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Myth-busting: ACI or NSX, which is the Real SDN Leader?

I speak with customers every day and often hear they are confused by conflicting vendor claims, marketing hype and embellishments. This is especially true when discussing SDN, where both the technology and the market have evolved significantly over the past few years.

I’ve invited Frank D’Agostino, one of Cisco’s top technical experts on SDN, to join me in separating fact from fiction. Frank and I are on a mission to debunk trendy technology myths, and this is the first in a three-part video series that we’ll bring to you over the next week.

In this first episode, Frank and I discuss the differences between Cisco’s ACI and VMware’s NSX. Frank is in a unique position to discuss both technologies, since he’s the only expert that has been deeply involved in the development of both NSX and ACI.

We think that ACI and Nexus is the most complete solution on the market. It does everything customers want from SDN, while offering more capabilities than NSX, and being two to three times less costly in typical customer configurations.

Cisco also collaborates very closely with our customers on technology, and we work with a wide variety of industry leaders, including competitors, to offer the best level of technology integration and interoperability. The reality is that the choice between ACI or NSX is not “either or:” if customers want both, NSX can run on ACI just like any other application, and in fact NSX will run better over an ACI infrastructure than over any other infrastructure on the market.

Take a look at our first video below, and then compare for yourself which solution makes the most sense from the perspective of cost, performance, scalability, and features.

We look forward to reading your comments and feedback.

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ACI and CITEIS Fortify the Cloud-Enabled Data Center

In July 2014, Cisco IT turned on the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) fabric for the first time in our San Jose engineering data center. Since then, we’ve been busy building out the ACI fabric in our U.S. production centers and beginning the process of migrating workloads. In phases, we’ll migrate our global infrastructure footprint to ACI within two years. Running on our internal cloud platform called Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS), ACI provides flexibility and elasticity across the data center that wasn’t possible before. So far the results have been better than even we expected. Read More »

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Embrane

With agility and automation as persistent drivers for IT teams, the need to simplify application deployment and build the cloud is crucial for the data center.

Today, Cisco is pleased to announce its intent to acquire Embrane, a provider of a lifecycle management platform for application-centric network services.

As we continue to drive virtualization and automation, the unique skillset and talent of the Embrane team will allow us to move more quickly to meet customer demands. Together with Cisco’s engineering expertise, the Embrane team will help to expand our strategy of offering freedom of choice to our customers through the Nexus product portfolio and enhance the capabilities of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

With this acquisition, we continue our commitment to open standards through programmable APIs and multi-vendor environments. More importantly, we remain committed to the rich ecosystem of partners and customers in production through the automation of network services, cloud and system management orchestration and automation stacks.

The Embrane team will be joining the Insieme Business Unit. We expect the acquisition to be complete before the end of the current quarter.  Financial terms are not disclosed.

 

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ACI – Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure for Microsoft System Center, Windows Azure Pack and More

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John Chambers with Satya Nadella at ACI Launch

From the beginning Microsoft has been a strategic partner with Cisco in the development of our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) technologies and solutions. In fact Cisco CEO John Chambers shared the stage with Microsoft’s Satya Nadella at the ACI launch several months ago in New York City.

ACI itself in the data center is a holistic architecture with centralized automation and policy-driven application profiles. ACI delivers software flexibility with the scalability of hardware performance. Traditionally, IT approaches took a siloed operational view, with no common operational model between the application, network, security, and cloud teams.  With ACI, a common network operational model delivers IT application agility, simplified operations across teams, assured network and application performance, and scale. Read More »

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ACI Programmability Enables Cloud Tenant BC/DR Across Dual Data Centers

Ask any storage administrator trying to deploy Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) solutions between two data centers if it is simple  to get the networking set up for mission critical applications in a BC/DR scenario.  I am willing to wager you’ll hear the same tales I’ve often heard, that the storage team and the network team have a difficult time setting up the necessary network configurations for the storage replication application’s service level requirements between sites.  Equally important, there is also a complicated challenge with providing a duplicate infrastructure at the secondary site so that the application will be able to come up to restore the application to service  quickly (often referred to as the Recovery Time Objective, RTO).

Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure enables a novel solution to this problem which one of our ACI partners, World Wide Technology, Inc. (WWT), recently deployed. It illustrates the power of the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller’s (APIC) and the ACI fabric’s open programmability. To appreciate this, let’s take a closer look at the problem.

Read More »

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