Just as enterprises are embracing new technologies to provide the business agility they need, IT teams are changing the way they work. IT operations, software development, and security staff members are joining forces in agile, multidiscipline DevOps and SecOps teams.

Network teams are following the trend by adopting NetOps, a relatively new approach to network operations that employs DevOps-style tools and methodologies. Some organizations are going further with AIOps, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate IT operations.

However, as we’ve seen through our series on how to modernize your enterprise network, the size and complexity of today’s networks present big challenges that require more than new technologies and ways of working. In this fifth article in the series, we explain the benefits of adopting an entirely new network operating model that’s more comprehensive and connected than ever before.

Introducing a new connected operating model

One thing is for certain: organizations can no longer afford to stay with the traditional network operating model, which is both labor-intensive and reactive in nature. Sure, command-line scripting can help automate tasks, but the traditional model can’t provide the network-wide visibility, flexibility, and proactive controls needed to manage and secure today’s complex enterprise networks.

By comparison, new operating models offer improved network automation and orchestration, giving NetOps teams the means to manage large-scale networks. Gartner refers to this approach as “NetOps 2.0,” with the firm predicting: “By 2023, the use of NetOps 2.0 principles will grow by 40 percent, and those embracing these principals will reduce their application delivery times by 25 percent.”

At Cisco, we are taking this further by enabling an even more connected approach. For example, our implementation of this new network operating model can support:

  • NetOps teams with automation tools and workflows that simplify the building and maintenance of large-scale networks
  • SecOps teams with tools to classify endpoints, enforce security policies, and mitigate threats with a continuous zero-trust access framework
  • DevOps teams with tools that enable network integration and programmability, including open application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs)
  • AIOps-enabling tools, including AI and ML-enhanced analytics and insights to optimize the health, performance, and reliability of network infrastructure and business applications.

Using this model, NetOps teams can work with SecOps and DevOps teams in a coordinated way, underpinned by the automation and insights provided by AIOps.

Delivering quantifiable business value

This new operating model is fundamental to building the secure agile networks that enterprises need today. And it delivers quantifiable business value through lower operational costs, faster onboarding of services, lower security risks, and improved user and customer experiences.

IDC has confirmed this business value with two studies that involved in-depth interviews with several large organizations that had adopted this network operating model using Cisco solutions. Through this research, the firm calculated the following results:

Deploying a full-stack solution

At Cisco, we believe adopting the new operating model can only be achieved by employing a fully integrated network stack. And Cisco Catalyst Full Stack powered by Cisco DNA Software supports this model every step of the way.

  • For NetOps teams, Catalyst Full Stack helps automate and streamline network deployment and management with a suite of tools. These include zero-touch provisioning and dashboards with end-to-end network visibility. Your team can manage the network proactively with unified policies, based on business intent, for different types of users, devices, and applications.
  • To add SecOps capabilities, our solution offers a software-defined approach to defining and applying zero-trust access rules and automates consistent group-based policies across your networks. It includes advanced security analytics for network-wide visibility and detection of advanced threats. It also offers cloud-delivered solutions that extend protection to edge devices and users anywhere.
  • To support DevOps, the Cisco DNA Software platform offers an array of tools to add programmability and automation to your network. These include ‘intent APIs’ that provide a consistent way to make network-wide changes and integration APIs that bring your network into your IT processes. Our process and domain adapters are built on these APIs, adding easy integration with other IT and network systems and infrastructure. We also offer SDKs to extend software support to third-party network devices.
  • To enable AIOps, Cisco DNA Software uses AI and ML to better automate tasks, reduce noise, and vastly improve issue remediation and prevention. Streaming telemetry and contextual data from every network device provide predictive insights. Analytics engines can process multiple complex events and identify anomalies instantly. They can accurately pinpoint the root causes of issues, while guided remediation offers single-click issue resolution.

This integrated toolset supports a much needed, new network operating model—and that in turn is vital for supporting today’s dynamic enterprises as they continue to shift to a hybrid workforce, multicloud environments, and highly distributed applications.


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