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Take One small step with the ACI Simulator, Make a giant leap in ACI Fabric deployments

Cisco ACI is gaining momentum and mindshare in the industry as testified by the 160 plus licensees for the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), and 900 plus customers for the Nexus 9k platform.  All of this in less than three months since going live in August 2014.  Riding on that wave of success, we are pleased to announce the Cisco ACI Simulator, a physical appliance that provides a simulated Cisco ACI environment. The appliance is a full-featured Cisco APIC controller software along with a simulated fabric infrastructure of leaf switches and spine switches in one physical server.

If you wondered how it is going to help you, think of it as a self-contained environment with Cisco APIC instances with real production software. You can use it to quickly understand ACI features, exercise APIs, and initiate integration with third-party orchestration systems and applications. The ACI simulator will also allow you to use the native command line CLI and GUI via APIs that are available for third-parties.  If you are a developer or Cisco partner, this is an ideal way to develop and test your solution.  If you are a customer, you can use this in your test lab to create profiles for your enterprise apps with your actual application delivery controllers and security devices.  This belongs in any well-architected DevOps environment.

Topology of the simulator

The Cisco ACI Simulator enables you to simulate the Cisco ACI fabric, including the Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches supported in a leaf-and-spine topology, to take full advantage of an automated, policy-based, systems management approach. Specifically, the ACI simulator environment comprises 2 ACI spines, 2 ACI leafs, and 3 APIC controllers.


The Cisco ACI Simulator includes simulated switches, so you cannot validate the data path. However, some of the simulated switch ports are mapped to the front-panel server ports which allows you to connect external management entities such as VMware ESX servers, VMware vCenter, VMware vShield, and bare-metal servers; Layer 4 through 7 services; authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) systems; and other physical and virtual service appliances. In addition, the Cisco ACI Simulator allows simulation of faults and alerts to facilitate testing and demonstrate features.


The ACI simulator provides a variety of features and benefits, key ones summarized in the table below.

Fabric Management Topology view, Fabric discovery
Creation of network constructs Build a tenant,  private layer 3 network, bridged   domain
Specify Cisco ACI policy constructs Create Filters, Contracts
Application deployment create Application Network Profiles, End-point groups
Virtualization Integration VMware ESXi, vCenter, vshield
L4-L7 services integration Cisco ASA/ASAv, Citrix NetScaler and F5 BIG-IP
Monitoring and troubleshooting View faults, events, managed objects etc through GUI
Programmability with Northbound API clients Python, REST APIS with JSON & XML bindings,   PowerShell etc


Additionally,  please refer to the Cisco ACI compatibility matrix for a full list of supported capabilities and the Datasheet for detailed specifications. In closing, I want to bring to your attention to the general availability of APIC release 1.0(2i) and Cisco NX-OS release 11.0(2i) for Cisco Nexus 9000 Series ACI-Mode Switches. This release delivers new hardware and software capabilities that will further the customer momentum we are seeing with ACI.

For more information, visit

ACI simulator

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Check the Latest Cisco UCS Solutions– Visit the Cisco Data Center Booth at Gartner DC

Cisco is a Premier sponsor at the Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference on December 2-5, 2014 at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. The show is designed for customers to evaluate vendors, have internal leadership meetings, and make architectural decisions. Our experts will demonstrate how Cisco Data Center Solutions based on a radically simplified, fabric-centric architecture packed with innovations can support a wide range of workloads and IT operating models and provide customers the foundation to succeed in the 21st century.

The best way to quickly learn about latest Cisco UCS innovations and solutions is by seeing them “LIVE IN ACTION”. Come to the Cisco Data Center boothto leverage the Cisco UCS demos, and related activities at Gartner DC

  • Learn more about Cisco UCS Solutions: Visit the Cisco Data Center booth to interact with peers, Cisco executives, and Cisco partners.
  • Ask Our Experts: Cisco UCS experts will be available to answer your questions and provide interactive live demonstrations of Cisco UCS solutions.

