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Cisco adds proactive problem solving to data centre software

Cisco adds proactive problem solving to data centre software

Additions to Cisco's Data Centre Network Assurance and Insights suite of software can detect problems in network switch fabric before they affect network services

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Proactively fixing a network problem before it becomes a full-blown nightmare is the goal of new software Cisco has added to its Data Centre Network Assurance and Insights suite.

Cisco Assurance is a key component of the company’s intent-based networking initiative that maintains a continuous validation and verification that the network is doing what the customer expects.

Network Insights is software Cisco customers use to monitor and record hardware and software telemetry data over time to identify anomalies in the fabric and help automate troubleshooting, root-cause analysis, capacity planning and remediation, according to Cisco.

For example, Network Insights can watch over network component usage patterns and audit logs, events, and faults as well as latency conditions from Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure or Data Centre Network Manager (DCNM) network fabrics.

The expanded features  will gather system-level-wide data from every Cisco switch in the fabric, detect anomalies before they impact applications, and notify operators of these issues before they affect the integrity of network services.

In addition Network Insights can also now provide proactive upgrade advice for devices across the fabric, Cisco said.

“This portfolio of software analytics capabilities for existing Cisco data-center installations – whether they’re based on DCNM or ACI – can analyse every component of a data centre to first, assure business intent; second, guarantee reliability; and finally, identify performance issues in a network before they happen,” wrote Thomas Scheibe vice president of product management for Cisco’s Nexus & ACI product lines in a blog outlining the new Insight features.

“These new capabilities enable people in IT operations to do their jobs more easily, and in the process, add value to the data center and the business,” Scheibe stated.

To keep a network running smoothly, Cisco is adding service-reliability functions to Network Insights, Scheibe said.

“If a problem should arise, our intelligent-analytics capability will identify the root cause, using real-time flow telemetry from devices in the fabric. This feature monitors application patterns, latency data, packet drops, and other metrics to allow for fast correlation between infrastructure status and actual network traffic," Scheibe stated.

In the Assurance realm, Sheibe said the company is adding a new change verification feature that lets customers understand the impacts of changes by modelling them before they are implemented in the fabric.

In the end the idea is to make running the network proactive rather than reactive, Sheibe wrote.

Sheibe quoted IDC research vice president Brad Casemore on the upgrades. Casemore said network operations must be capable of using automation to deliver services faster, provide real-time intelligence to increase operational agility, and to reduce the time required to troubleshoot and remediate issues and prevent unplanned outages.

“Cisco Network Assurance and Insights addresses this need by predicting the impact of changes, providing in-depth fabric visibility through comprehensive telemetry and data correlation to help operations teams remediate issues quickly and deliver the business transformation required to stay ahead of competitors,” Casemore stated.


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