It’s Time to Take Control of Experiences and Transform Infrastructure Operations for AI

Today’s business outcomes are intrinsically linked to the quality of digital experiences IT professionals can deliver to connect employees and customers to any app or service.  

Think about a video call for a remote worker. A user opens their app, turns on the camera, and has a meeting. Hopefully there were no hangups or drops along the way. Seems simple, right? Hardly. That call took a path from a computer through the Wi-Fi network and out to a service provider. Then maybe it went through yet another transit provider, up to the cloud, back through the internet, and finally to the office headquarters. The quality of that video call could have been affected at any point along the way. 

A roadmap for digital resilience 

Digital resilience means that you continue to deliver a good user experience in the face of any disruption. For networking, that’s proactive intelligence, predictive recommendations, and (if something goes wrong) automated remediation. 

IT leaders are expected to deliver experiences that feel seamless, connected, and whole. But that is easier said than done as teams wrestle with how to manage the ever-growing complexity of devices, networks, and data centers they own—plus the service providers, SaaS providers, and public cloud infrastructure they don’t own.  

Because every user experience depends on both owned and unowned infrastructures, solving IT problems in silos (LAN, WAN, and cloud) no longer works. We must begin to think of this combination of owned and unowned as the global area network. Visibility across every part of the infrastructure is now essential. If you can see and understand everything, you can fix anything. 

IT leaders repeatedly tell Cisco that they feel hampered in assuring digital experiences and achieving digital resilience across the global area network. According to the 2024 Global Networking Trends Report, 41% of respondents think providing service reliability to ensure predictable and consistent user experiences is an area for significant improvement. 

For over 40 years, network professionals have been waiting for that superpower. Today, that is going to change. Cisco is introducing Digital Experience Assurance from Cisco ThousandEyes. We’re doing for the global area network what GPS and driver data do for driving—providing IT with a clear view of the entire journey, even the parts they don’t control.  

Digital Experience Assurance is a fundamental change from where the industry has been for decades. Now, IT can use AI-native capabilities to show what’s happening with users and applications across the entire global area network—phones, tablets, laptops, home broadband gateways, switches, and routers. Digital Experience Assurance is part of the Cisco Networking Cloud platform, providing continuous intelligence with predictive analytics and automated remediation, from user to cloud and everything in between.  

It doesn’t just change how IT teams work. It also gives IT leaders time to focus on accelerating the business while reducing operational (and even emotional) stress. 

Networking for the generative AI industrial revolution 

The need for AI-ready infrastructure has never been more important as AI workloads, driven by generative AI models, continue to grow. According to our own survey of more than 8,000 senior leaders with responsibility for AI, 95% believe AI will increase the workloads of their IT infrastructure—but fewer than half believe their infrastructure is ready.  

In partnership with NVIDIA, we are now bridging that gap by bringing operational simplicity to AI data centers with Cisco Nexus HyperFabric. It is the world’s first cloud-managed AI infrastructure solution that gives enterprises everything we’ve learned from deploying AI at hyperscalers. Using a Meraki-style operational model, we automate the entire fabric across networking, NVIDIA accelerated computing, storage, optics, and NVIDIA AI Enterprise software, including NVIDIA NIM inference microservices.  

This makes it easier for IT teams to deploy their own enterprise AI clusters where the on-premises data resides, in large data centers, colocation facilities, or edge locations enabling generative AI anywhere. 

Multidomain operational simplicity 

We are also announcing Cisco Workflows for consistent automation across domains as part of the Cisco Networking Cloud platform. In a complex network, making any change or spinning up a new site can be very complicated or may even compromise another domain. Workflows makes it easier.  

With Workflows, you can reduce repetitive tasks and manual errors while eliminating multi-step, multi-app, and probably multi-meeting ordeals. With Workflows as part of Cisco Networking Cloud, you are the IT hero. You create automations across network domains and fix issues at scale. You eliminate trivial, error-prone tasks that used to take hours.  

Cisco Networking Cloud 

Our Cisco Networking Cloud platform has made phenomenal progress toward continuous intelligence, predictive analytics, and automated remediation over the past 12 months. This is just a sampling of the new additions that will help you transform the world. AI-native operations, assurance, secure networking, and infrastructure for AI are all coming together in the Cisco Networking Cloud platform. 

All experiences have a digital component. All experiences will be defined by the network. Cisco will continue to help IT modernize for the future and deliver their most critical business outcomes.  

A version of this article also appears on the Cisco Blog

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