This August, SDNCentral is publishing a series (view the first, second, and third articles here) on Cisco ACI as it gains momentum. Check back weekly for more on Cisco ACI, and be sure to check out SDNCentral’s Cisco Data Center Channel for the latest on Cisco ACI, OpFlex, and a whole lot more.
When Cisco’s Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) began shipping this summer, it was the final piece to click into place for the company’s much-anticipated Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI). But even before ACI’s general release, Cisco had been building its momentum for months. By the time APIC hit general release, more than 1,000 customers were waiting in the pipeline.
Cisco ACI provides a unified, single point of control and visibility for managing and provisioning virtual and physical infrastructure. In this blog post, Cisco Senior Director Shashi Kiran highlights the momentum the company was building for ACI prior to its full availability.
Cisco announced its vision for the solution less than a year ago. Just prior to APIC’s general release, when Kiran’s post originally appeared, Cisco ACI was in more than 70 active trials and backed by 33 ecosystem partners. In his post, Kiran looks at new Cisco innovations that support ACI, includes a short video from major partners from the expanding ACI ecosystem, and presents an infographic illustrating the system’s benefits.
The building blocks for Cisco ACI include: the Nexus 9000 switches, the APIC for centralized policy management, the Application Virtual Switch (AVS), and an open ecosystem of network, storage, management, and orchestration vendors. By the time the APIC hit general availability, positive feedback already was coming in from customers and partners deploying the Nexus 9000 and those participating in ACI trials with the APIC.
The Nexus 9000 began shipping a few months before the APIC release, gaining strong customer traction and winning awards, Kiran said. Just prior to the APIC release, Cisco released new Nexus innovations including:
- “Cisco ACI-ready” Nexus 9300 top-of-rack switches (9336PQ and 9396TX), both of which can ease into traditional three-tier deployments or, moving forward, ACI deployments
- A new line card for the Nexus 9500 to function as an ACI-ready spine
- VXLAN support made available across the entire portfolio
- Enhanced programmability and SDN/automation capabilities on the Nexus 7000 series switches.
In the post’s video featuring Cisco ACI partners, major SDN players talk about how ACI integrates with and supports their applications and services. Featuring IT leaders from companies including NetApp, Citrix, Symantec, and Red Hat, the video highlights existing ACI integrations such as FlexPod with NetApp, as well as other projects in the ACI ecosystem pipeline.
Cisco argues that ACI embraces SDN principles and takes them beyond anything else available in the market today. Check out the post to see how ACI built momentum even before its full launch and why it resonates with early customers.