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Cisco Offers New ACI Capabilities to Expand Customer Choice and Flexibility

Thursday, December 24, 2015


FREMONT, CA: Cisco unveils latest software release for its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to bolster its SDN portfolio built on open APIs, open standards and broad ecosystem. The new release offers customers choice and flexibility by enhancing ACI with micro-segmentation for bare metal and virtualized applications and extends ACI across multi-site environment to deliver policy driven automation across data centers.

Cisco, through its contributes to open source to the company has integrated Docker containers and offers customers a consistent policy model and greater flexibility in deploying applications using Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC). 

ACI expands the choice of customers through a broad ecosystem, open application Program Interface (API) and open source contributions, and also supports automated service insertion for any third party layer 4-7 service.

The new ACI capabilities support cloud automation tools such as VMware vRealize Automation and OpenStack including open standards-based Opflex support with Open vSwitch (OVS). It enables entire application suites that include Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) to automate organization’s application and infrastructure teams.

“Customers tell me that only five to ten percent of their networks are automated today”, says Soni Jiandani, SVP at Cisco. “They are eager to adopt comprehensive automation for their networks and net6work services through a single pane of management, while improving security for east-west traffic, multi=cloud traffic and bare metal applications in a consistent manner. Policy-based automation, consistent network security and central compliance support are critical for IT efficiency, business agility, and competitive advantage. Several ACI customers have achieved full automation of the network and are   focusing on automation across their Layer 4-7 network services, security and application groups as the next step.”

Docker Container Support

Cisco supports physical and virtual endpoints, and with the integration of APIC and Project Contiv it extends the support to Docker container endpoints also. ACI’s unified policy model enforces policy through a collection of network endpoints such as bare-metal servers, virtual machines and containers. Project Contiv is an open source project and defines infrastructure policies for deploying container-based applications. Docker offers an open source platform to run distributed applications in Linux containers.

Advanced security

To enable granular endpoint security enforcement, Cisco ACI offers micro segmentation support for VMware VDS, Microsoft Hyper-V virtual switch, and bare-metal applications. It enable customers to dynamically  enforce forwarding and security policies, and quarantine compromised or rogue end points based on virtual machine attributes such as Name, Guest OS, VM Identifier, or network attributes such as IP address.  Within the same policy group, organizations can separate workloads by the micro segmentation support.

Multiple data center support

The policy-driven automation across multiple data centers through new multi-site application in the ACI toolkit enables application mobility and disaster recovery. It supports service insertion and chaining for any service device enabling seamless configuration and management of all their existing services while automating network services connectivity.

Increased Operational flexibility

The additional features of the software provides increased operational flexibility by supporting NX-OS style Command Line Interface (CLI) for APIC, Basic and Advanced GUI modes, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) support for APIC, and trouble-shooting wizard enhancements such as Heat Map.

Customer choice in cloud automation tools

Cisco offers full policy-based cloud automation with VMware vRealize Automation and also OpenStack deployments in addition to its support for Microsoft AzurePack for private cloud, enabling organizations a comprehensive cloud automation tool support. It extends ACI policy to the hypervisor directly using OPFlex on Open vSwitch (OVS).  OpFlex offers policy-based integration between OpenStack and Apic.


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