EfficientIP DDI solution (DNS-DHCP-IPAM) is now available on the Cisco Marketplace as a companion to the intent-based network solution Cisco DNA. After the availability of the DNS Guardian security integration with Cisco Umbrella, we’ve now brought robust IPAM to Cisco DNA.
The EfficientIP product suite offers rich automation processes linking all the components of its ecosystem, from IPAM to DNS and DHCP services, but also with applications, devices and network discovery. Combining these automation capabilities with the Cisco DNA solution brings real automation of the last mile, allowing any device connected to the DNA fabric to get immediate full access to the full IP world. Just being connected to a network is not enough to provide full IP connectivity. In addition to that, all devices require obtention of an IP address via DHCP in the appropriate scope, and for most of the traffic they originate they also require access to a DNS resolution service.
In today’s world, it is important for I&O teams to be able to quickly reproduce complex tasks linked to access network creation, evolution and destruction. Operational teams are moving from site to site, partners can move a whole team on a customer premises for a specific project, organizations need to adapt to new business challenges. IT should be a facilitator for all these operations. But with even more complex networks to manage, security rules to respect, performances and visibility for auditing, the workload required is really not much lower than in the past.
Unique capability to cater to business-specific needs
Network construction is a joint effort between the pure networking subject handled by Cisco DNA and its fabric and EfficientIP solutions which fine tune the IP network and enable services in accordance with business requirements and converted into reusable templates. These requirements are specific to every corporation, so are different for networks in the retail, education or the banking industries, as examples. Automation of how the IP addresses used in a specific subnet is dependent on the architecture template defined by I&O teams. It may depend on various constraints from IT and from the business. Does this network require a reserved address range at the beginning for certain device types (eg: printers)? Does it require a DHCP pool with specific DHCP options? What is the size of the DHCP pool and lease time? Are the connected devices automatically added in a DNS reverse zone? All these specific points are not able to be managed by the network fabric or its DNA orchestrator. The ideal location for all these last mile parameters is in the DDI solution tightly coupled with DNA.
IPAM is the key for end-to-end automation
The IPAM link that can be activated between Cisco DNA and an EfficientIP SOLIDserver appliance is the first simple step towards automating the last mile, for bringing full automation. Cisco DNA shares some events related to network creation and destruction as well as devices entering the IP fabric. For those with a more generic orchestration strategy, the API proposed by both systems is very rich and advanced. It opens up many more possibilities and enables more specific design and architectures from an IT perspective. It would be interesting to build a more complex ecosystem integrating a central repository, an IP service provider and an automated fabric networking solution.
Zero Touch Provisioning for accelerating access network deployments
With this zero touch provisioning (ZTP) approach, far less time is consumed by I&O teams, while providing them with an even richer solution – highlighting full visibility over any network deployed, coherence with architecture principles in the organization, compliance with security rules and reduced time-to-service. Fulfilling the promise behind software designed networking requires a great deal of integration between systems, as a single solution is unable to cover the entire perimeter. Overcoming ecosystem complexity requires an open API, deep integration and expertise by the I&O team members in order to be able to set up and troubleshoot complex architecture in place while always remembering to serve business needs.
To fulfill business requirements and help I&O teams continue to move faster in this digital transformation era, a simple and straightforward integration at the IPAM level between the leading access network fabric on the market and the most advanced automated DDI solution is a very good starting point.