SD-Access and Why to Evolve Network Deployment?

 



An overview

Hello everyone, today I’ll cover the Cisco Software-Defined Access solution overview (Eagle View) and the need of today's Digital Ready enterprise that SD-Access fulfill.

SD-Access is an evolution of the traditional manual approach of design and deployment of the network components in the Campus network with the help of a controller-based system with simple business intent inputs. It adds flexibility, scalability, and efficiency, which is automated and quickly meets the business’s requirements.  

DNA Center and SD-Access

DNA Center host the SD-Access application. It is right to say SD-Access is one of the capabilities of DNA Center. DNA Center is the centralized controller to take care of the complete life-cycle of network devices starting from Day 0 (Onboarding/provisioning), Day 1 (deployment of the device), Day 2 (Monitoring & troubleshooting device), and day n (optimize the performance). Network performance, network insight, and device telemetry are available using the Assurance and Analytics application of DNA Center.

Note: DNA Center can exist in a network where SD-Access is not there to start the enterprise Digital Transformation Journey – with Automation and Assurance.

SD-Access and Fabric Technology

Yes, SD-Access is implemented as a fabric topology with a programmable overlay network. This programmable overlay network is deployed on the hardware to achieve various business use-cases. This overlay allows a kind of network virtualization where different networks are running securely on the same platform. Apart from the network virtualization capability, SD-Access also implements Communication Control using the identity-based policy network and segmentation using TrustSec – microsegment of groups in a virtual network using Scalable Group Tags (SGT).

Figure 1: Cisco SD-Access Components

Why to evolve Network Deployment?

Everything around us is evolving, including the way we live, work, and play. The enterprise customers and their networks are not the exceptions. Organizations are now changing to Digital Ready Organizations because, as the primary thumb rule states, “Everything that can be digitized must be digitized. This very trend is forcing every enterprise to develop a new set of applications at a rapid pace. These business applications are generating revenue and are the interface between the services enterprises offer and their customer. However, the speed at which applications are developed, networks are not able to meet the same pace. This slow evolution of the networks to deliver seamless access to business applications to end-user/client is a bottleneck in the digital transformation journey.  Because the campus network is used by people with different levels of access and their BYOD devices to access these applications, the wired and wireless LAN capabilities should be enhanced to support those changing needs.

Key Requirements for Enterprise Digitalization

Automation – controller-based Automation to meet the requirement of large-scale network-wide changes – an example could be changing the QoS parameter to meet the application experience SLA. This task in a traditional network becomes a kind of project for the network team with a manual approach. Therefore Automation is a key requirement today to enhance the time to market for business applications.

Unified Wired and wireless network policies – end-user may connect to the network application based on their convenience (wired or wireless network). There is a need to treat both the networks as a single with consistent policies.

Insights and Assurance - Businesses need insights around how the platform (consisting of network devices) is working, which is core to the run business. This visibility is not limited to the network, but they need visibility around how applications and the clients work.  

Zero-Trust Network – identifying the network clients/devices, authorizing then to what they intend to access, and accounting for they are doing over the network is another key requirement.

Network Virtualization – always utilize the full capacity/capability of the hardware and virtualization is the solution. Organizations are looking for ways to virtualize networks to use one hardware to implement sub-networks securely.

Is Cisco SD-Access & DNA meeting Digital Organizations' requirements?

To some extent, yes, things are in line and help customers to onboard on the digital transformation journey and meet the above-stated requirement –

Requirement

Solution

Automation

DNA Center – Automation and Analytics Application

Unified Wired & Wireless Network

SD-Access – Fabric technology unified wired and wireless network and their policies

Insights & Assurance

DNA Center – Assurance Application

Zero-Trust Network

Integration DNA Center + ISE + Campus Fabric

Network Virtualization

Macro and Micro Segmentation (using SGT)

Network Virtualization

Virtual Network

 

See you soon with more deep content on this. Take care and stay safe!