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.
||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
||create Application Network Profiles, End-point groups
||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
Tags: CISCO ACI Simulator, Cisco APIC, L4-L7 services integration, Nexus 9000 Platform, programmability, spine-leaf architecture
By Gina Nienaber, Marketing Manager, SP Product and Solutions Marketing
Cisco estimates over 50 billion new devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. To support the Internet of Everything, service providers must undergo an infrastructure transformation. The network needs to become more open, programmable, automated, adaptive, and agile. To guide this transformation, the Cisco open network strategy for service providers is depicted as three interwoven layers: the Evolved Programmable Network (physical and virtual network Infrastructure), the Evolved Services Platform (for orchestration of resources) and Applications and Services layer to enable virtualized services such as Cloud VPN and Security. With these three layers working together, providers can begin to realize the benefits of an open network that is readily open to new devices, open for quickly enabling new services, and open to endless possibilities.
Last week, Cisco announced two Read More »
Tags: Cisco Evolved Programmable Network, control, epn, esp, evolved services platform, IPv6, NFV, open network architecture, open network strategy, programmability, SDN, Service Provider, SP, virtualization
Network Consulting Engineer
Customers reach out to Cisco Services because they have confidence in our skills and abilities. One way we build that confidence for our customers—and for ourselves—is through certifications and specialization.
- As we study for certifications, we gain confidence in our understanding and abilities to execute in our areas of study.
- As we test our knowledge against known standards, we prove competency, which also improves our self-confidence.
As the networking industry evolves, the role of the Network Consulting Engineer (NCE) also must evolve. Gone are the days of configuring and managing a large-scale network via command-line interface. Read More »
Tags: certifications, evolution, NCE, programmability, services, skills
When last we left our hero, he (that is, me, or I) was getting a crash course in Nexus programmability and trying to understand what all of this stuff meant. I had plied Jim* with beer in order to get him to explain to me – using the available napkins in the bar – what the technology was, what it meant, and why I should care. Read More »
Tags: Chef, nexus, onePK, programmability, Puppet, python, Ruby
I know that I take a different approach to learning new things than most people. At least, I know my approach is different than the way people present them. The good news is that when I get something, I really get it. However, when looking at the juggernaut that is “Software-Defined X,” or even “programmability,” I know that I’m still a long, long way away from feeling like I have a handle on it.
When I wrote the previous blog post on some of the key “Open” terms were in programmability, I was overjoyed to find out that there were a few people who also had difficulty getting a grip on this too.
In other words, I’m not alone!
There is still a bewildering amount of information that I still need to learn, however, and it seems to me that if I resonated with a few people about these high-level topics, there are probably a few more who are curious about what lies beneath as well. Fortunately I work for a company (and with a lot of people) who have been willing to help me. Read More »
Tags: CLI, netconf, nexus, programmability, python, SDN