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Redefining the Power of IT with Application Centric Infrastructure

After countless brainstorming sessions, code reviews, lab trials, scores of NDAs and nearly two years of intense speculation from media, analysts and the internet community – it is finally here! Today, Cisco is pulling back the curtains to reveal details of the vision of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) announced in June 2013. With shipping products as part of the announcement today, Cisco is also taking the first steps in making this vision a concrete reality. In the process, Insieme networks also returns to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco.

For those tuning into the press conference and webcast today , you will see John Chambers, Rob Lloyd and Insieme executives get into the specifics of ACI, with the event being hosted out of the historical Waldorf Astoria in New York.  You will also see Cisco’s partners and customers share both the stage as well as a common vision.

So, after months of silence, there will be quite a bit of information sharing, perhaps Information overload even. This is an announcement with innovation at multiple levels, and even for the tech savvy it will take time to fully understand and appreciate the architecture and the benefits it brings.

I wanted to share a few key concepts, innovations, and highlights of the announcement today. We will delve into additional details and dissect these pieces over the next few weeks on this blogging platform as well the public www.cisco.com/go/aci website, which will host a lot of the structured content.

1. The concept of Application Centric Infrastructure

We put together a short video to distill the concepts of ACI. It encompasses a lot of what existing networks today, as well as emerging SDN concepts (regardless of what the definition of SDN is), and goes quite beyond what anyone else is offering out there today. You will see some critical differentiators here:

  • De-coupling of application and policy from IP infrastructure
  • Ability to define application network profiles and apply them
  • Integration of physical and  virtual infrastructure elements with end-to-end visibility
  • Openness at a all levels
  • Scale, with security

2. Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC)

The Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) is a new appliance that will be the heart of the ACI fabric.  While the actual product will ship around Q2 of next calendar year. An APIC simulator will also be made available on a controlled basis for customers and partners to get familiar and additional information will continue to be made available. Unlike most software-only controllers in the market today that have little ability to exploit the capabilities of hardware, APIC provides a holistic system level view and an ability to tap into the capabilities of the underlying infrastructure. While it will initially be paired with the Nexus 9000, the APIC will be expanded to support other parts of the portfolio as well as other infrastructure building blocks.

The APIC utilizes a centralized policy-model with an application network profile and open architecture that allows for the application needs to be defined and mapped to infrastructure, to make it application-aware.

3. Nexus 9000 – Expanding the Nexus switching family

Cisco Nexus 9000 Switch FamilyWe’re expanding the highly successful Nexus family with the next “big bad boy”  -- the Nexus 9000.  This will initially come in two models – the Nexus 9500 and the Nexus 9300, with the former shipping now. It has a variety of innovations for all of the “5 Ps” – (i) an extremely attractive Price point , optimized for 1G to 1/10G in the access, and for 10G to 40G migration in the aggregation layer. In addition (ii) It brings in Industry leading Performance with 1.92Tbps per line card and is 100G ready. (iii) Has significantly higher non-blocking Port-density (iv) Flexible programmability with JSON/XML API with a Linux container for customer apps and (v) Power efficiency – with an innovative design that has no mid-plane/backplane resulting in 15% greater power and cooling efficiency.

The kaon shows the “see-through” design of the Nexus 9500 without the traditional mid-plane design.
To see the 3D design of the Nexus 9500 click here 

The Nexus 9000 is designed from ground-up to be ACI ready with a combination of merchant silicon and Cisco custom ASICs to deliver the “5 Ps”.

In addition to the Nexus 9000, keep a look out for the Application Virtual Switch (AVS).

911-CS_poster1_131105

4. 40G BiDi Optics*

As customers migrate to 10/40G over the next few years, the cost of laying new fiber and overhauling the optics is a tremendous drag and raises barriers for 40G adoption. I wrote about multi-layered innovations – this is one of them at a component level. The 40G BiDi lets customers preserve their existing 10G cables, resulting in tremendous time savings, cost savings (labor and fiber) as well as improved time to market for the upgrade. Bandwidth upgrades is one of the top reasons that drive network refreshes, and this innovation (a Cisco exclusive) produces remarkable results

5.  The Partner Ecosystem

It is not possible for one company to address all the challenges manifesting in the data center on its own, no matter how revolutionary the architecture is or how radical the innovations are. This is where a rich ecosystem of partners have stepped in(see the technology leaders rally here), each of them market and innovation leaders respective domains, to make the vision of ACI all the more real and consumable.

Their vision and commitment is reflective both of the shared vision and commitment to transform the data center infrastructure, as well as reflective of the open architecture of the ACI approach in general, building on the principles of the Cisco Open Network Environment (Cisco ONE), but also taking it to other aspects of the infrastructure. You may expect to see a lot of the demos  as the APIC becomes generally available next year,  even as services offerings around ACI become much richer, as evidenced by Scott’s blog link below.

