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Cisco launches AI-powered Hypershield service to protect modern data centres

23rd April 2024

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Networking and security multinational Cisco has launched its Hypershield service, which is a cloud-native, artificial intelligence- (AI-) powered approach to highly distributed security for AI-scale data centres that is built into the fabric of the network, says Cisco executive VP and security and collaboration GM Jeetu Patel.

Hypershield is a new security architecture that is built with technology originally developed for hyperscale public clouds. It is now available to enterprise information technology teams of all sizes.

Serving as a security fabric, Hypershield enables security enforcement to be placed everywhere it needs to be, Patel says.

“It can even turn every network port into a high-performance security enforcement point, thereby bringing completely new security capabilities not just to clouds, but to the data centre, on a factory floor, or a hospital imaging room. This new technology blocks application exploits in minutes and stops lateral movement,” he adds.

The Cisco Hypershield solution is built into the Security Cloud, and this unified, AI-driven, cross-domain security platform is expected to be generally available in August.

Meanwhile, security enforcement with Hypershield happens at three different layers, namely in software, in virtual machines, and in network and computer servers and appliances, by leveraging the same powerful hardware accelerators that are used extensively in high-performance computing and hyperscale public clouds.

The solution uses AI to understand applications and then defines granular segmentation rules and keeps them updated as the use of the apps evolve.

Hypershield also identifies vulnerabilities and automatically shields them from being exploited, he added.

Hypershield was built and designed from the start to be AI-native, autonomous and predictive. The solution manages itself, thereby making a hyper-distributed approach at scale possible.

It is also cloud-native and built on open source kernel programming technology Extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF), which is the default mechanism for connecting and protecting cloud-native workloads in the hyperscale cloud.

Cisco acquired eBPF for enterprise service provider Isovalent earlier this month.

Further, the solution is also hyper-distributed and embeds advanced security controls into servers and the network fabric itself.

“Hypershield spans all clouds and leverages hardware acceleration, like data processing units (DPUs), to analyse and respond to anomalies in application and network behaviour. It shifts security closer to the workloads that need protection,” said Patel.

To accommodate the additional digital capacity required for growing AI uses, public and private data centres are being reimagined.

“Infrastructure is changing. Central processing units are being supplemented with graphics processing units (GPUs) and DPUs that specialise in functions like AI workload processing and input/output operations at throughput levels that modern AI-scale data centres need.

“Applications are also changing. They are being broken into thousands of microservices that run in different containers and clouds; all highly distributed, all talking to each other.”

Cisco has expertise in networking, security and an extensive partner ecosystem, partnered with chip maker Nvidia and they are committed to building and optimising AI-native security solutions to protect and scale the data centers of tomorrow.

This collaboration leverages the Nvidia Morpheus cybersecurity AI framework for accelerated network anomaly detection, as well as the AI-integration Nvidia Inference Microservices for powering custom security AI assistants for the enterprise.

Nvidia's class of converged accelerators combine the power of GPU and DPU computing to augment Cisco Hypershield with robust security from cloud to edge, said Patel.

“Cisco Hypershield is one of the most significant security innovations in our history. With our data advantage and strength in security, infrastructure and platform visibility, Cisco is well positioned to help our customers harness the power of AI,” says Cisco chairperson and CEO Chuck Robbins.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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