Control Lists ACLs, same privileges, and same Authentication and authorization methods, etc…




The third part of the definition of Cisco Digital Network Architecture DNA talks about an open and extensible platform, this openness comes from the fact that Cisco Digital Network Architecture DNA solution is based on open platform Application Programmable Interfaces APIs, featuring a lot of adapters and Software Development Kits SDKs, which assures that those platforms are programmable and software-centric that integrate with applications, systems, and domains beyond the network. That’s why Cisco considers this openness the fuel to innovation and focuses on the 360-degree extensibility provided by their Digital Network Architecture DNA solution.


Considering the previously explained concepts, the last part of the definition of Cisco Digital Network Architecture DNA is self-explanatory, since this extensibility, automation, openness, and all the other features of the solution does streamline IT operations, and using this solution, the required time to achieve network related operation can be minimized from hours or even days to minutes, all this while eliminating any kind of human-related errors by using user friendly wizards and workflows.


Finally, let’s explore the components of Cisco Digital Network Architecture DNA solution and explain each of them briefly:

Cisco DNA Center: This component sits at the heart of the solution, which is a single dashboard to manage the entire Cisco Digital Network Architecture DNA solution, this dashboard does simplify network operations by providing network administrators with an intuitive workflow to make it easy to design, provision, and monitor the network.


Cisco DNA Center increases user satisfaction with a policy-driven onboarding experience and increases network uptime, streamlines IT, integrates with other domains and supports 3rd party vendor devices.


Cisco IOS XE software: This relatively new operating system, which is the successor of the Cisco IOS operating system, built with flexibility in the core if it, so it does support programmability, controller-based automation, and serviceability.


Cisco Software Defined Access (SD-Access): Facilitates segmentation and automates user access policies by converting the previously separated wired, wireless and Internet of Things IoT environments into one unified fabric, thus making the onboarding procedures much easier for both the administrator and the user himself, disregarding the device type or location.


Cisco Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN): This architecture allows the IT administrators to centrally manage the WAN and the branches centrally and as one entity, thus delivers better user experiences for applications residing on premise or in the cloud. Achieves greater agility and cost savings through easier deployments and transport independence.

Cisco DNA Security: The Cisco Digital Network Architecture allows the usage of the network devices as sensors, which allows real-time analysis and intelligence, and enables you to have more granular control to enforce policy and contain threats across the network.


Cisco DNA ready devices: Those devices built from the ground up with Cisco Digital Network Architecture DNA software capabilities in mind to move faster, more efficiently and more securely. The Cisco Digital Network Architecture DNA capable devices span from wireless access points APs and wireless controllers, passing through switching platforms like new models from the Catalyst family, Meraki and some Nexus cards, and ending by routing platforms like the 4000 ISR, ASR, CSR and Meraki families.


Finally, and due to the previously mentioned great features and superior capabilities offered by Cisco Digital Network Architecture DNA solution, and considering many success stories of our happy customers who already deployed those solutions, we at Network devices Inc pay a special attention to those platforms among our versatile portfolio of Cisco products, and we hope that you will have the chance to take a look at these products, including





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