Contact your customers, and let them know to visit the Cisco booth to leverage the following activities:

Cisco Speaking Sessions:

  • How Hybrid Cloud is Redefining Business and IT Rahul Tripathi, Senior Director of Product Management and Marketing, Cisco Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2015, 3:15-4:00 p.m.
  • Driving Business Outcomes with Cisco Data Center Innovations Satinder Sethi, Vice President, Data Center Solutions Engineering & UCS Product Management, Cisco Thursday, December 4, 2014, 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
  • Policy-Based Automation with Cisco ACI, the Most Complete SDN Solution Available Jacob Jensen, Senior Director, Product Management, Cisco Thursday, December 4, 2014, 3:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Todd Brannon, Director, UCS Product Management, will be hosting Cisco’s Vendor Roundtable focusing on The Role of Cloud and IT Service Brokering in the “World of Many Clouds on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Customer Engagement

  • Private meeting area for Customer 1:1 Meetings
  • An evening networking reception at our booth

Analyst and Investor Engagement

  • Analyst 1:1 meetings

Cisco Booth and Branding Visibility

  • Industry focused demos that will showcase Cisco UCS, ACI, Hybrid Clouds, and Data Center Orchestration with OpenStack

This is an amazing opportunity for your customers and partners to hear about the latest developments and to meet with Cisco experts.
I will be at the Cisco Data Center booth throughout Gartner DC event. Please stop by to ask questions, and to get a live Cisco UCS solution demonstration.

Enjoy the show!

Is IT Automation the Key to Operational Excellence? Industry Analysts Think So

Businesses move quickly until they have to cross rough roads paved with technical challenges. That’s because even though data centers are sophisticated, the components that support most businesses still include far too many 20th century manual processes, silo based resources and administrators pressured to keep up.

Although automation can speed up IT, and your business,  many companies are wrestling with it. Please watch this video from Cisco and Forrester to understand why organizations are struggling with automation – see if it sounds familiar (I bet it will).

After you watch it, if you want send me a brief email about your experience with these issues. Read More »

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SDN Questions to Ask at the Gartner Data Center Conference

London's Big Ben at Night

London’s Big Ben at Night

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Gartner Data Center conference in London.   I attended 3 different sessions on SDN-related topics.  Here are some of my observations from what was a very good conference.  Also, since the Gartner Data Center conference runs this week (w/c 1 December 2014) in the US, if you are going, here are some questions to think about when you attend the SDN sessions.

(1)    What does “lack of visibility” in Virtual Overlays really mean?

(2)    In multi-layer SDN, will SDN be cheaper than our current networking approach?

(3)    Are Vendors Guilty of Using NFV for SDN “Washing”?

(4)    If OpenStack is part of your SDN solution, can you help us on OpenStack?

(5)    What is the best hardware server platform for NFV/virtualised workloads?

(6)    How exactly does SDN deliver better network management?

I’ll cover a few questions today and some tomorrow.

Read More »

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Data Center Evolution – Nimble Storage Virtual Trade Show

It’s no secret that the heart of any business operation is the data center. And as business demands evolve, the pressure on IT to keep up means being more agile, scalable, fast, reliable and secure.

Many are turning to cloud based solutions; private, public or hybrid, and  implementing the latest technologies such as unified computing and flash storage.

So how do you prepare your data center for the onslaught of data, increased network traffic, and the insatiable demand for more processing power?

On December 2, Nimble Storage is hosting a virtual tradeshow to cover innovations in data center technologies to answer the above question and more.

Join Nimble Storage, Cisco, and other industry leaders to learn more about how you can evolve your data center, and strategically improve business outcomes.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 5.53.31 AM

Check out the event on Unleashing IT, and register to attend! As an extra incentive, there will be some exciting prizes being raffled for attendees. Best thing about this virtual trade show is that you will not need to leave your desk.