Cisco Live 2018: CEO Chuck Robbins pushes tighter datacentre security

Tighter, more integrated datacentre and cloud security has become the main topic of Cisco Live 2018, with Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins and Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene also providing an update on their hybrid cloud project.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins has said a secure, intelligent platform for enterprises aimed at improving and integrating datacentre and cloud security is now being developed by the networking giant, which he said will form "the network's next act".

Speaking during his keynote at Cisco Live 2018 in Orlando on Monday, Robbins said networks will have to change to meet future needs, with companies needing to think about this "fundamentally differently" as security becomes "incredibly foundational".

"The network has to become a secure platform that enables you to help your organisation achieve its strategies. We have to have the network do more than it's ever done before and move faster ... the network has to play a significant role in helping you power this multi-cloud environment," the chief executive said on Monday morning.

"Security has to start foundationally in the network."

Pointing to cross-border data movement, privacy, and rapid economic shifts across the globe, Robbins said security is growing in importance, with around 50 percent of all networking traffic now encrypted.

"You need a single security architecture that's based on lots of unbelievably robust threat intelligence that gets processed very quickly," he said.

Cisco has been working for several years to deliver this, he said, such as with its Cisco Container Platform, support for Azure ExpressRoute and AzureStack, Intersight, HyperFlex, a hybrid cloud platform with Google Cloud, Kubernetes support, an integrated system for Microsoft AzureStack, a multi-cloud portfolio, Cliqr, Cmpute.io, Skyport, and SpringPath.

With 2.1 billion machine-to-machine connections added last year alone, Robbins said there is likely to be another 27 billion added in the next five years. Enterprises need to then be able to digest that M2M data, make decisions on where it needs to go, and move it to the right place so it can be "processed at a point that has value".

"This requires us to think differently about how we build networks in the future," Robbins added.

Read also: Cisco brings new email security services to its AMP endpoint platform

Bringing together automation, security, and analytics is making a huge difference in networking, Robbins said, while the receptivity to Cisco's Network Intuitive -- announced during Cisco Live 2017 -- "has blown us away".

"We all understand that there are massive amounts of data being created in all of our networks ... we want to make sure that you have the ability to get the value out of the data," he said.

Robbins said this will also meet Cisco's five pillars of security, multi-cloud, reinventing the network, creating meaningful experiences, and "unlocking the power of data".

"We've worked really hard over the last year in our collaboration portfolio [on this]," he said, adding that Cisco's $1.9 billion BroadSoft acquisition will also help allow the company to deliver this.

Joining Robbins onstage during his keynote was Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene, who said the partnership with Cisco already provides early access to "some very happy customers".

The Cisco-Google cloud offering will help modernise the developer environment with a 10x productivity improvement, Greene said on Monday, with engineers able to take a more incremental approach and security teams having one consistent model across all applications being run by a company.

Cisco and Google Cloud had announced their hybrid cloud partnership in October, enabling customers to run and move applications between Cisco-powered datacentres and the Google Cloud Platform thanks to Kubernetes and Istio.

Cisco last month then announced support for container orchestration program Kubernetes across AppDynamics and Cisco CloudCenter.

According to Cisco, AppDynamics for Kubernetes monitors the performance of applications deployed in pods across multiple containers, while Cisco CloudCenter with Kubernetes support can deploy container-based apps with AppDynamics monitoring.

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert travelled to Cisco Live in Orlando as a guest of Cisco

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