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The Countdown Begins! Cisco customers and partners prepare to roll out ACI

As spring turns to summer, just 6 months from when Cisco announced its vision of Application Centric Infrastructure, the momentum has started to pick up on all fronts – solution availability, technology integration with partners, channel awareness and most importantly strong customer traction. It is worthwhile to look at the trajectory thus far –

  • Nexus 9000 shipping with strong customer traction, awards and records
  • 70+ active ACI trials with customers and channel partners
  • ACI ecosystem – 33 ecosystem partners leveraging the open approach and the policy model
  • 1000+ customers in pipeline
  • 175+ customers across major SPs, Enterprise and Commercial with several production deployments

With the APIC ready to ship this summer and become generally available, it is very exciting to see the positive feedback coming in especially from customers and partners that are deploying the Nexus 9000 as also those participating in the ACI trials with the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC).

Hear directly from our major partners in this short video montage

New Innovations

Today we continued the momentum with new “ACI-ready” Nexus 9300 Top of Rack switches (9336PQ and 9396TX) both of which can ease into traditional 3-Tier deployments or ACI deployments moving forward. A new line card was also made available for the Nexus 9500 to function as an ACI ready spine. In addition, there were several other innovations across the Nexus portfolio, including a new Nexus 6004X switch,  VXLAN support made available across the entire portfolio as well as enhanced programmability and SDN/automation capabilities on the Nexus 7000 series switches.

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Announcing Cisco UCS Director 5.0 – with Support for Application Centric Infrastructure

May 16, 2014 at 6:40 am PST

It’s that time of year again. Next week in San Francisco, an estimated 22,000 customers and partners will convene for our annual Cisco Live user conference in the U.S. It’s also when we make big announcements … and this year is no different. The event hasn’t even started and we just made our first major announcement this morning.

In today’s press release, we announced that Cisco is delivering on our vision for Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) – including the release of the new Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) later this summer. In that same time frame, we’ll be releasing version 5.0 of Cisco UCS Director – including APIC integration and support for ACI.

Cisco UCS Director is unique in the industry because it offers the ability to automate the provisioning of both virtual and physical data center infrastructure resources – including compute, network, and storage – from a single management console. Building upon other recent releases, this major new release of UCS Director provides richer automation, greater extensibility, and broader device support. Some of the new capabilities in UCS Director version 5.0 include:

  • Support for APIC and the Nexus 9000 Series to provide automated deployment of application-ready infrastructure across both traditional and ACI-based data center networking from a single user interface.
  • Enhancements to the core platform including a new software development kit and open APIs that allow third party hardware and software vendors to integrate directly with UCS Director.
  • Expanded support for Cisco’s complete UCS and Nexus product portfolio; third-party compute, storage, and virtualization vendors’ products; and integrated infrastructure systems including NetApp FlexPod, VCE Vblock Systems, and EMC VSPEX.
  • Rapid customer deployment and even faster time-to-value with over 800 pre-built tasks in the updated UCS Director task library.

You can learn more about what’s new in UCS Director 5.0 in this “at-a-glance” overview:

At-a-Glance: Cisco UCS Director version 5.0 from Cisco Data Center

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Cisco IT’s Road to Application Centric Infrastructure: Organizational Readiness and the Program Team

Cisco IT is early in the journey to deploying an application centric infrastructure (ACI). This journey requires us to look at the IT organization differently. When we started evaluating what it would take to align applications to the network, we quickly realized that our organizational structure wasn’t favorable to extracting the most value from ACI. We needed an architecture team that represents all seven layers of the OSI stack, and works in sync to create tenets and policies and classify applications that conform with how we ultimately want to build out the fabric. ACI requires a completely different view of the relationship (along with a common syntax and language) between IT infrastructure and applications.

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ACI Walkabout at CiscoLive 2014, San Francisco

In a few days at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Cisco Live. This year we are expecting record attendance exceeding 20,000 participants, 9 amazing keynotes, 600 sessions, live demos at world of solutions, big analyst and partner presence, and last but not least, the opportunity for you to meet and network with top minds in high-tech. If you are new to Cisco Live and feel overwhelmed by the grandness of the event, let me assure you that you are not alone.  I have been there before. I have set out in this blog to give you an easy walkabout of Cisco Datacenter highlights, particularly the Cisco ACI key activities over the duration of the event.

Much like you I will also be eagerly looking to attend John Chambers’ majestic keynote that starts the proceedings on Monday, May 19. John in his unique style will lead with the Theme “Tomorrow Starts Here” covering leading industry trends such as Internet of Everything (IOE), Fast IT, and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) among many others. So, do not miss this opportunity. I want to shift gears and take you on a fast cruise of Cisco Data Center and Cisco ACI highlights at the event.

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In less than a year since the announcement, Cisco ACI has taken the industry by storm with a large customer base  and several of the industry’s key partners such as Microsoft, Red Hat, Citrix, F5, et al endorsing and building joint solutions. There is so much excitement around ACI at this year’s Cisco Live. I want to give a structure to how I am planning to cover the topic in this blog. Essentially, I consider them as Cisco-led and Partner led.

Cisco has a packed agenda of ACI activities and announcements. Cisco APIC, which enables ACI Fabric mode on Nexus 9000 networks, will be available this summer along with a robust Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy that includes additional eco-system partners, Cisco Validated Designs (CVD), additional platform support and leading-edge hardware innovations across the portfolio. We are also introducing two new additions to the existing portfolio of Nexus 9000 to meet scalability, flexibility and performance requirements of standalone and ACI mode deployments.

Executive ACI speaking sessions feature prominently this year with Cisco President Rob Lloyd’s session “Infrastructure for the Agile Enterprise” keynote, May 20, 10 AM, at the North Hall.  Rob’s keynote also features Soni Jiandani, who will present how ACI delivers agility. Rob Soderbery and Soni Jiandani are presenting a technology trends keynote (GENSK 1109) on May 21, 8.30 am, titled “Fast Track to Fast IT: Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure”, another choice from a catalog of exciting offers.

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Summary – Network Design for Automation

There has been a lot of recent online discussion about automation of the datacenter network, how we all may (or may not) need to learn programming, the value of a CCIE, and similar topics. This blog tries to look beyond all that. Assume network configuration has been automated. How does that affect network design?

Read my full article to find out more..

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