Private Clouds are fundamentally challenging how modern data centers are acquiring and consuming IT. Nearly half of large enterprises polled have deployed a private cloud, its reasonable to say organizations are tackling head-on the key concerns of designing, building and deploying a private cloud today. The top challenges are security of data, control and efficient delivery of applications as cloud services; need to be compliant, need for in-house expertise and added upfront costs. Added to the challenges is the network that is becoming the remaining bottleneck to business agility after everything else gets virtualized and automated. SDN is the key component of any cloud computing strategy in making IT more agile and, therefore, more responsive to the needs of the business.
At our April 2 webcast, New Applications Are Knocking: Is your Data Center OPEN for Business?, we explored insights from ACI ecosystem vendors and customers that are addressing these challenges using the Nexus 9000, cloud orchestration, and the open capabilities of ACI.
At that event, Chuck Crane, Lead Networking and Security Architect at Acxiom, shared the accelerating pace that his team is expected to deploy infrastructure in – from weeks down to hours with an astounding 20,000 network and security changes in their cloud infrastructure per year.
His DevOps teams are accelerating their deployment cycles from six months down to two week sprints so the IT organization must deliver new infrastructure services almost instantly. Chuck and the other customer discussions can be found at the 40 minute mark in this video of the event.
Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) solves not only the technical challenges but also delivers the operational, service-level, and financial business improvements that help organizations become world class service oriented IT organizations. ACI gives IT leaders the ability to manage even the most complex private cloud environments more easily and transparently.
The architecture provides a common programmable automation and management framework for network, application, security, and virtualization teams. This framework makes IT more agile while reducing application deployment time. In short, Cisco ACI enables a world class service oriented IT organization by coordinating application, network and security teams to maximize the benefits of a policy-driven data center that support open, standard controller APIs to maximize flexibility and minimize lock-in. In other words, ACI enables the IT to be more strategic in streamlining the IT resources and to act like an internal service provider, essentially “running IT as a business”.
 Gartner, Private Cloud Matures, Hybrid Cloud Is Next, Analyst: Thomas J. Bittman
 Top 10 Technology Trends, 2013: Cloud Computing and Hybrid IT Drive Future IT Models, 6 February 2013, David W. Cearley, Donna Scott, Joe Skorupa, Thomas J. Bittman
 Is ACI Really SDN? One Point of View to Clarify the Conversation, Cisco Blog, Gary Kinghorn