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New FortiGate Connector for Cisco ACI Delivers App-Centric Security Automation For Data Center Agility

Cisco’s open ACI eco-system is gaining rapid momentum in Data Centers with more than 45 leading partners developing joint solutions addressing L4-L7 network and security service use-cases along with application stack automation. Just a few weeks ago we announced a major milestone in our journey, Cisco’s 1000th ACI customer.

Some of our customers have deployed the ACI-Fortinet joint solution. In this blog, I want to talk about the integration of Fortinet FortiGate Firewall with Cisco APIC. The integration of Cisco APIC and the Fortinet FortiGate solution provides customers several benefits:

  • Consistency and transparency for workload security deployment across physical and virtual application environment.
  • Single-pane-of-glass management from Cisco APIC with full visibility on security policy enforcement
  • Predefined security policies are deployed on command and automated through complete application deployment lifecycle

Let me take you on a quick tour of some of the customer success stories.

Qbranch Case Study: Orchestrating FortiGate Security with Cisco ACI

European service provider Qbranch, part of Axians, and networking leader Cisco discuss the real-world challenges with manually provisioning firewalls and security policies, and how orchestration of Fortinet’s SDN Security framework with Cisco’s Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) can reduce costs and enable better service delivery in multi-tenant environments. Watch Video and Case study for details of the implementation.

Hosting Provider Zitcom Accelerates Time to Market with Cisco ACI and Fortinet

Zitcom, a premier partner-driven hosting company based out of Denmark is one of the early adopters of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). Watch Thomas Raabo, Network Operations Manager of Zitcom, share details about how Cisco ACI made Apps deployment easier, fostered collaboration between apps and network teams, and brought an overall agile application deployment environment.

There are several other customer stories featuring ACI-Fortinet solution, but I’d run out of time and space to list them all. For your easy reference visit for more customer videos.

Let’s look in detail at the key capabilities of Fortinet-Cisco ACI solution and the benefits it brings to Data Center customers. Fortinet’s FortiGate firewall solution integrated into Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) delivers application-centric security automation in modern data centers. The solution provides automated and predefined policy-based security provisioning for next-generation firewall services. It enables location independent security services insertion anywhere in the network fabric through a single-pane-of-glass management. Cisco ACI – FortiGate solution architecture is shown below:



The joint FortiGate Integration with Cisco APIC has two major components:

  • FortiGate device package for Cisco APIC
  • FortiGate physical or virtual appliances

Now let us segue to the Fortinet Device package integration with Cisco APIC. The Device package integrates with Cisco APIC through open APIs and provides per-app, per-tenant L4-L7 policy configuration and dynamic service chaining and insertion. In addition, the integrated solution also allows exchange of intelligent telemetry information between Fortinet and APIC for application and tenant visibility.

The Fortinet Device Package for Cisco ACI comprises a device Model and a device Script. The Device Model defines the functions provided by FortiGate such as firewall inspection including IP reputation, web filtering, anti-virus, DNS filtering, SSH inspection, IPS, and DDoS etc., The Device Script provides the adapter functions required for FortiGate to communicate with APIC.

I am pleased to inform that we are also having a detailed Webinar, Oct 23, on the ACI-Fortinet joint solution topic, presented by subject matter experts from Cisco and Fortinet. Register Here.

Additional Resources

Video Interviews

Solutions Brief

Press Release

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Partner Voices: The Power of 3: Cisco, EMC, and VCE

There’s nothing like the energy of more than 25,000 people in San Francisco talking technology over the course of three days, like VMWorld 2015. And now that I’ve had a couple of weeks to let the dust settle and reflect back, it’s the successful relationships with our partners that remains top of mind and defines Cisco’s success.

For me, the focus on our partnerships with EMC and VCE once again demonstrated that both customers and partners are excited about not only our past successes, but more importantly, where we are going and the work we’ll be doing together in the future.

Fifteen years and more than 70,000 mutual customers later, EMC and Cisco remain global technology leaders because of our commitment to customers, leading technology, and support. And if traffic in the Cisco booth at VMworld is any indication, it’s very clear there’s still a buzz.

Add VCE to the mix, whose Vblock with Cisco ACI continues to help customers, and the result is a ‘Power of 3” providing leading Storage (EMC), Networking (Cisco) and Converged Infrastructure (VCE) solutions.

Power of Three

Sarah Phillips (EMC) Mark Murphy (Cisco) Susan Haas (VCE)

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Policy Driven Infrastructure to Transform Your Microsoft Cloud, Apps, and Operations

Please join us Thursday Sept 24, 2015 11:00AM ET for a WindowsITPro virtual event.


We have an information packed agenda planned for you encompassing:

  • The cloud, the hybrid cloud, and the private cloud.
  • Software-defined networking and policy-based automation.
  • The idea of application policy in next generation networking technologies and how they differ from the networks of today.
  • How Next-Generation SDN is impacting the cloud, your applications, and the
    data center.

Join us to learn about how policy helps companies make “bi modal IT” a continuum for IT organizations to support both traditional and cloud native applications on a common infrastructure.  Learn how to reduce TCO, achieve greater agility for the entire IT organization, enhance security for compliance and governance needs and simplify operations when infrastructure itself helps support and enable applications.

