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Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is network virtualization technology.ACI reviewWe have just started to deploy this in non-prod mode. We are currently doing the PoC and trying to understand various ways in which this could be implemented in our environment, which would give us maximum benefit. And also we need to ensure that this has minimum disruption to the business operation and our network operations team also gets a better understanding of how to support this environment.,Automation Visibility Integration and micro segmentation,We are still experimenting and have yet to reach this stage to give comments in this area.,8,Automation increases accuracy, decreases human intervention and results in a reduction in costs. Integration gives a seamless environment with other infrastructure platforms. Reduces overall operational costs, errors in operations and has the potential to reduce the overall manpower requirement.,Cisco DNA Analytics and Assurance,Cisco DNA Analytics and Assurance, Cisco Cloud Services Router 1000V Series (CSR 1000V), Cisco Wireless LAN ControllersSteep learning curve but Cisco ACI is really worth itI help other companies implement Cisco ACI at their data center. From design to implementation and support. Mainly Cisco ACI is used by the IT-department. Cisco ACI solves/helps solve SDN in the data centers, and it really helps with faster deployments of services in the data centers.,High-Speed DC networking. Extremely well suited for automation. Simple to add new switches in the DC.,The GUI needs to be simpler, it is good but many fields don't need to be filled in.,10,Faster implementation of new networks in the DC. Fewer faults in the DC, both on networking and the server.,Ansible, Terraform,5,5,SDN in the DC. Automation.,10,Not Sure,Product Features Product Usability Vendor Reputation,N/A,Third-party professional services,Yes,Change management was a big part of the implementation and was well-handled,Hitting BUGs. Insufficient training of network engineers.,9,Yes,Yes,Every time i open a case with Cisco, which is not often, i always get exceptional support from the TAC-engineers.,10,Deploying multiple servers with the same networking config. Integrating VMware, Kubernetes, etc Automation of DC networking.,9Empower your DC with Cisco ACICisco ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) allowed us to renew our datacenter facilities in different ways. The introduction of a spine-leaf architecture allowed to optimize cabling and improve scalability of the overall datacenter. The Nexus 9k improved the performance. The Cisco ACI Controller introduced our company to a programmable infrastructure that is cloud-ready.,VXLAN encapsulation and segmentation Cisco Nexus 9k programmability with Puppet/Chef agents Independence from the virtualization layer.,Brownfield architectures were introduced late A better alliance with VMware,9,Positive - Allowed us to better optimize the infrastructure growth. Negative. Required cultural change on the human capital. Find an evangelist.,VMware ESXi, KubernetesCisco ACIWe use Cisco ACI in our newest production environments. Our ACI fabrics are used for multiple users in three different countries and each of the fabrics are currently separate installations but we have plans to install a multi-site orchestrator on top of the solutions to be able to control all fabrics from one centralized location.,Spreading policy across multiple locations Other tools, like Tetration and Cisco NAE, can give you more out of your all investments Currently GUI is good (it wasn't that from the beginning of the product),Blueprints for different installation scenarios Still some improvement on GUI for troubleshooting,9,Cisco ACI provides unified DC fabric on premise and in clouds There was a learning curve in the beginning to train operation for Cisco APIC,VMware NSXSee eye to eye with Cisco ACIWe use Cisco ACI as the foundation for our private cloud and now with the latest innovation stretching that into the public cloud with ACI and HyperFlex Anywhere.,Ease of manageability and visibilty Great foundation for container platforms (Kubernetes) Scales REALLY well!,Integrations with SD-access The APIC UI could be rewritten as a modern webapp It can be difficult for someone with traditional networking expertise to start thinking in terms of applications,10,Faster time to production on new services Easier deployments of new appstacks,VMware NSX,Cisco DNA Center, Cisco Webex Teams (formerly Cisco Spark), Cisco Aironet Access PointsSteep learning curve, but well worth the investment.We have several data centers running a mix of FabricPath, Catalyst and ACI. We have a data center that has been around for a few years that's only ACI and are starting to roll ACI out to additional data centers now that we've solidified the design/architecture. Our engineers have struggled a bit with adopting it as a new technology since it's such a different mindset than traditional networking, but several