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How Cisco ACI Stands out from other Network Virtualization Solutions – Part 1

May 13, 2015 - 6 Comments

[Note: This is part 1 in a three part series of blogs discussing how Cisco ACI stands alone in the market. Part 2 | Part 3]

Customers are bombarded by network virtualization and SDN technologies. In many cases, they are conflicted by vendor claims and marketing hype. Rob Lloyd, president of Cisco Systems highlighted some of that in his blog ACI or NSX.

In this blog and subsequent blogs, we’ll expand on Rob’s blog and provide more color on ACI differentiators compared to competing network virtualization solutions.

1)  ACI Simplifies Diagnosis of Slow email AccessIn this episode, Joe Onisick highlights a scenario where IT received complaints from users experiencing slow email access and timeouts sending email with large attachments. As a network admin, going about debugging this type of complaint to determine the root cause can be time consuming and cumbersome especially in a mixed environment of physical and virtual applications.

With ACI, the debugging process can be simple and quick with real-time visibility into the fabric. By examining the healthscore dashboard and email app profile from a central managed location, APIC, a corrective action can be taken quickly.

In this case, they can easily see that a new tenant is introducing data into a Hadoop cluster running on the same infrastructure neighboring racks, which has created a hotspot on the fabric that is impacting the email platform. The vAdmin can modify the fabric policy to enforce a QoS setting that quickly fixes the problem.

Correlating the problem would have been difficult with competing network virtualization solutions because the physical network admin would have not found an easy way to identify the email traffic vs. other types of traffic, nor to spot the place of hotspot or reason.

Joe Onisick shows us this all in detail in this whiteboarding video

2) ACI Enables DevOps Model

Here in this episode, see how ACI exposes open API’s for infrastructure programmability and automation connecting to management tools on northbound, and physical & virtual devices including L4-7 appliances on southbound. Exposing API’s with Application Network Profile (ANP) enables translation of Dev and Ops team’s needs in an open environment resulting in automated workflow and better management of application life cycle. Unlike competing network virtualization solutions that limit API exposure thus limiting DevOps model.

See Joe Onisick detailing this here

Tags: ACIapplication networking servicesdata centerproductsSDNtechnologyvirtualization

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing small videos and bring small small factors into notice…appreciated !! It would be great if you can explain in the Practical way so that we can also see the demonstration of it….can you take this into account, please???

    No doubt about Cisco ACI as a policy-based SDN architecture to speed application delivery, reduce operating costs, and efficiently scale customer services.

    Share more videos.Thanks !

  2. Interesting post and videos, I do like the open approach Cisco is taking, looking forwards to the next two posts

  3. In the DevOps video, I like the comment Joe makes that ACI Application Network Profiles automatically translates what a Developer needs to understand to what the Operations team needs to understand. It’s cool to think of compliance and security getting automatically translated to ports, protocols, and devices.

  4. Tahnk you. This was very well explained and simple to understand with the examples that were used.

  5. Thanks for making clear the connection to DevOps!

  6. Great video example of diagnosing performance and latency issues in the ACI fabric.