Blockchain, SaaS, and IBN: What Cisco’s Doing in 2018

Cisco is one of the world’s largest providers of networking hardware and software, and the company has big plans for 2018. Networking analysts and users of Cisco infrastructure alike agree that the company is transitioning from hardware-based services to software-based ones, a change that acknowledges shifts in how companies are accessing and using the Internet.

As cloud services grow more popular, Cisco intends to transition to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. The company also has plans to continue development of its recently-launched intent-based networking (IBN) strategy. A new partnership with Berlin-based blockchain network IOTA also speaks to Cisco’s plan to create a secure marketplace based on blockchain transaction ledgers.

A Move to SaaS

Traditionally, software was sold on a perpetual license, meaning that consumers paid once, and they gained access to that version of the software in perpetuity. But more and more these days, software is being sold as a service. The SaaS model asks consumers to pay a regular subscription fee, usually monthly, in order to continue to access a software product. According to this model, software is hosted remotely and made available to users over a network. Basically, it allows users to rent, rather than buy, software.

SaaS has many benefits for businesses, including decreased costs, time savings, and enhanced scalability and accessibility. It removes the need to wait for lengthy software updates, and can increase the reliability and response time of the software.

In 2018, Cisco is expected to continue rolling out new SaaS products like Tetration and DNA Center. The reason for this is that many Cisco distributors are seeing network hardware sales starting to drop off as more users – even corporate users – begin to rely on cloud platforms and storage. As a result, Cisco is already taking steps to adapt, so that it can continue to provide relevant, valuable services to users of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Continued Work on the IBN Strategy

Next year, users can expect Cisco to continue developing its IBN strategy. IBN strategy uses machine learning algorithms to automate the management of enterprise networks. It will allow network administrators to translate their commands into software actions, verifying network-wide policies that the intent-based networking system (IBNS) can then execute. Once a network manager has defined the network’s desired state, the IBNS software can manipulate the network to create that state, monitor it, and maintain it.

The machine learning software required most likely isn’t advanced enough to allow Cisco to roll out functional IBNS software in 2018. Experts believe that this software won’t be ready for mainstream application until at least 2020. However, analysts believe that users can expect to hear Cisco talking about its IBN strategy a lot in 2018, specifically in terms of how they plan to begin rolling it out.

The Creation of a More Secure Marketplace

The development of blockchain technology in 2009 revolutionized online commerce because it gave merchants and retailers a way to create unassailable, verifiable transaction records. That’s important because it allows for more secure transactions, especially when it comes to the use of cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin. Blockchain consists of two components: a network that facilitates and verifies transactions, and a ledger, or record, of those transactions.

Because the network in question is decentralized, no one organization, like a bank or a company, controls the data it creates; because data can’t be erased or altered once it’s entered into the ledger, the record it creates is as reliable as any traditional pen-and-ink accounting system – perhaps more so.

Cisco’s recent partnership with blockchain network IOTA means that, in 2018, Cisco can be expected to create, or work towards creating, a secure marketplace for data. This data marketplace is expected to make use of valuable data that’s currently lost due to a lack of any ability to share or sell it. IOTA claims that more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created daily around the world, but that most of it – as much as 99 percent – is lost before it can be monetized. Cisco clearly recognizes the value of this lost data, and will be partnering with other giants including Samsung Group and Volkswagen AG to help IOTA turn it into cash.

Networking services and hardware provider, Cisco, has some important new developments in the works for next year. While the changes Cisco has planned may take longer than one year to put into place, they reflect recent changes in the way we use networking hardware and software – and changes yet to come.

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