Cisco Unveils AI Deployment Answer With NVIDIA

Cisco will invest $1 billion in AI and package a new networking solution with NVIDIA’s AI infrastructure, the organization announced at its annual consumer event on June 4. Cisco Live is being held in Las Vegas from June 2 – 6. These and the other announcements from Cisco Live respond to the enterprise trends for AI, plus increased visibility and security.

Cisco partners with NVIDIA on Nexus HyperFabric AI clusters

A new networking solution from Cisco and NVIDIA called Cisco Nexus HyperFabric AI clusters is the companies’ attempt to create a smooth on-ramp to AI for customers who may not have in-depth knowledge of AI deployment or IT skills. Cisco Nexus HyperFabric AI clusters can be used to deploy, manage and monitor generative AI infrastructure for a business.

This diagram shows the interplay between Cisco on-prem AI infrastructure and NVIDIA hardware.
This diagram shows the interplay between Cisco on-prem AI infrastructure and NVIDIA hardware. Image: Cisco

“While the promise of AI is clear, the path forward for many just starting out is not. Customers often face economic and operational challenges to get an AI stack up and running,” said Jonathan Davidson, executive vice president and general manager of Cisco Networking, in a press release. “Cisco is committed to making the deployment and operation of AI infrastructure simpler.”

SEE: The UALink Promoter Group seeks to create a standard for AI infrastructure – notably, without NVIDIA.

The idea is organizations need guidance in order to deploy AI infrastructure. So, the Nexus HyperFabric AI cluster solution combines Cisco Ethernet switching and cloud-managed options with NVIDIA AI Enterprise software, NVIDIA NIM inference microservices, NVIDIA Tensor Core GPUS, the VAST data platform and more.

General availability is expected in the fourth quarter of 2024, with select customers gaining access earlier in Q4.

To further ease IT teams into running generative AI, Cisco is offering training about AI infrastructure. The CCDE AI Infrastructure certification can be gained from Cisco Learning and Certifications.

Just the start of AI investment: Cisco kicks off global fund

Cisco is putting $1 billion into AI via its global investment fund, which is a pledge to support startups and generative AI solutions. Cohere, Mistral AI and Scale AI will receive funding from Cisco as strategic partners. Cisco has committed $200 million to this fund so far.

Cisco announces security enhancements for cloud, web apps and more

Cisco announced enhancements to existing security products:

  • The Firewall 1200 Series — with which enterprise branch locations no longer need multiple appliances for their switches, routers and firewalls — will be available October 2024.
  • Security Cloud Control, a management architecture for Cisco Security Cloud, which provides an AI overview for Cisco Secure Firewall, Secure Firewall Threat Defense, Secure Firewall ASA, Multicloud Defense and Hypershield, coming in September.
  • Technical add-ons for Splunk, which Cisco acquired in March, including new sources of Cisco telemetry within Splunk for the security operations center. These will roll out in the next few months.
  • Version 7.6 of Firewall Threat Defense for all Cisco firewalls.
  • Google Chrome Enterprise threat and data protection for all web apps secured by Cisco Secure Access.

Support for Cisco Hypershield added to AMD Pensado DPUs and Intel infrastructure

Cisco Hypershield, a security architecture the company unveiled in April 2024 that spreads security enforcement throughout virtual machines or Kubernetes clusters, is coming to some new services. AMD Pensando DPUs will support Cisco Hypershield by the end of 2024, specifically starting with Cisco Unified Computing System servers. Support for Hypershield on AMD Pensando DPUs will expand to other server vendors and Intel infrastructure processing units by the end of the year.

“By leveraging our DPUs in customer servers or in future Cisco networking platforms, Hypershield users can enjoy high-capacity throughput and intelligent policy enforcement without compromising on workload performance,” wrote Soni Jiandani, general manager of the networking technology and solutions group at AMD, in a press release.

ThousandEyes visibility engine comes to Digital Experience Assurance

ThousandEyes is a visibility engine for device management that Cisco acquired in 2020. Now, Cisco has added AI alerts from ThousandEyes to Digital Experience Assurance for Cisco Networking Cloud. ThousandEyes pulls from across the Cisco ecosystem to provide proactive suggestions, sending device and telemetry data to customers’ domain controllers and management systems.

Now, ThousandEyes can map AWS environments, show a unified view of external and internal network conditions on Cisco and non-Cisco networking platforms in Traffic Insights, and take in Meraki Wi-Fi and Local Area Network telemetry and device information. ThousandEyes partnered further with Meraki to enhance the Meraki Assurance Overview.

TechRepublic is covering Cisco Live remotely.

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