CCNA R&S Article #4 - An Intro to Cisco DNA Center


CCNA R&S Article #4 – An Introduction to Cisco DNA Center

Cisco DAN Center is a powerful network controller & management platform to manage network devices that include Cisco Switches, Wireless AP, Controller, and Routers. This helps the network team to speed up network changes throughout the entire network. It resulted in less time to make configuration changes across the network and identify and resolve network-related issues. There are 5 core applications/pillars that make DNA Center a powerful network management platform. These five pillars are - Design, Policy, Provision, Assurance, and Platform


This design application allows network administrators to design the network aspect that we used to perform using spreadsheets, PowerPoint, word documents, etc. During the design phase network team can use simple workflows (guided instructions) to perform tasks like what are the Sites, Buildings, and Floors of a facility, what should be the IP Schema, and Standard Configurations parameters – DHCP, DNS, AD, AAA servers. This helps the team to standardize the network configuration of the devices across the network.


The policy application allows network administrators to draft security policies for the entire network. This includes both wired and wireless networks. It helps to have a consistent security configuration across the network. This defines who can talk to whom – for example defining the policies like network camera group should not talk to IT devices like printers or scanners.


The Provision application allows a network administrator to automate the actual deployment of devices. Let’s say you received the network device at the site like switches and a couple of access points and are connected to the network. During the provision, it is decided which site the devices would be deployed on and what configuration they will be using.  


Once the network is deployed and secured using the security policies. Users will be connecting to the network and accessing the applications in Data Center. Who will ensure that the network is working the way it was intended during the design phase and what is the health of the entire network and devices? There comes the Assurance application to rescue. This captures the logs, events, and alerts from the device and using the machine learning engine presents meaningful data to the network team. With this powerful capability to understand the network, the team can assure the network is working and delivering the required services to end users.


Finally, once the network is deployed and the team has visibility across the network, there comes the question can it talk to other network solutions. The Platform application allows DNA Center to integrate with 3rd party solutions (ITSM, IPAM, or 3rd Party applications to receive alerts) and process to exchange data with DNA Center.

The below snapshot gives you an idea of how to access these applications from DNA Center. Currently, the user is viewing the Assurance Application.

DNA Center - Design, Policy, Provision, and Assurance

Figure 1: DNA Center - Design, Policy, Provision, and Assurance

DNA Capabilities 

Now that we have a basic understanding of the four core pillars (applications) of DNA Center, let’s talk about some of its capabilities. 

Design Capabilities

Assurance Capabilities

Platform Capabilities

Network Discovery

Network devices Health

Northbound REST APIs

Inventory Collection

Client Health

IT Service Management Integration


Application Health

IP Address Management Integration

Software Management

Wireless Heatmaps

3rd Part logs, event collector (NPM)

Configuration Compliance and Audit

PoE Analytics


RMA workflow

Path Trace


Wireless Automation

Application QoS



Device 360 and Client 360





In short, we can say DNA Center is a powerful network and management platform that gives time back to the network support team. All the tasks that used to take days can be performed in minutes, and the time that the team is saving can be utilized to support more digital transformation initiatives by the company.

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