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Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is network virtualization technology.https://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/40/Lo/TAE0MG75IJG3.jpegACI 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 LambdaSteep 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 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
15 Ratings
Score 7.8 out of 101
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Cisco ACI Reviews

Cisco ACI
15 Ratings
Score 7.8 out of 101
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June 29, 2018

Cisco ACI: "ACI review from a VAR"

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
Michael Wiley profile photo
May 07, 2018

Cisco ACI Review: "Steep learning curve, but well worth the investment."

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 Michael Wiley's full review
Nathan Sowatskey profile photo
February 10, 2017

Cisco ACI Review: "ACI APIC from a developer's perspective"

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

Cisco ACI Review: "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
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December 07, 2016

Cisco ACI Review: "The Application Centric Approach"

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.
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Cisco ACI Scorecard Summary

About Cisco ACI

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

Cisco ACI Technical Details

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