10 reasons to Choose CISCO ACI for your DCN (Part 1 of 2)

Why Should You Need To Know About CISCO ACI?

For a very long period, Data Center Industry has been using the legacy 3 Tier Data Center Network Architecture. These legacy networks were mostly network-centric. Today, traditions have mostly changed and over the last few years, the industry saw big data centers moving towards Software Defined Network or SDN solutions.

In 2013, Cisco released their Software Defined Networking Solution for Data Center Networks known as Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). There was a need for a solution that can configure the network devices more efficiently than having to configure individual devices manually. Cisco ACI solves many such problems.

What was ACI meant to solve?

  • An Open Solution for VM mobility in Data Center Network.
  • An Automated way to configure the entire VXLAN fabric as a whole rather than individual devices
  • A Solution to build a large-scale layer-2 Data Center Network.

This blog is divided into 2 parts, In this part 1 of 2, we will discuss what was ACI meant to solve, Cisco’s offering as a part of ACI Solution, and the high-level features that ACI provides.

What is CISCO ACI?

  • A way to reduce unnecessary Layer 2 Broadcast, Unknown Unicast, and Multicast (BUM) traffic forwarding in the Network
  • A Solution to prevent east-west traffic between Application Groups without using complex ACLs.

Cisco ACI is an industry-leading SDN solution for Data Center Networks that provides policy-driven automation through an integrated Underlay and Overlay solution which integrates hardware and software in which the switches are based on Nexus 9000 series and an APIC Controller which runs on top of the UCS Rack Servers. A Software that runs in the APIC Controller provides the ACI Policy model and a single pane of glass to manage and operate the ACI fabric.

Cisco’s ACI solution consists of at least 3 types of hardware components that work together to create a VXLAN based fabric.

  • Spines: A group of Nexus 9000 switches mostly 9500 series (with 40/100G interfaces) that work together and provide connectivity between all the Leaf Switches.
  • Leafs: Nexus 9000 switches mostly 9300 series that connects uplinks with all the Spines (with 40/100G interfaces) and downlink connectivity (on 1/10/25/40G interfaces) with the end devices like Servers, Security devices, Storage, etc.
  • APIC: The Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) is the central brain of ACI solutions. It comes in three or five servers as a cluster to provide the single point of management for the Spines and Leaf fabric, network monitoring and automate network provisioning.

Why Should We Choose Cisco ACI as a DCN Solution  

  • Simplified Automation with Application-driven policy model
  • Elimination of Layer 2 flooding in Fabric
  • Workload Mobility
  • Centralized visibility with real-time health monitoring
  • Scalable performance and multi-tenancy in hardware
  • Micro-Segmentation for all workloads
  • Third-Party Integration
    • Layer through Layer 7 Services
    • VMware VCenter
    • Microsoft Hyper-V SCCM  
    • Open Virtual Switch (OVS) and Openstack
    • Kubernetes
  • Image Management (Spine and Leaf)
  • Cisco ACI inventory and configuration
  • Flexible Deployment Modes with Multi-Pod and Multi-Site

If you are planning for a Tech Refresh, Migration from your legacy Network to ACI, or for implementing advanced features in your already deployed ACI Fabric. You can always reach out to us, the team at Zindagi Technologies consists of experts in the field of Campus/Data Centre technologies, Service Provider Networks, Collaboration, Wireless, Surveillance, private cloud, public cloud, Openstack, ACI, storage, and security technologies with over a 20 years of combined industry experience in planning, designing, implementing and optimizing complex Data Centre and cloud deployments.

We will be glad to help you. For any inquiries, please reach us on email at or call us at +91 9773973971.

Harpreet Singh Batra, Consulting Engineer
Data Center and Network Security

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Zindagi Technologies