of us have embraced the new mindset and the potential that comes along with it and we've been able to make massive changes and architectural improvements as a result.,The REST API allows your to programmatically interact with the network and make massive changes very quickly when needed. The API allows you to tie together Server Provisioning tools, storage provisioning tools, into an orchestration platform such as Ansible to streamline new deployments and builds. New Deployments are extremely simple once you've worked out your programatic deployment process. We can deploy new clients/tenants in seconds rather than days or weeks like it used to take. Replacing failed switches/apics/etc is also extremely easy. Tightly couple the underlying Network Infrastructure to VMWare Deployments to allow VMs to move anywhere in the datacenter at the drop of a hat.,Getting users up to speed can be especially challenging. I'm not sure how much of that if culture related vs technical skills related, but it's something to keep in mind. Along those same lines, engineers who have spent years in the trenches with Catalyst or Nexus environment may struggle with troubleshooting an ACI environment. We've had some issues with user errors causing the fabric to go into a virtually unrecoverable state and TAC not always knowing how to fix it.,8,We've definitely spent quite a bit of time relearning how to do things in ACI, but I think the investment has been well worth while considering that we can now deploy tenants and leaves from the ground up in a matter of seconds. We can if we choose to upgrade an entire datacenters worth of switches in a single night. (We've chosen to break it up for availability requirements, but if you didn't require 99.999% uptime like us you may be able to do it),,PyCharm, F5 BIG-IP, Cisco ASA, Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls - PA Series, Cisco Catalyst, Cisco FabricPath, Cisco Nexus, AnsibleACI review from a VARI am with a VAR, and we have deployed Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) a few times for customers. Most times it is a POC or POV, but sometimes in production. Due to the staggering differences between ACI and traditional Cisco networking, I find most customers prefer a phased approach.,Allows for automated provisioning in the DC Forces collapse of silos and encourages co-mingling of teams in IT Telemetry around applications,The UI. To get large scale adoption we MUST make the UI a go-to console for traditional network engineers. It is getting better, but still needs improvements. Best practices and more wizards to get the day to day items done. Better training from real world installers.,5,We have had pretty good success with the product in PoVs and installs The pro-serve on it is nice. Some customers have been frustrated with the UI and it has not gone past PoC.,VMware NSX,Cisco SD-WAN, AWS LambdaACI APIC from a developer's perspectiveThe ACI APIC is used for programmatic data centre automation. The key business problem it solves is integrating network provisioning with IT service deployment in an automated, end-to-end service provisioning chain. APIC also provides visibility of the "health" status of applications in the ACI fabric, which is key to maintaining IT SLAs.,The REST API provided the APIC, and many of the tools associated with that, facilitate ease of integration.,The developer support, in terms of documentation, access to code libraries, extended examples and simulated environments needs additional thought and attention. There is little support beyond the fairly simple examples provided.,6,Too early to say.ACI revealed!It is being used across the whole organization. It addresses business agility and flexibility. We are showing its benefits to our customers.,Hypervisor integration Ease end-to-end troubleshooting Improve security across the network,Easy multisite deployment Public cloud providers integration,9The Application Centric ApproachCisco ACI is used for both internal and customer centric applications. Internal applications are used by a variety of teams within the organization. ACI is easy to provision and maintain and requires very less operational tasks on a daily basis. The initial configuration and design requires much thought.,Easy to provision/automate tasks Integration with Virtualization and Compute environments Easily scalable and manageable,Troubleshooting and visibility into packetflow and packet drops per interface Packet capture to external systems in non ER-SPAN format EPG based QoS verification,8,So far we havent been able to leverage al the positives of the ACI infrastructure like Open API and RBAC so it's difficult to comment. A negative I would think of is the change in the design implementation for Datacenter Interconnectivity.,,Palo Alto Networks PA-5000 Series, F5 BIG-IP
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Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure
27 Ratings
Score 8.1 out of 101
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Cisco ACI Reviews

