back to article Cisco promises to unify its net management silos in the next three to five years

Cisco is again talking up a strategy to unify its diverse network management tools into a "Cisco Networking Cloud" within three to five years. Announced at the Cisco Live event today, the Cisco Networking Cloud will "create a simpler network management platform experience to help customers easily access and navigate its …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "admins who work with Cisco are very familiar with"

    the bleeping command line. That's what we are bleeping familiar with.

    Meraki is the only thing in their line with a UI that isn't trash, and it sounds like they plan to spend 5 more years building something else instead of cleaning that up and porting it when they bought it.

    (Cisco bought Meraki 10 years ago)

    Cisco is a dinosaur, their gear has slowly turned into trash, and five years from now they will be five years deeper in the same hole, because they say they want to fill that hole in, but they are still standing at the bottom with a shovel digging.

    1. EnviableOne

      Re: "admins who work with Cisco are very familiar with"

      Cisco Bought Meraki over 12 years ago, and have just started to ruin its UI with its own design elements.

      Apparently, Meraki was supposed to be the cloud offering as its portal just worked, and cisco and UI design were largely strangers.

      This what the third time they have integrated everything and about the fifth name change anyone else remember the Prime Suite?

      I'll believe it when it happens...

      although the Security Cloud is starting to move, basically its core is Secure X with a rebadge

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "admins who work with Cisco are very familiar with"

      It's been kinda downhill since CatOS. There was a brief blip of time where IOS might have had a glimmer of hope, but it was crushed when NX-OS was spawned. Somewhere in there, anyway.

      I can mostly remember looking at a Cat6509 (RIP) cli prompt way back when, and not being overly taken aback by the number of available options.

      Whereas last time I looked at a Nexus prompt command-completion it felt like the thing was going to scroll off the page.

      Same thing happens to other pre-dot-com era kit peddlers too. E.g. NetApp Ontap ("7-mode" or whatever they called it) used to have a pretty tight and concise set of commands, but modern "Cmode" (?) seems to have a pretty deep and wide syntax tree.

  2. Mayday

    Best thing about fabric is…

    CCIE here, been working with Cisco for 25 years.

    … you have so many fabrics to choose from. One for access (SDA) one for data centre (ACI), one for compute access (UCS/fabric interconnect). Not to mention the licence minefield which is Cisco, and having to buy DNA for three years even if you never use those features.

    It’s a proper nightmare. Cisco GUIs have always been disasters, separate incursions into disasters at that, so it looks like we can look forward to one unified disaster sometime in the next decade.

    Personally I miss typing “show ip ospf” or “show ip BGP” etc when I want to know what my routing protocols are thinking.

    I need a coffee. It’s too early.

    1. reub

      Re: Best thing about fabric is…

      Yes - I've been working with Cisco gear for almost as long.

      I think Cisco has missed the boat in so many regards. Hardware is becoming more and more commodity and cheaper and Cisco still wants to aim for the high end and charge a premium for everything. The only area they are still doing quite well in is wireless.

      Routing devices are horrendously overpriced compared to competition, switching for straightforward deployments involves silly things like paying for a DNA license even though the customer doesn't even have a DNA centre. Firewall? The technology they have is long overtaken by Palo Alto and ASA just doesn't stack up. I've done ASA to PA migrations in every job I have had in the last 8 years (and these haven't all been my decision).

      Meraki? Good, but very very feature limited and just as expensive as Cisco Enterprise over 5 years (but with a reasonable cloud based UI).

      Monitoring? DNA centre has never been even remotely within reach of any organisation I have ever worked with. I tend to work for small-medium sized organisations (up to 200 sites) and they just cannot justify the cost of a management platform (hardware, software, support) that costs more than a body on a seat each year. A DNA-Express option might fly in some places (just like Callmanager Express - although while that was good there was no upgrade path from Express to Full)

      Cloud? Networking in the DC is moving all virtual, and the organisation now is moving from on-prem into Azure with Azure networking so Cisco don't get a look in there. In fact DC Cisco hardware will be decomissioned along with everything else when we finally move out.

      So disappointing. I suppose when you are the undisputed leader in something, there's only one way you can go - and that's down.

      1. EnviableOne

        Re: Best thing about fabric is…

        Meraki is a lot better than you are making out, and Cisco's wireless is only still good, as they are absorbing the Meraki features.

        The Meraki UI is great, its all plug and play and cloud configurable, none of the expensive site visit stuff, just get your average non-intelligent hand to plug the stuff in it picks up its config and it just works. deploying multiple sites, building a template and configuring everything just once. for retail/B2C-focused branch-heavy orgs like you seem to be working with it's simple to manage and just works.

        I got out of DC networking when NSX came out, as it basically negates the need for anything more complex in the switching.

        1. reub

          Re: Best thing about fabric is…

          I happen to work in manufacturing and logistics for a business that has multiple different business units all with different operational requirements. Not as easy as cookie-cutter retail. I've also just completed an advanced Meraki training course today :-)

          What Meraki features do you think Cisco wireless is absorbing? The Catalyst wireless platform today has well and truly surpassed the capabilities of Meraki wireless, although it'd be a hard sell to claim that Cisco wireless is easier to use.

          While yes the Meraki UI is good and so is the provisioning process, it's not all as easy for everything as just do a template and it works. Templates work very well in MR space, but they are practically unusable in MX space as they fail to scale in a meaningful way especially once you end up with per-site variation in the firewall rulebase. You also run into these highly irritating limitations around things like being unable to add custom rules per site once you do templates. Or... if you don't templatise the firewall rules for 60 sites and run them as standalone and you need to push an update in the rules out to 24 of them (which then become nonstandard with the other 36) you've just created a big unmanageable mess. Or one of those sites with a template that needs a special variation for a unique issue (eg local change to enable temporary access to something).

          To get around that you end up driving it all via API. But then you're not using the UI at that point anyway so whether the UI is any good becomes a rather moot point.

  3. sanmigueelbeer

    Pull the other leg, son.

    Simplified licenses for Cisco's catalyst are also in the works, with one deal to cover hardware and software.

    Uh-huh. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure. "simplified license" is a Cisco's euphemism for "introducing more complication to a dog's-breakfast called Cisco Smart License"?

    1. reub

      Re: Pull the other leg, son.

      It's marketing speak for "customers don't like what we did last time" so they are turning it into an opportunity to say "see...we are listening!" and "we are making it better so come talk to us". Notwithstading everyone was telling them their licensing was a problem right from the start. Trying to make a Mea Culpa problem look good.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cisco Networking Cloud

    I mean, of course they're going to put "Cloud" into the name of whatever they do. Everybody does nowdays. More's the pity.

    But in this case, it makes me think of Netgear's latest offerings, which (last I looked) wanted to phone home to some Netgear cloud thing in order to license and unlock parts of the feature set which, to any reasonable network or system operator, should be onboard and unencumbered.

    I'd like to think cisco will bollocks their incarnation somewhat less than netgear did, but I wouldn't bet my own money on it either way.

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