How to harness Cisco’s future of intent-based networking

Cisco Intent-Based NetworkingIt’s amazing how different areas of technology progress in different ways and at different speeds. If you brought a network engineer from the mid-1990s to the present, she would likely be in awe of everyone taking photos with their smart phones and reading the Internet while walking into people on the street. If you sat her in front of a terminal, though, she would likely be able to manage a large corporate network without much ramp-up time.

That’s obviously a little bit of hyperbole, but largely, networks are still managed through the command line. In fact, Gartner research found that at the end of 2016, 85 percent of companies still used a command line interface as the primary tool for network operations. This is something our visitor from 1995 would recognize immediately.

The command line has some serious disadvantages, of course. It’s extremely labor-intensive, requiring manual input for most tasks; it’s difficult to scale; and it’s prone to errors and, thus, outages. Today’s requirements for seamless cloud connectivity and management of a growing array of devices, leave it severely overmatched.

One of the most exciting announcements in recent months was Cisco’s intent-based networking announcement. Dubbed Network Intuitive, and built on Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture (DNA), it offers some exciting alternatives to the command line. In this article we’ll look at some of the key features of Network Intuitive, and how you can make them work for your business.

Network automation

Perhaps the biggest downside of the command line is that, as the name indicates, many commands need to be physically entered by a network admin. This slows things down and opens up the potential for a lot of manual error. DNA lets you design, provision and apply policies across your entire network through a single interface, and automate it, eliminating the need to sit down and code policies in.


Analytics start with visibility into your entire network — on-premise, cloud, hybrid cloud, and so on — something the command line simply can’t do. With DNA Analytics you can use the network as a sensor and collect data from every device and application on your network. This information then powers automated analytics that can identify potential problem areas before they become problems, and address them, drastically improving performance and availability.

Reduce costs

No blog about a new product would be complete without addressing costs, right? As you can see, the features of Cisco’s Network Intuitive can combine to provide some real cost savings. Growing businesses are constantly adding locations that need to be managed, and more devices are always coming online, whether you’re growing or not. This means all the automation features of Network Intuitive can really help out the bottom line.

This blog just scratches the surface of what Cisco’s version of intent-based networking can do, and it can, admittedly, be a little overwhelming. Working with a certified Cisco reseller and strategic business partner, like KeyInfo, can help clear things up.

So, give us a call (or email), and bring your network management out of the ‘90s.


Michael Glancy - Our TeamMichael Glancy
Cisco Practice Leader

Key Information Systems, Inc.