Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) reduces TCO, automates IT tasks, and accelerates data center application deployments. It accomplishes this using a business-relevant software defined networking (SDN) policy model across networks, servers, storage, security, and services.
Cisco ACI is a comprehensive SDN architecture. This policy-based automation solution supports a business-relevant application policy language, greater scalability through a distributed enforcement system, and greater network visibility. These benefits are achieved through the integration of physical and virtual environments under one policy model for networks, servers, storage, services, and security.
Through Cisco ACI, customers are reducing application deployment times from weeks to minutes. It also dramatically improves IT alignment with business objectives and policy requirements.
Cisco ACI is built on:
ACI provides a network that is deployed, monitored, and managed in a way that benefits different teams in the IT organization including SDN Network, Cloud and DevOps, and Security. It supports rapid application change by reducing complexity with a common policy framework that can automate provisioning and resource management.
Cisco ACI is a comprehensive SDN solution, making the application the focal point. It is delivered on an agile, open, and highly secure architecture. Its application-based policy model offers speed through automation, reducing errors and accelerating application deployment and IT processes from weeks to minutes.
Application-based policies decouple high level application connectivity needs from the complicated details of network configuration. This results in automated IT processes that simplify operations. ACI provides transparent support of heterogeneous physical and virtual endpoints - such as bare metal servers, and virtual servers on any hypervisor - with Layer 2 to 7 network services, using consistent policy. This provides faster troubleshooting through increased visibility of the entire infrastructure.
Cisco ACI supports open APIs, open source, and open standards to optimize customer choice and flexibility. (Cisco contributes technology specifications to open source and standards communities.) The open integration with existing data center management tools and a comprehensive open partner ecosystem helps to ensure flexibility while decreasing costs and increasing innovation.
Cloud and DevOps
Provisioning applications has become easy with programmable infrastructure. Yet on-boarding them is still hard. Cloud architects have to know what infrastructure design will support frequent application changes to performance, security, availability and scale. DevOps has to work with both application and admin teams to understand how numerous application changes affect the configuration of switches, ports, VLANs, firewalls, security appliances, load balancers and other application delivery functions. All changes must work within a shared production infrastructure without affecting existing tenants and applications.
Cisco ACI introduces a simple, application level, policy-based approach. Application intentions are automatically translated to infrastructure design without requiring knowledge of devices or the effort to translate to configurations. This helps to enable policy-aware resource orchestration, real-time governance and open choice in cloud software.
Cisco ACI and the APIC SDN controller allow for security policies down to the individual tenant, application, or workload. They provide protection that meets the most stringent business and compliance requirements. The whitelist model permits communication only where explicitly allowed, helping to ensure that policy omissions do not leave security vulnerabilities.
Through Cisco ACI, all security device provisioning and configuration can be automated according to the centrally managed application policies and requirements.This simplifies IT security tasks (including PCI compliance), and accelerates application deployments.