Lippis Report 220: How Open Is Cisco’s ACI?

nick_podium2Cisco’s acquisition of Insieme Networks enables the next generation of data center automation led by Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and the Nexus 9000 family of switches, which is comprised of the Nexus 9300 series fixed switches and the Nexus 9500 series modular switches. In addition to offering rich programmability features, industry-leading layer 2 and layer 3 forwarding, and advanced behaviors, such as VxLAN routing, the Nexus 9000 switches run in a fabric mode commonly referred to as ACI. ACI is an architecture that enables the automated deployment of applications across the network using Application Network Profiles. These profiles use a common declarative policy language that automates network configuration. The policy creates an application dependency map that spans applications, compute, storage and networking across data center, campus and WAN to enable cross-functional application troubleshooting and performance optimization. Critical to expanding ACI is the new Opflex protocol that enables an open source community to leverage ACI for policy-based automation for all data center devices (more on this below). ACI delivers the complete ability to provision, manage and monitor applications in a fully automated workload creation world. This is the Holy Grail of IT as it enables business resiliency and lowers OpEx. But the two big questions that many have been asking are: “How open is ACI, and can I trust it?”

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