Cisco is expanding its Cisco Unified Access (CUA) "umbrella" with a line of switches and WAN controllers that use CUA technology to streamline BYOD capabilities, network administration and policy enforcement.
Cisco is endeavouring to provide sweeping scalability for enterprise networks by alleviating the headaches of traditional network environments where wireless and wired environments were managed as two separate entities.
The update includes a focus on VPNs, software-defined networking and traffic shaping, with the Cisco Unified Access Data Plane (UACP) allowing for traffic termination, consistent service maintenance and programmable interfaces that link into Cisco's latest networking devices:
*Cisco Catalyst 3850 and 5760 Unified Access Switch with built-in wireless LAN controller
*Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) 1.2, allowing admins to create a single policy for multiple points of access for multiple devices, in addition to MDM integration with popular vendors like MobileIron, Zenprise, SAP, Good Technology and Airwatch
*Cisco Prime Infrastructure 2.0, bringing a full visualisation of network operations for simplified orchestration and a "360-degree" experience of apps of services
*Cisco onePK open architecture for SDN, a new developer toolkit to improve the software-defined capabilities of Cisco's latest hardware - a key component in Cisco's future SDN strategy
What does it mean?
The next-gen datacentre can be defined variously, but here it's viewed as stacks of hardware and software that work in unison with each other, accommodating the needs of the next-gen workforce, including everything from smartphones, tablets, VoIP equipment and wireless "things" like printers.
"Cisco Unified Access allows customers to achieve these goals by moving away from individual vertical stacks of technology and disparate components toward a single architecture for an intelligent network," says Rob Soderbery, Cisco's senior vice president of enterprise networking, in a PR statement.
This is why Cisco is positioning the CUA advances as the basis for "the internet of everything", allowing for a new environment of network-enabled applications, appliances and even security interfaces. A unified network can give tech providers a more holistic management offering, as all connected devices, large or small, can be managed, configured and enforced the same way. This will streamline the delivery of external cloud services and linking those services to devices on the network.
Late last year, boss John Chambers (pictured) said Cisco was working through a transition in aligning its portfolio with future needs. It's fair to say an overhauled CUA is a good start, as it offers a foundation for an interoperable networking backbone. It's an attractive proposition for burgeoning businesses, and a smart way for Cisco to maintain relevance in the years ahead.
Be sure to check out Cisco's recent moves, including its sale of Linksys and its expanding security strategy.
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