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Recently, the conversations I have been having about Software Defined Networks have shifted from supplying agile networking for VM provisioning and live migrations to looking at the problem through the lens of the application team.  In the past, I spoke about provisioning VMs and moving VMs as a surrogate for the application.  An application and a VM are not always in a one-to-one ratio.  This is a convenient simplification for everyone except perhaps the IT operations teams provisioning multi-server, tiered, or distributed server applications.

In this blog post, I want to complement Gary Kinghorn’s blog, The Promise of an Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), to briefly share insights from talking with many IT operations managers and architects responsible for traditional enterprise applications as well the new distributed applications for cloud infrastructure.  What they are saying has profound implications for cloud infrastructure.

Conventional IT organizations have dedicated teams managing their applications, compute, network, security, and storage infrastructure.  These functional organizations must work together much like runners in a relay race to manage the lifecycle of the applications used by an enterprise.  These runners need to be agile but the racecourses are not the same every race.

When you look at some categories of applications side by side, the implications on business agility – the speed that a business can execute on a strategy (esp. one dependent on IT) – and the requirements on applications, network and security teams become apparent.

Every installation has its unique fingerprint of application requirements but the chart below is useful to provide a comparison and contrast of the requirements for these categories of applications.

App Requirements Chart

Source: Cisco interviews with leading IT DevOps administrators, 2013

IT organizations that want to work faster need to define applications requirements according to these major dimensions and learn to accelerate the workflow of application deployment across pooled network, security, compute and storage infrastructure.

Last June, Cisco revealed its vision for Application Centric Infrastructure, an innovative secure architecture that delivers centralized application driven policy automation, management and visibility for physical and virtual networks from a single point of management.  It provides a common programmable automation and management framework for the network, application, security, services, compute, and operations teams, making IT more agile while reducing application deployment time.

To learn more about Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure and how it accelerates application deployment cycles, join our ACI Announcement Webcast on November 6, 7:30 AM PT/10:30 ET/15:30 GMT. Register here.

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2 Comments.


  1. How about an application centric infrastructure being incorporated within a load balancer with various application specific templates?

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  2. Naresh, you may be interested in the solution briefs with ACI ecosystem partners F5 and Citrix. You may find them here
    Cisco and F5: Building Application Centric, Service Enabled Data Centers
    http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns945/solution-brief-c22-730004.html
    Cisco and Citrix: Build Application Centric, Application Delivery Controller-Enabled Data Centers.
    http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns945/solution-brief-c22-730002.html
    Application Network Profiles can absolutely be created specific to various applications to incorporate with load balancers. Write me to learn more and get started.

       0 likes

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