Introduction to Cisco Crosswork Network Controller

Introduction to Cisco Crosswork Network Controller

A network automation and orchestration technology called Cisco Crosswork Network Controller offers a centralized, policy-based method of controlling multi-domain, multi-vendor networks. It can interface with other Cisco and third-party products to give end-to-end network visibility and control. 

It can automate network administration chores including device provisioning, software upgrades, and troubleshooting.

Using a common UI and API, Cisco Crosswork Network Controller integrates Network Services Orchestrator (NSO), Segment Routing Path Computation Element (SR-PCE), and Crosswork applications. 

Intent-based and closed-loop automation solutions are provided by the solution to help you manage your end-to-end networks proactively and to ensure rapid innovation, a positive user experience, and operational excellence.

Purpose of Cisco Crosswork Network Controller

  • By defining optimization goals (latency/IGP/TE metric minimization) and limitations (affinities, disjoint paths, bandwidth), segment routing (SR) traffic engineering policies can be provided for services with specified SLAs.
  • Offer L2VPN and L3VPN services with corresponding SLAs.
  • To keep the SLAs, gather real-time performance data and optimize the network. When there is traffic on the network, strategically improve it.
  • Take advantage of services for optimizing bandwidth in real time.
  • Adapt the solution to your unique needs by using the APIs.

Cisco Crosswork Network Controller Components
  • Cisco Network Service Orchestrator (NSO)
  • Segment Routing Path Computation Element (SR-PCE)
  • Cisco Crosswork Data Gateway
  • Cisco Crosswork Optimization Engine
  • Cisco Crosswork Active Topology
  • Crosswork Common UI and API
  • Cisco Crosswork ZTP 
Cisco Network Service Orchestrator (NSO)
Cisco Crosswork Network Controller relies on Cisco NSO for device management and configuration maintenance. For the provisioning of segment routing policies and VPN services, as well as the configuration of telemetry

The Core Function Pack for Segment Routing Traffic Engineering (SR-TE) enables the provisioning of segment routing policies with SLAs, such as bandwidth and latency under the part of Cisco Network Service Orchestrator (NSO)

By utilizing SR rules created using the SR-TE Core Function Pack, the Services Sample Function Pack makes it possible to provision Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN services on routers. To meet the needs of individual customers, the sample function pack can be expanded and altered.

Segment Routing Path Computation Element (SR-PCE)
Telemetry and the Cisco Crosswork Network Controller's Segment Routing Path Computation Element (SR-PCE) are combined to assess and calculate the best SR policy paths. The Cisco IOS XR operating system powers Cisco SR-PCE. Stateful PCE capabilities from SR-PCE aids in controlling and relocating SR policies to improve the network. 

A Path Computation Client (PCC) can report and hand over management of head-end tunnels sourced from the PCC to a PCE peer via a series of protocols referred to as PCE.

The Path Computation Element Communication Protocol (PCEP) link is established between the PCC and PCE and is used by SR-PCE to deliver changes to the network.

Cisco Crosswork Data Gateway
It is common for networks to maintain a large amount of data spanning thousands of devices. To collect and manage this data, Cisco Crosswork Network Controller uses Cisco Crosswork Data Gateway (Crosswork CDG).

It collects data from network devices for northbound traffic, including physical (e.g., ENTITY-MIB, IF-MIB) and logical (e.g., LAG, VRF) objects. Multiple protocols are used to collect data from network devices, including CLI, SNMP, and Model Driven Telemetry.

Cisco Crosswork Optimization Engine
By offering real-time network optimization, Cisco Crosswork Optimization Engine enables operators to more efficiently maximize network capacity utilization and boost service velocity. 

In order to provide a self-healing network, real-time protocols like BGP-LS and Path Computation Element Communication Protocol (PCEP) are used by SR-PCE and Crosswork Optimization Engine to enable closed-loop tracking of the network status.

Cisco Crosswork Active Topology
Active Topology, a Cisco product, provides logical and geographical mapping of the Cisco Crosswork topology and services.

Crosswork Common UI and API
Crosswork Common UI offers an integrated user interface for device onboarding and administration, NSO service provisioning, Cisco Crosswork Optimization Engine for SR policy visualization, and Cisco Crosswork Active Topology for service inventory and topology visualization. 

For the purpose of facilitating interaction with higher level controllers and orchestrators, the Crosswork API offers a RESTCONF interface.

Cisco Crosswork ZTP 
Application Cisco Crosswork ZTP can be deployed in addition to Cisco Crosswork Network Controller.

By automatically onboarding and provisioning new IOS-XR devices, Cisco Crosswork ZTP is an integrated turnkey solution that enables new hardware to be deployed more quickly and at a lower operational expense. 

Using a day-zero software configuration and a software image that has received Cisco certification, operators may quickly and simply bring devices up. The newly provisioned device is then added to the Crosswork device inventory where it may be managed and monitored similarly to other devices.

While accessing remote network devices through a public Internet resource or when using third-party manufactured equipment, Secure ZTP is advantageous. 

Using the device's Secure Unique Device Identifier (SUDI) and Crosswork server certificates across TLS/HTTPS, the device and the Cisco Crosswork ZTP bootstrap server authenticate one another using Secure ZTP. 

The Crosswork bootstrap server enables the device to ask to download and use a set of signed image and configuration artefacts complying to the RFC 8572 YANG schema after a secure HTTPS channel has been established.


A robust platform for managing multi-domain, multi-vendor networks, Cisco Crosswork Network Controller offers automation, policy-based management, analytics, and integration with other products.

This can aid network managers in increasing visibility and control over their networks while also enhancing network performance and reducing human efforts.