Program Overview and Development Approach


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In this blog I provide an introduction to Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) and the development approach used to create them.


The main goal of the CVD program is to provide networking professionals with a framework for up-to-date network design and implementation guidance across a broad set of solutions.  Navigating diverse technologies can be a daunting task and the CVD program offers network designers solid reference architectures that are easily customized to existing business needs. Cisco Validated Designs can be accessed directly through the Design Guides Quick Task.


The development of CVDs follows a methodology that is similar to how networks are designed and deployed. We refer to our CVD environments as “customer zero” because we navigate through new terrains and find the technical challenges before our customers do.


At a high level these are the steps used in order to develop CVDs:


  1. Identify business challenges and application requirements—From our global sales force, partners and customers, we collect input and prioritize areas for CVD development. Thoroughly understanding the requirements for a network solution is critical for establishing a solid design. We focus on use cases and designs that satisfy the vast majority of our customers using the 80-20 rule.  If the solution pertains to 80% of our customer base, it is a candidate for inclusion into a CVD.
  2. Analyze available technologies and those in development—For most designs, there are multiple existing and future technologies to evaluate. Our architects use their broad knowledge across all technologies to facilitate the process of deciding which ones will work best for each solution.
  3. Select hardware platforms—Once the technologies have been selected, the hardware platform selection takes place. Design criteria used to decide hardware/software includes functionality, resiliency, performance, security, scalability and manageability. There is always a trade-off between capabilities and cost, so we explore options at different price points.
  4. Proof of Concept (fast prototype) testing—The large amount of features and implementation options can intimidate even the most experienced network designer. The PoC testing allows us to quickly determine what designs we want to move into the formal process of solution validation.
  5. Solution validation—We rigorously test large-scale system performance and the highest level of availability. We work closely with the product engineering teams to allow us to efficiently scale our team and to resolve issues encountered during validation.
  6. Design guide authoring—After a successful solution validation, documentation is created to provide insights into the use cases and design selection criteria.
  7. Deployment guide authoring—We provide easy to follow step-by-step guidance for solution configuration. Deployment Guides are also used in the development of automation tools which use controllers for network programmability.


Please provide us with feedback on the CVD program here. Development of new solutions is a big investment area for Cisco and we use feedback to make sure we are delivering quality content on the most important areas for your business needs.



What solution areas are you interested in exploring? Is there a topic you want to hear about with my upcoming blogs? Add it to the comments field!


About the Author

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Nelson Figueroa is a solutions architect for the Enterprise Infrastructure and Solutions Group. Nelson is a triple CCIE focusing on solutions development at Cisco for the last 15 years.





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