Cisco ACI
27 Ratings
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Score 8.1 out of 101

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Mahesh Doshi profile photo
May 13, 2019

ACI review

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We have just started to deploy this in non-prod mode. We are currently doing the PoC and trying to understand various ways in which this could be implemented in our environment, which would give us maximum benefit. And also we need to ensure that this has minimum disruption to the business operation and our network operations team also gets a better understanding of how to support this environment.
  • Automation
  • Visibility
  • Integration and micro segmentation
  • We are still experimenting and have yet to reach this stage to give comments in this area.
Cisco ACI is best suited for Automation of overall environment and deployment. The other best use case is Integration with various other infrastructure platform using the REST API, which is easy to use and implement.
Governance reporting and alerting is another use case where it can hugely benefit the an overall governance model to be implemented and ensure a uniform and desired implementation platform.
Read Mahesh Doshi's full review
Joacim Wicander profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
I help other companies implement Cisco ACI at their data center. From design to implementation and support. Mainly Cisco ACI is used by the IT-department. Cisco ACI solves/helps solve SDN in the data centers, and it really helps with faster deployments of services in the data centers.
  • High-Speed DC networking.
  • Extremely well suited for automation.
  • Simple to add new switches in the DC.
  • The GUI needs to be simpler, it is good but many fields don't need to be filled in.
Cisco ACI is extremely well suited in a medium to large data center, and it is always preferred to automate with tools like Ansible.

Cisco ACI is not very well suited for small data centers that have less than 4 switches because of the complexity and pricing.
Read Joacim Wicander's full review
No photo available
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Reseller
Review Source
Cisco ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) allowed us to renew our datacenter facilities in different ways. The introduction of a spine-leaf architecture allowed to optimize cabling and improve scalability of the overall datacenter. The Nexus 9k improved the performance. The Cisco ACI Controller introduced our company to a programmable infrastructure that is cloud-ready.
  • VXLAN encapsulation and segmentation
  • Cisco Nexus 9k programmability with Puppet/Chef agents
  • Independence from the virtualization layer.
  • Brownfield architectures were introduced late
  • A better alliance with VMware
Don't take in consideration ACI if you consider your own datacenter a bunch of CPUs connected with some hubs. Consider ACI if you want to run your own cloud infrastructure and you have skills available to run it. Programmable doesn't mean you set and forget.
Read this authenticated review
Jyrki Halonen profile photo
February 05, 2019

