What Is Cisco DNA?

Cisco says it is a “software-delivered approach to automating and assuring services across your campus, WAN, and branch networks“.
There are hundreds of pages to read details, case studies, etc for Cisco DNA.
What you’re reading is meant to boil all that down to the very basics as a very brief overall primer as to how it works.
Hopefully, this will work as a starting page for further searching.

What are the components of Cisco DNA?

Cisco DNA solutions are delivered through:

  1. Cisco DNA Center appliance: Command and control appliance and software for policy, automation, and analytics
  2. Cisco DNA solutions: SD-Access, SD-WAN, DNA Center with Assurance, and Cisco DNA Security
  3. Cisco DNA-ready physical and virtual infrastructure: Switching, routing, and wireless
  4. Subscription licensing

Let’s break each one of the above points down one by one and the acronyms and abbreviations within.

  1. Cisco DNA Center is the network management and command center for Cisco DNA. It is the software used to access Cisco DNA capabilites and features such as:
    – Management: The dashboard that shows you what is going on.
    – Automation: device discovery, automatic QoS, etc
    – Analytics: Wireless connections, noise, Radio Utilization, Client Health and Count, etc
    – Security: Threat detection and response to threats, etc
  2. Cisco DNA solutions:
    – SD-Access: Software-Defined Access secures segmentation and brings together separate systems and users into one network.
    – SD-WAN: Software-Defined Wide Area Network brings security and traffic control to your WAN. It brings networking that is “Software-Defined” to a “Hardware-Based” network.
    – DNA Center with Assurance: Part of the DNA Center dashboard that allows you to monitor and fix issues anywhere in your network.
    – Cisco DNA Security: Part of the DNA Center dashboard that focuses on the security of your network
  3. Cisco DNA-ready physical and virtual infrastructure:
    –¬†Physical examples include Catalyst 9300, 9400, 9500 , Sironet 3800, Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller, Cisco 5520 Wireless Controller, ISR 4000, and more.
  4. Subscription licensing (3/5/7 year subscriptions):
    – Cisco DNA essentials delivers base automation, monitoring, and management (very similar to the old LAN Base software model).
    – Cisco DNA advantage policy-based automation with SD Access, monitoring, and Cisco DNA Assurance (very similar to the old IP Base/IP Services)
    – Cisco ONE advantage similar to above with extra security
    A license upgrade is available (e.g. SKU C9300-LIC=) allowing upgrades from DNA Essentials to DNA Advantage, Network Essentials is also upgraded to Network Advantage.

Cisco 9300 hardware is currently in stock. Check our main site here: https://vertical-enterprise.com/collections/all/9300 for in stock items.

Contact us today to learn more about Cisco Catalyst 9300 gear or current pricing on other hardware not listed yet on the main site.


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