As businesses today rely more on application performance, security, and delivery, easy integration of Layer 4-7 services into the data center fabric becomes increasingly important. A new blog post from Cisco Vice President of Engineering Praveen Jain looks at how innovations with Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) are helping to ease integration and improve scale of network services.
Traditional deployment models are shifting from perimeter-based approaches, focused on north-south traffic, to emerging east-west traffic patterns. Coupled with a growing need for network automation, this shift requires unprecedented levels of scale, security, and application performance. ACI’s policy-driven architecture helps organizations achieve these levels while simplifying operations.
ACI manages physical switches, virtual switches in hypervisors, and Layer 4-7 services from multiple vendors by stitching everything under the umbrella of applications. ACI has two main architectural goals for network services switching:
- Steering traffic from one application tier through a chain of Layer 4-7 service devices and connecting back to another application tier
- Managing the configuration of Layer 4-7 devices through the use of the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC)
Jain’s post explains how the next release of Cisco ACI will offer two modes of operation to ease integration of Layer 4-7 services. Starting with ACI release v1.2 (code named Brazos), Cisco will support both the current “managed” mode, where both the network services stitching and device configuration is performed as described by both points above; as well as a new “unmanaged” mode that equates to network stitching only as described in my first point.
Furthermore, ACI has integrated with management and orchestration platforms including Microsoft AzurePack, VMware vRealize, and Cisco UCS Director providing instantiation of multi-machine workloads chained together with Layer 4-7 services. ACI takes an open approach to accommodate automation of network services from multiple Layer 4-7 vendors. The post also highlights sample use cases supported by the ACI architecture.
Read the post to learn more.