When deploying new applications, or making changes that can take days or even weeks, an organizations’ network staff is constantly challenged to keep day-to-day operations running smoothly. Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) provides a consistent way of managing infrastructure that frees network staff to concentrate on more high-level, profitable challenges and innovations.
In a recent blog post, Praveen Jain, vice president of engineering at Cisco, shows how ACI’s software-defined networking (SDN) policy model opens the door for application agility, wherever applications are in the network.
With traditional networks, the configuration workflow for even the simplest three-tier application can be slow, labor-intensive, and vulnerable to manual errors. And that doesn’t factor in security, load balancing for the web tier, or any other Layer 4-7 services.
Using the ACI policy model, the application owner specifies tiers, security constraints between the tiers, and how the web server connects to the outside world and other Layer 4-7 services. Cisco’s Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) then takes these inputs and provisions the entire application automatically. By handling all the complexity of diverse network infrastructure, APIC enables IT organizations to slash provisioning time, get dramatically improved visibility into the network, and simplify troubleshooting.
Simplifying data center operations and automation through ACI not only transforms IT operations – it also can change the business itself. For example, this video looks at how ACI enabled Pulsant, a United Kingdom-based IT infrastructure services provider, to sell and deliver more services to customers with greater agility at lower cost.
Pulsant deployed Cisco ACI as the basis for a cloud fabric that connects two data centers used to deliver bespoke hybrid cloud services. Thanks to ACI’s policy, orchestration, and automation, Pulsant has been able to onboard customers at a faster rate without needing to add a commensurate number of network engineers.
The simplified and automated nature of ACI has led to the following results (IDC report – 12/2015):
- 85% reduction of staff time to improve business agility
- 75% less staff time per hybrid deployment
- An expected five-year ROI of 513% and a breakeven time of 6.4 months