The Intelligent Information Network (IIN) concept is one of the methodologies core to Cisco networking. The concept behind IIN is that network design should make information available when it is needed by business processes.

To illustrate this concept, try drawing your network diagram, but rather than starting with something like a firewall, router, or switch, start the diagram with a business process, such as purchase a widget. The diagram needs to include the business logic and procedures that are involved in the process. The diagram then may branch out into the pieces of IT infrastructure that are used for this process, ending with how these IT components actually communicate.


Taking this inclusive design approach allows you to see which IT components may need to be connected with higher-speed links or implemented with additional redundancies (such as backup systems or connections), rather than concentrating solely on the network as a separate entity. The three main points are

  • The network as an integrated system

  • Active participation of the network in service delivery

  • Enforcing business processes through network rules

Here are the three points of integration, or the points on your network where you can add IIN components:

  • Integrated transport: Involves the integration of network data, such as voice, data, and video. These components make up the Cisco Unified Network, which places these three main traffic types (voice, data, and video) on it, while allowing each to be optimized for usage through traffic management features.

  • Integrated service: Takes common network elements, such as storage and servers, into account and allows for the function of business services in case of a local network failure. The ability to provide backup (or redundant) services is due in part to virtualization technology for servers as well as storage and network components, which allow for these services to be maintained in multiple physical locations at the same time.

  • Integrated application: Allows the network to be aware of the applications that are running on it. When the network is application-aware, it can integrate network features to optimize data movement, implement security, and provide redundancy.