I am in the trenches of our migration to an Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) platform, helping my team transition hundreds of applications. Cisco IT has broken down the migration process into nine steps:

  1. Complete network dependency mapping. In this exercise, the applications team validates the mapping of Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) to databases, for upstream and downstream applications.
  2. Build the ACI fabric in parallel with the existing infrastructure using Nexus 9000 Series Switches.
  3. Install seed compute into ACI fabric.
  4. Connect fabric to traditional network via uplinks.
  5. Define endpoint groups (EPGs) and network application profile.
  6. Install seed storage into ACI fabric.
  7. Move application to ACI. This move can take hours or days depending on the size and complexity of the application.
  8. Move storage and compute units.
  9. Iterate: identify next application(s) to set up and migrate.
ACI App Migration Diagram

The nearly 200 applications that I’m working on spread across multiple Cisco IT services and fall under Customer Care. They include

  • Install Base
  • Product Support
  • Case Management
  • Consulting Service Delivery
  • Service Order, Return, and Repair Management
  • Service Parts Planning and Inventory Management
  • Customer Entitlement and Access Request Management
  • Customer Service Delivery Platform

In my role as an ACI Prime, I’m responsible for steps 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9 of the migration process. I work closely with IT architects, IT managers, and my infrastructure partners to execute the remainder of the steps. The application space is complex as multiple applications are tied to a single database. Applications need to be moved in a logical grouping. The size of one application and the size of a group of applications drive the network component. I work with several application teams and infrastructure partners to coordinate the move. We work in an agile way and have a good Scrum cadence.

Over the next few months, as my team completes the ACI migration steps that I’m responsible for, I will share my experience and lessons learned with you. Stay tuned, as we are winding down the first step (Network Dependency Mapping). So I’ll be back soon with more about that.