Please stay tuned to this blog space and the www.cisco.com/go/aci website for additional information over coming weeks and months. As always we would like your comments and constructive criticism as we together help redefine the power of IT.

(*) Click on the Infographic to enlarge or download it 

Additional Resources 

John Chambers Blog “Transforming IT for the Application Economy”
Chris Young Blog on ACI Security
Scott Clark Blog on ACI Services
ACI PR announcements
ACI Partner Ecosystem 

 

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Exciting Announcements for Partners at Interop New York 2013

October 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm PST
Interop 1

Cisco set up shop this week at Interop in New York.

Cisco dialed up the excitement at Interop New York this week. Partners were there to learn how to transform, create new opportunities, and claim their share of the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy. We also made announcements about products and solutions to help you expand to more places with the Cisco Unified Access Solution. For a full rundown of everything available to partners at Interop New York this week, be sure to stop by Lauren Friedman’s blog about this week’s lineup.

Latest Innovations to Cisco Unified Access

As organizations look to improve their employee’s productivity, increase competitive differentiation and deliver better experience to the communities and customers within their environment, mobility is at the center of driving change. To deliver on the vision for a connected world, organizations need to have the right infrastructure and analytics in place to understand how devices are used and to effectively deliver applications and information to those devices. Cisco Unified Access and Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences enable this ability to drive business innovations. Read More »

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Cisco at Interop: John Chambers to Keynote and More

streets

*Note -- Skip to the bottom if you aren’t at Interop.  You can register for our online event and participate in the captioning fun*

This week we’re in New York for Interop -- one of those fun gatherings of networking folks -- and below I’ve outlined some of the events you won’t want to miss:

Tuesday Oct 1

10:00am -- 11:00am -- Cisco to participate in the Tech Field Day Roundtable!!!1 We’ll be doing a deep-dive on some of our neatest technology and, given the TFD delegates, it should be quite a discussion. You can watch live: http://techfieldday.com/event/riny13/  … live-tweeting from @CiscoEnterprise

11:15am -- 12:00pm -- Faraz Aladin -Director, Technical Marketing- Enterprise Networking - will be giving a talk in the Mobility and BYOD workshop -- room 1E08.  @Cisco_Mobility will be live-tweeting.

Read More »

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What Not to Miss: Interop NY 2013

Interop New York kicks off today at the Jacob Javits Center. Here’s the short list of what’s coming in the next few days:

Tech Field Day Round Table

Catch the tech deep dive on Cisco enterprise networking and wireless technologies on Tuesday October 1 at 10am EST. http://techfieldday.com/event/riny13/

Mobility & BYOD Workshop 

I’ll be live tweeting from the Mobility & BYOD Workshop on Tuesday October 1. Catch the latest from @Cisco_Mobility

Keynote

See John Chambers speak on the future of networking and the opportunity created by the Internet of Everything, live from the keynote stage on Wednesday October 2nd from 9:00 -- 11:00 AM EST. http://www.interop.com/newyork/conference/keynote.php

Unified Access Momentum Launch Event 

On Thursday October 3 from 1-2pm EST, we will introduce Cisco’s lateest business-changing network innovations. We will unveil new products and solutions that enable you to expand business applications to more places with Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences. Space is limited and registration is required.

If you are not going to the show, we will also be broadcasting it live.

Cisco Booth #409

Join us for demos, theater sessions, and Meet the Expert! We’ll be keeping updates on Twitter via @Cisco_Mobility

 

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Failure is not an Option! Real Madrid & Cisco Continue to Innovate and Partner for a Winning Formula

“We (Real Madrid), with our experience & ideas on how to grow in the sports and entertainment world, and you (Cisco) with your technology, innovation and revenue models… our collaboration, has always resulted in a win- win relationship…and, a proven reference in the world” – Enrique Uriel, CIO, Real Madrid

Eight years ago we embarked on a relationship with Real Madrid to collaborate in transforming the Santiago Bernabeu stadium into the “Ultimate Bernabeu,” which would deliver a fan experience unlike any other. Our first goal was to build a network that would make the stadium the safest, and most secure in the world.

That goal was closely followed by the next phase, which was to support the need for more “things” being connected to the network in the stadium – broadcasting companies, sponsors,  ticketing, hundreds of partners and VIP’s such as the Royal family!  The most recent goal, embarked upon three years ago, was to address the continually evolving need for fans and members to connect with the Club through technology.  Together we innovated, designed, and transformed the fan experience through key Cisco solutions – StadiumVision, Connected Stadium Wi-Fi , and StadiumVision Mobile – to enable the most interactive “live” experience in the world. Read More »

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