Cisco DNA Series: DNA Goes Virtual

DNA Goes Virtual

A huge update to the Cisco DNA Strategy has been released, and it comes with some pretty big news.   I am going to distill it down into the “need to know” and give you the low down.

We have all seen SDN – Software Defined Networking take off, commodity hardware becoming more and more popular – like the Trident 2 powered Nexus 3K models.     With a move to the software driven infrastructure, Cisco is virtualizing it all.   ISR, ASA, WLC, WAAS, – and even 3rd party applications.

In addition – they have a new platform to host it all – and this is all going to be automated.


What are we virtualizing?

Well, just about everything.   The idea here is to run an entire branch office in a box – yes you have heard this before – but – this is different, this is not an ISR with a UCS-E blade (although you could do that).  This is about choice.


ISR:  You can run most ISR features virtualized, if you are using the new platform (later in this doc) you can even use NIM modules.   Voice modules are exempt.

WLC:  Totally virtualized WLC

ASA: Virtualized security with virtual ASA and threat defense

WAAS: Nuff Said

3Rd Party:   I don’t do alot of rumors, but through DEVNET you will be able to deploy certified 3rd party application services,  and even Windows, Linux and other OS VM’s within the Virtualized DNA Platform

Cisco Launches ENCS

For a new DNA design, we need new DNA Hardware.   Cisco is announcing the first “DNA” specific hardware platform design specifically for the DNA architecture.  The ENCS 5400 Series.

Think of this as the combination of an ISR and a UCS server in one.


CPU:  6, 8 or 12 core XEON-D options today

Memory: 16-64GB

Storage:  M2 and dual hard drive with hardware raid as an option

Hardware Acceleration for VM Traffic, Switching and Crypto

The best part is – you can run your own VM’s on this platform as well as all of the virtualized Cisco kit – all of this managed by APIC-EM

What are we running this on?

Almost anything.    ISR with UCS-E,  UCS Servers or in public clouds, or the new ENCS 5400 platform.     Run it in the cloud, run int on your premise in all sorts of “NFV” gear or on a traditional routing platform.    Control it all with APIC-EM.


Cisco One Licensing – Future Proof Licensing

Many of my clients have said “Tell me why Cisco One is a good value” and the argument has been difficult if you are not on a 2-3 year refresh cycle, but with virtualized platforms the Cisco One story just became compelling.    If today you have an ISR 4K physical router with Cisco One, you can migrate to an NFV platform like the ENCS and not repurchase your licensing.

Not only does Cisco One protect you with licensing, it now allows you to migrate to a new platform – and while not everyone is ready for NFV today, it does mean moving to NFV later doesn’t involve purchasing all new licensing.  It also means moving to cloud services with NFV in the cloud could be at very limited cost.



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