Just more than one year after Cisco launched its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), hundreds of companies across various industries are using the policy-based software-defined networking (SDN) architecture to speed application delivery, reduce operating costs, and efficiently scale customer services. To mark ACI’s first anniversary, Cisco recently sat down to talk with clients about Cisco ACI uses cases, and how the deployment has gone so far.
In this short series of videos, Cisco Director Craig Huitema and Cisco Senior Director Shashi Kiran talk to three companies about Cisco ACI use cases in their organizations and what problems SDN is helping them to address. The videos feature:
Qbranch, a Swedish managed service provider, which is integrating ACI with its expansive network of bare-metal legacy servers and existing L4-L7 service infrastructure to improve operational efficiency and build scalable solutions for customers.
E-Trade, which is using the Nexus 9000 and ACI to automate application deployments while drastically cutting OpEx costs in its business-critical data centers. E-Trade‘s Cisco ACI use case helped to reduce operational staff and expense “tremendously” by automating network configuration. “We went from something that would take us 15 hours to get a server up and running to maybe just a couple hours,” says E-Trade Senior Manager Jaz Rahul.
While the companies’ industries are very different from one another other, each one cites dramatic benefits from ACI’s policy-based automation and its ability to integrate with legacy systems and other vendors.
At Qbranch, the ability to define policies has been key in creating and providing the higher-value services its customers demand. “It’s all about how you segment the customer network. Policy models can be twisted in several different ways,” says Qbranch Manager of Infrastructure Erik Sohlman. “They give us flexibility to build scalable solutions that are repeatable and we can use over and over again.”
Despite the transition to a radically new way of networking, IT departments responsible for the changeover find a level of familiarity with Cisco ACI because of how it’s designed to integrate with legacy systems and other vendors. “It’s a new technology, the spine and leaf technology, but my networking team are quite comfortable with Cisco,” says Qatar University CIO Trevor Moore. “The integration with my firewalls and infrastructure I have is already built into the ACI product, so it was a sort of no-brainer-type decision.”