Cisco ACI

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use Cisco ACI in our newest production environments. Our ACI fabrics are used for multiple users in three different countries and each of the fabrics are currently separate installations but we have plans to install a multi-site orchestrator on top of the solutions to be able to control all fabrics from one centralized location.
  • Spreading policy across multiple locations
  • Other tools, like Tetration and Cisco NAE, can give you more out of your all investments
  • Currently GUI is good (it wasn't that from the beginning of the product)
  • Blueprints for different installation scenarios
  • Still some improvement on GUI for troubleshooting
Cisco ACI is sitting well in the center of your application strategy, since you can spread your applications for multiple locations and control those from centralized point. Still some improvements needed since vPOD and multi-site can't be on the same installation. I have heard that this should come soon in coming updates of the product.
Read Jyrki Halonen's full review
Kent Heide profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use Cisco ACI as the foundation for our private cloud and now with the latest innovation stretching that into the public cloud with ACI and HyperFlex Anywhere.
  • Ease of manageability and visibilty
  • Great foundation for container platforms (Kubernetes)
  • Scales REALLY well!
  • Integrations with SD-access
  • The APIC UI could be rewritten as a modern webapp
  • It can be difficult for someone with traditional networking expertise to start thinking in terms of applications
Building your own private cloud.
Read Kent Heide's full review
No photo available
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We have several data centers running a mix of FabricPath, Catalyst and ACI. We have a data center that has been around for a few years that's only ACI and are starting to roll ACI out to additional data centers now that we've solidified the design/architecture. Our engineers have struggled a bit with adopting it as a new technology since it's such a different mindset than traditional networking, but several of us have embraced the new mindset and the potential that comes along with it and we've been able to make massive changes and architectural improvements as a result.
  • The REST API allows your to programmatically interact with the network and make massive changes very quickly when needed.
  • The API allows you to tie together Server Provisioning tools, storage provisioning tools, into an orchestration platform such as Ansible to streamline new deployments and builds.
  • New Deployments are extremely simple once you've worked out your programatic deployment process. We can deploy new clients/tenants in seconds rather than days or weeks like it used to take.
  • Replacing failed switches/apics/etc is also extremely easy.
  • Tightly couple the underlying Network Infrastructure to VMWare Deployments to allow VMs to move anywhere in the datacenter at the drop of a hat.
  • Getting users up to speed can be especially challenging. I'm not sure how much of that if culture related vs technical skills related, but it's something to keep in mind.
  • Along those same lines, engineers who have spent years in the trenches with Catalyst or Nexus environment may struggle with troubleshooting an ACI environment.
  • We've had some issues with user errors causing the fabric to go into a virtually unrecoverable state and TAC not always knowing how to fix it.
ACI could be advantageous in a large homogenous network where you're needing to quickly deploy large numbers of servers/tenants/etc. But at a certain point you may start to run into some scale limitations like we have that have required us to modify our architecture a bit. It's been amazing for letting us quickly move VMs anywhere in the fabric without network engineers having to verify that VLANs are trunked to the switch the new ESX host is hanging off of. It's also been awesome for quickly deploying new leafs and new tenants especially when compared to our older methods on FabricPath and Catalyst.
Read this authenticated review
No photo available
Score 5 out of 10
Vetted Review
Reseller
Review Source
I am with a VAR, and we have deployed Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) a few times for customers. Most times it is a POC or POV, but sometimes in production. Due to the staggering differences between ACI and traditional Cisco networking, I find most customers prefer a phased approach.
  • Allows for automated provisioning in the DC
  • Forces collapse of silos and encourages co-mingling of teams in IT
  • Telemetry around applications
  • The UI. To get large scale adoption we MUST make the UI a go-to console for traditional network engineers. It is getting better, but still needs improvements.
  • Best practices and more wizards to get the day to day items done.
  • Better training from real world installers.
If an organization is already Agile/Dev-Ops it is a great fit. Larger enterprises which are still heavily siloed often see it as too cumbersome.
Read this authenticated review
Nathan Sowatskey profile photo
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
The ACI APIC is used for programmatic data centre automation. The key business problem it solves is integrating network provisioning with IT service deployment in an automated, end-to-end service provisioning chain. APIC also provides visibility of the "health" status of applications in the ACI fabric, which is key to maintaining IT SLAs.
  • The REST API provided the APIC, and many of the tools associated with that, facilitate ease of integration.
  • The developer support, in terms of documentation, access to code libraries, extended examples and simulated environments needs additional thought and attention. There is little support beyond the fairly simple examples provided.
The overall concept is well-founded. It needs to be supported with easier to access examples aimed at non-network aware developers. APIC, as a web GUI and API gateway, has room for improvement.
Read Nathan Sowatskey's full review
Jose Antonio Alvarez Cubero profile photo
February 17, 2017

ACI revealed!

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Reseller
Review Source
It is being used across the whole organization. It addresses business agility and flexibility. We are showing its benefits to our customers.
  • Hypervisor integration
  • Ease end-to-end troubleshooting
  • Improve security across the network
  • Easy multisite deployment
  • Public cloud providers integration
It is well suited to network automation, private cloud, and DevOps scenarios. It is less appropriate in small data centers with a low degree of workload dynamism.
Read Jose Antonio Alvarez Cubero's full review
No photo available
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Cisco ACI is used for both internal and customer centric applications. Internal applications are used by a variety of teams within the organization. ACI is easy to provision and maintain and requires very less operational tasks on a daily basis. The initial configuration and design requires much thought.
  • Easy to provision/automate tasks
  • Integration with Virtualization and Compute environments
  • Easily scalable and manageable
  • Troubleshooting and visibility into packetflow and packet drops per interface
  • Packet capture to external systems in non ER-SPAN format
  • EPG based QoS verification
Cisco ACI is well suited for Data Center environments which continuously grow and ones which need isolated environments for different tenants/customers/applications. It provides Tenant-level visibility and operation. It might not be well suited for small scale data centers where scalability and throughput aren't a concern and which do not require automation and integration with different compute and storage environments.
Read this authenticated review

About Cisco ACI

Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is network virtualization technology.

Cisco ACI Technical Details

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