Unified Access Is Cisco's Next-Gen Strategy

Cisco unleashes updates to the Cisco Unified Access architecture, bringing new switches and infrastructure capabilities that enable software-defined networking and sweeping device policy management capabilities, making it likely that CUA will be the backbone of Cisco's networking strategy.

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cisco_unified_accessCisco Systems Inc. is expanding its Cisco Unified Access (CUA) "umbrella" with a line of switches and WAN controllers that leverage CUA technology to streamline BYOD capabilities, network administration and policy enforcement. Cisco is endeavoring to provide sweeping scalability of enterprise networks by alleviating the headaches of traditional network environments where wireless and wired environments were managed as two separate entities.

Today, the Cisco Unified Access update includes a focus on VPNs, software-defined networking and traffic shaping, with the Cisco Unified Access Data Plane (UACP) allowing for traffic termination, consistent service maintenance and programmable interfaces that link into Cisco's latest networking devices:

Related articles
  • Cisco Catalyst 3850 and 5760 Unified Access Switch with built-in wireless LAN controller.
  • Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) 1.2, allowing admins to create a single policy for multiple points of access for multiple devices, in addition to MDM integration with popular vendors like Mobile Iron Inc, Zenprise Inc., SAP AG, Good Technology Inc. and Airwatch LLC.
  • Cisco Prime Infrastructure 2.0, bringing a full visualization of network operations for simplified orchestration and a "360-degree" experience of apps of services.
  • Cisco onePK open architecture for SDN, a new developer toolkit to improve the software-defined capabilities of Cisco's latest hardware solutions -- a key component in Cisco's future SDN strategy.

The next-gen data center can be defined a few different ways, but herein, it's viewed as stacks of hardware and software that work in unison with each other, both accommodating the needs of the next-gen workforce, which includes everything from smartphones, tablets, VoIP equipment and wireless "things" like printers.

"Cisco Unified Access allows customers to achieve these goals by moving away from individual vertical stacks of technology and disparate components toward a single architecture for an intelligent network," said Rob Soderbery, Cisco's senior vice president of enterprise networking, in a prepared statement.

This is why Cisco is positioning the CUA advancements as the basis for "the Internet of everything," allowing for a new environment of network-enabled applications, appliances and even security interfaces. A unified network can give solution providers a more holistic management solution, as all connected devices, big to small, can be managed, configured and enforced the same way. This will streamline the delivery of external cloud services and linking those services to devices on the network.

Late last year, Chambers said Cisco was working through a transition in aligning its portfolio with future needs -- it's fair to say an overhauled CUA is a good start, as it offers a foundation for an interoperable networking backbone. It's an attractive proposition for burgeoning businesses and a smart way for Cisco to maintain relevancy in the years ahead.

Be sure to check out Cisco's recent moves, including its sale of Linksys and its expanding security strategy. 

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