Cisco has had a number of different approaches and branded terms for its various networking and data center strategies over the years.
At the Cisco Live EU event that ran from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 in Barcelona, Spain, Cisco announced its latest strategy, dubbed Data Center Anywhere. The basic premise is that a data center. as it has been understood for a generation or more, is a fixed physical asset, but that's no longer the case in the modern distributed IT landscape, which includes multi-cloud and edge use cases.
"Enterprises should be able to deploy applications based on the needs of their business, not the limitations of their technology," Roland Acra, senior vice president and general manager, Data Center Business Group at Cisco, wrote in a media advisory. "Customers want to deploy applications and manage data across a range of diverse platforms, from on-premises to cloud-based."
There are three core product areas that Cisco is building out in support of its Data Center Anywhere vision:
Application Centric Infrastructure - ACI was first announced back in November 2013. At the time, it was Cisco's big new strategy to enable applications to be at the center of networking decisions. ACI has, since its inception, been somewhat linked to Cisco's Nexus switching gear, but now with Data Center Anywhere, Cisco is extending ACI out to the cloud, specifically Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
CloudCenter Suite - Cisco's multi-cloud efforts are getting a boost with the new CloudCenter Suite, which enables application lifecycle management across distributed cloud architecture.
HyperFlex Anywhere- The Cisco HyperFlex converged infrastructure portfolio is also growing with the HyperFlex Edge offering. Rather than just being locked into a single monolithic data center, the HyperFlex Edge considers data center deployments anywhere, including smaller edge use cases.
While ACI is an effort that Cisco has had in its portfolio for the last 6 years, Intent-Based Networking has only been part of Cisco since June 2017.
With Intent-Based Networking, analytics and machine learning are used to determine the "intent" of a given data flow to help automate the correct policy for the network workflow. As part of its broad strategy of enabling its technology to run anywhere, Cisco is now extending Intent-Based Networking (IBM) to the Internet of Things (IoT) Edge.
"To deliver the power of IBN, we are introducing two new next generation IoT networking product lines — Cisco Catalyst IE3x00 Series of Switches and Cisco IR1101 Integrated Services Routers — that are built for IBN, programmable, modular and edge enabled today," Vikas Butaney, VP of Product Management, IoT at Cisco, wrote in a blog post.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.