I had the chance to spend some time with some of our customers at Cisco Live Melbourne this past week where they asked me about ways to justify the migration to a Software-Defined-Network approach with ACI, by providing hard evidence that this is a game-changer for any industry.

I joked with them (since they were mostly network, security and VM admins) by asking how many times they have blamed the network guy for things not working right?

Why does this happen? Well, basically because it takes the network-admin longer to identify where a potential problem may be and prove the network is not the one to blame (multiple switches and network devices managed separately). Picking on the network-admin is not always fun since our business may be impacted as a consequence (and sometimes it is not even the network’s fault).

As said in other blogs, it is not about performance and reliability any more. We need to be faster provisioning the network, consistently securing it anywhere and able to operate and troubleshoot it simpler.

I have been in this industry for almost 15 years now, and this video reminded me how I used to configure the network before and how ACI has totally changed the way I do networking today:

After these scenarios displayed on the video (and getting a bit nostalgic about my blue console cable), I wanted to provide you with some business-impact facts that were identified in Melbourne by some of our customers when adopting ACI Anywhere and Multicloud Networking:

Faster Time to Market

Before: Any moves, adds and changes take today around 10 minutes per device and approximately 2 minutes per port (including verification). Imagine a network with 6 switches where you need to make changes to 1 port at the time. That means 72 minutes (6 x 10 + 6 x 2) at least to have that new switch ready to use. Add now the virtual and cloud piece to make it consistent (not measured here). You are talking about hours to provision the same (hopefully) configuration to different places and enable communication.

With ACI Anywhere: imagine now that you only need 1 – 2 minutes when you add a new switch (including virtual and cloud networking), translate it to money, and we are talking about a huge differentiator! ACI Anywhere could also cover multiple locations (including clouds) and still manage everything centrally for Active-Active deployments

Brand Recognition:

Before: Did you ever heard of Target or Equifax or even Ashely Madison? After a Security Breach, all those businesses were highly-affected losing credibility, money and customers. You are as weak as your weaker link and today it is impossible to have an Access-Control inconsistently configured on different physical switches and ports as your Security Policy. Then, what about non-physical networks? They are vulnerable too right? Not only is policy important, but also encryption, which usually drive high costs (especially on public links)

With ACI Anywhere: Policy is defined once and deployed everywhere. This provides you with zero-trust networks regardless of the size, form or location. Not only that, but you can also have Multiple Data Centers and Clouds encrypted with CloudSec and MacSec at the hardware level. This means consistent protection at the Policy-Level as well as at the payload one.

Less downtime and customer satisfaction:

Before: When the network fails, it usually takes hours to recover (following the same logic as explained in the Faster-Time-to-Market section). This impacts your business as well as your inability to keep selling (or maintaining your users happy).

With ACI Anywhere: If somebody misconfigures the network, you can go back in time in just 3 seconds using Checkpoints and Rollbacks. No more troubleshooting is needed, and you also have a central dashboard to learn and understand how your network is performing in terms of latency, drops, telemetry and more.

Businesses are moving forward and evolving to avoid being disrupted. Intent-Based Networking is there to help in your journey to digitization!

Over and out from Cisco Live Melbourne!




Carlos Campos Torres

Technical Solutions Architect

World Wide Data Center & Virtualization