Policy Driven Infrastructure to Transform Your Microsoft Cloud, Apps, and Operations delivered by yours truly and a distinguished executive panel including:

  • Michael Michael, Senior Director of Product Management at Apprenda, responsible for the vision and product direction of Apprenda’s Platform As A Service (PaaS) solution.
  • Scott Napolitan, a Senior Program Manager with Microsoft’s Cloud and Datacenter Management Organization focused on Network and Fabric Management.
  • Jeremy Oakey, VP Strategic Alliances at CliQr for their application-defined cloud management platform for modeling, deploying, and managing clouds, applications, and users.

Evolving Your Data Center to the Next Level delivered by Michael Otey, senior contributing editor for Windows IT Pro and SQL Server Pro.

Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Microsoft Solutions presented by Tim Cerling, Technical Marketing Engineer with Cisco’s Datacenter Group, focusing on delivering customer-driven solutions on Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center products.

Understanding Next-Generation SDN: The Complete Integration of your Data Center presented by Bill Kleyman, VP of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies.

The Path Forward: Charting a Course to the Networks of Tomorrow presented by Frank Ohlhorst, an award-winning technology journalist, professional speaker, and IT business consultant with over 25 years of experience in the enterprise technology arena.

The virtual event will include an exhibition with demonstrations, presentations, videos, and engaging subject matter experts who’ll be glad to chat with you, answer questions, and provide you with access to even richer educational information.  I hope you will register now and join us next week!

Related Information on ACI and Microsoft Cloud Platform

ACI and Microsoft Cloud Platform solutions webpage

ACI and CliQr blog and interview

Microsoft Ignite breakout on ACI and Microsoft’s Cloud Platform

Video: Winning Together with Cisco ACI and Microsoft Azure Pack.

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CliQr and Cisco ACI take an “Application First” approach to Hybrid Clouds

In the application economy, it is all about time to application delivery and focus on optimizing the entire application lifecycle. With the sustained “cloudification” of IT, supporting multiple applications while reducing cost and complexity in a multi-cloud environment becomes very critical.  Most companies suffer from application sprawl with scripting, complex workflows and a cumbersome ticket-based approach defining the application rollout.  It is therefore no surprise that many companies hit the “pause” button especially when they are not in a position devise a clear strategy to automate and manage applications in a multi-cloud environment. Unfortunately, this puts them in a holding pattern and at a competitive disadvantage vs. others that are willing to take a more proactive role to transforming the application lifecycle.

The good news is several innovative solutions today are cropping up to address this problem. For its part as a leading infrastructure vendor Cisco is making it really easy to program and automate infrastructure, as well as focus on solutions that build private clouds or establish a mature hybrid cloud presence. Cisco’s UCS portfolio, open NX-OS capability across the Nexus family of switches, SDN controller-based solutions like the Virtual Topology System (VTS) as well as industry-leading innovations like Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) are all making rapid strides in this direction.

The Cisco ACI approach has been focused on making networks (and other network infrastructure components) more application centric for traditional data center as well as cloud-based deployments embracing a mix of Cisco innovations, open source, open APIs as well as a very robust open ecosystem. Several established players as well as innovative startups have seen value in coming on board this ecosystem and delivering joint solutions to customers. One such exciting startup is CliQr, located in Santa Clara – the heart of the Silicon Valley.

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A Strong Partnership: Cisco and Microsoft

Cisco continues to develop their partnership with Microsoft becoming a critical component of the Microsoft Data Centers across the globe. 80% of the data centers around the globe already include Cisco networking switches and routers. More and more of these same Data Centers are also making the switch to Cisco UCS server platforms.  There are many advantages to using Cisco UCS as your server platform. IDC recently competed a study interviewing many Cisco UCS installed customers and determined that by installing your application on a Cisco UCS server platform, those customers will gain the following business benefits.

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You can get first hand knowledge of these benefits by visiting Cisco at several Microsoft events over the next couple of months.

  1. Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Microsoft Virtual Trade Show.

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Evolving Your Data Center to the Next Level

Keeping up with all of the changes in today’s data center technology is can be daunting. Data center technologies are evolving quickly on a number of different fronts. This presentation will cover some of the latest trends in data center technology. You’ll see how they can impact your business and how you can best begin to incorporate them into your own infrastructure. The technologies discussed will include the cloud, the hybrid cloud, containers, consolidated management, software defined networking, flash storage, as well as converged and hyper- converged infrastructure.

  1. Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Days

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This community initiative is the brain-child of several of Microsoft Canada’s Top MVP’s. It is our absolute pleasure to be able to share our knowledge locally allowing our communities to learn more and advance their technical knowledge base. You can follow Canadian MVP’s on Twitter #CDNMVP

Vancouver, BC – September 21, 2015

Click here to Register for Vancouver

Calgary, AB – September 23, 2015

Click here to Register for Calgary

Edmonton, AB – September 25, 2015

Click here to Register for Edmonton

  1. SQL Saturday

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Free 1 day training events for SQL Server professionals that focus on local speakers, providing a variety of high quality technical sessions. It’s a group of SQL Server database administrators, database and application developers, business intelligence experts, and users from around the globe. This community is represented by more than 285 local PASS Chapters worldwide, 28 virtual chapters, 120,000 members.

Orlando – October 10

Click here to Register for Orlando

Portland – October 24

Click here to Register for Portland

Join us at these different events and discover why the server platform on which you install these Microsoft solutions makes a difference. Hope to see you there.


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