Cisco’s annual flagship event, Cisco Live, went hybrid this year, with 16,000 live attendees as well as a global online audience. And, fittingly, its focus was on the cloud.
Cisco chairman and chief executive office Chuck Robbins kicked off the conference by reiterating the four priorities – reimagine applications, power hybrid work, secure the enterprise, and transform infrastructure – that he first spoke about before the pandemic.
“As we went into the pandemic, one of the things that I was uncertain about was how will we continue to innovate and deliver new technology and new products when everyone’s sitting in their home office? How’s this gonna work? And I’m sure many of you had the same question,” he said. “And ironically, I think the team has actually accelerated the innovation that they’ve delivered. And this week, we’re announcing a lot of innovation that the teams have been working on over the last 3, 6, 9, 12 months, maybe even longer, that hopefully you’ll be excited about.”
The collection of announcements spanned the four priority areas, as well as one additional area that embraces everything the company does.
“As we think about what we should be working on together, there are a few areas that we think are super important,” Robbins said. “And my guess is, the first one you would not disagree with, which is we have to simplify the things that we do with you.”
What that means, noted Oleg Tolchinsky, Cisco Canada’s country leader, systems engineering and technology strategy, in a briefing, “is going from focusing on a bunch of disparate products to a set of solutions that are governed and managed by a small number of platforms with integrations across them so that they’re not limited to one domain, but span all of the domains that IT teams are responsible for. Because if we simplify the IT experience, all of it, we simplify the user experience and the customer experience.”
The cloud plays a huge part in these efforts. Cisco announced a unified experience across its Meraki and Catalyst portfolios, including the new Catalyst wireless devices, that will allow admins to monitor and manage both product lines in one Meraki dashboard. To start, the product selection will be limited – Catalyst 9300 switches are the first in the line to benefit – but the offering will expand over time.
The company also announced Cisco Nexus Cloud, a cloud-managed platform delivered as-a-service that is designed for deploying, managing and operating cloud networking. Powered by Cisco Intersight, Cisco Nexus Cloud will extend customers’ ability to manage across public cloud, private cloud, and edge computing environments of any size or scale. It is targeted for availability in the fall of 2022.
A new ThousandEyes product, ThousandEyes WAN Insights, will proactively predict and optimize WAN performance. The company says it is the first step toward delivering on the Cisco Predictive Networks vision, empowering enterprise IT to move from reactive to preventive-based networking, improving operational efficiency and assuring application experience. Cisco said it will be initially available to Cisco SD-WAN customers, and is coming “soon”.
AppDynamics Cloud correlates telemetry data from across any cloud environment at massive scale. It leverages cloud-native observability to remediate application performance issues with business context and insights-driven actions. If it detects a network issue, it can reroute traffic to bypass it, to maintain application performance. It will be available starting June 28.
For developers, Cisco’s Panoptica and Calisti apps are the latest additions to Cisco’s suite of cloud-native, API-first tools for faster application development cycles. Both are free parts of a new class of open-source, API-first solutions from Cisco.
Panoptica helps developers and engineers provide cloud-native security from application development to runtime through a single interface for comprehensive container, serverless, API, service mesh, and Kubernetes security. It scales across multiple clusters with an agentless architecture and integrates with continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) tools and language frameworks across multiple clouds.
Calisti is an enterprise-ready Istio platform that simplifies connectivity, lifecycle management, and security for microservices in complex, multi-cloud environments, and helps application teams to focus on application logic, and site reliability engineers (SREs) to control and scale, de-risk upgrades, find root causes and monitor service-level objectives (SLOs).
“If we’ve been waiting over the last five years for something to get better, or to wake up to things being back to normal, it just won’t happen,” Robbins observed. “And I think that what we have to now deal with is that the new reality is that there’s always going to be some sort of crisis. It just feels like that’s the world we live in. But what we learned during the pandemic, is that the technology is incredibly powerful…And in this new world, we also have to remember that there are so many problems that we can actually solve with this technology.”