The role of IT in the enterprise is transforming. Cisco is creating the next-generation data center and cloud deployments with Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to simplify and optimize the entire application deployment lifecycle. 

ACI empowers IT to be more responsive to business needs.

Day in and day out, we face firsthand infrastructure challenges including application and service migration, OPEX, total cost of ownership (TCO), configuration and policy implementation, end-user experience, and security. These challenges affect multiple teams, the business, and our customers. Cisco’s global infrastructure teams strive to address them with the help of Cisco ACI.

Addressing these challenges involves a few components – the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), policy model, and Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches. APIC enables us to implement, automate, and configure multiple switches in the fabric with the same policy rather than manually configuring boxes one at a time. The policy model is the brain of ACI, the central hub of configurations and what policies are needed for endpoints to communicate with one another, or whether they can speak to other endpoints. New cost-optimized hardware and software are being developed as well. The hardware itself gives us new capabilities surrounding visibility, statistics, monitoring, and telemetry of what is happening in the fabric of the data center.

ACI is a key element in Cisco’s roadmap for the data center environment in the coming years. We’ve already started with the internal cloud, Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS). CITEIS is based on UCS and Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (CIAC). CITEIS increases the company’s business agility by automating the ordering and provisioning of IT infrastructure, making it a cost-effective service. It’s not just an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud, but provides Platform as a Service (PaaS) capabilities as well, including the delivery of a complete environment for application hosting, development, testing, and deployment.

The benefits of incorporating ACI into Cisco’s cloud and network environments are significant:

  • Drives down TCO and OpEx of providing compute and storage in the data center.
  • Offers end users tools for software creation, customization, scaling, and management, which inevitably lowers the complexity while increasing value.
  • PaaS elevates the conversation from the IaaS layer to the applications layer and customers have a better user experience.
  • Gives customers the ability to deliver the whole solution by completing the orchestration.
  • Reduces network complexity.
  • Automates provisioning and management of IT resources.
  • An open ecosystem that can integrate with third-party technology vendors, boosts ACI flexibility and scalability.

Today, IT teams need to provision applications in hours instead of months. Infrastructure resources need to scale up or down in minutes, not hours. IT needs the agility to deliver business capabilities competitively and cost effectively. ACI is paving the path to Fast IT.