Best of Interop bannerWith Interop less than three weeks away, we were doubly excited to learn that Cisco APIC, the controller for our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) fabric, and the Cisco Nexus 9516 switch have been selected as Best of Interop 2014 Finalists in the categories of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Data Center Networks respectively. As you may recall, when we announced ACI and our series of Nexus 9000 switches back in October, we announced that APIC would be the software controller for the application-centric policy model, and would be available in Q2, CY 2014.

As we get closer to that general availability date, Interop is a great venue to unveil more aspects of the ACI fabric, the policy model, and key APIC features. If you aren’t going to be in Las Vegas the first week of April, now may be the time to start making plans as we gear up for some exciting ACI news and events, and  hopefully bringing home these Best of Interop awards.

This first video discusses Cisco APIC:


And this second one highlights our newest Nexus 9000 switch, the Nexus 9516:


But wait, there’s more…

If you aren’t familiar with ACI or APIC yet, you might be interested in some of the highlights of our APIC entry submission:

Cisco APIC is the unified point of automation and management for the ACI fabric and health monitoring. Cisco APIC is built with open APIs and an open application-centric policy model designed to simplify the provisioning, monitoring, and management of applications across the data center. Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is a fabric architecture with centralized automation and policy-driven application profiles designed to make the infrastructure highly responsive to the needs of applications, while significantly simplifying the data center and cloud operational model.

APIC is built on the SDN principles of an extensible/programmable centralized controller with standardized north-bound API’s, a protocol for communicating with and orchestrating data center devices and network nodes, as well as features and agents within the network infrastructure to support the controller’s policy model and respond appropriately.

APICAPIC uses an application-centric policy model rather than network-centric SDN policies that do not adequately reflect business requirements. Unlike competing infrastructure automation solutions, ACI is an open ecosystem of management, services, and security partners that incorporate best-of-breed solutions across physical and virtual infrastructures. Customers have a choice of flexible workflow automation and orchestration solutions on top of APIC and the ACI fabric, including OpenStack, VMware cloud automation solutions, Microsoft System Center, Cisco UCS Director, and more, rather than being locked into a specific automation model.

The APIC software is delivered on turn-key UCS C-Series server appliances, so the end product is really a combination of hardware and pre-installed software. Multiple C-Series appliances are required for complete fault-tolerance in production deployments.

But a policy model and a software controller can’t solve customer problems alone. That’s where the Nexus 9000 series, and the new Nexus 9516 come in. The Cisco Nexus 9516 is the forthcoming big brother to the the Cisco Nexus 9508 we announced last October. The Nexus 9508 had strong reviews by Lippis Group, which you can read about here:

Cisco Nexus 9508 Switch Shines for 40GbE Aggregation in Switch Performance Tests

Independent Report Validates that Cisco Nexus 9000 Offers the Most Comprehensive, Open Programming Environment

The Cisco Nexus 9516, is generating a much grander impression already. The Cisco Nexus 9516 emerged the industry-leader in port-density, low-latency and throughput performance benchmark tests conducted by Miercom Group.

Nexus 9516
Nexus 9516

The industry-leading 40GbE density and performance of Cisco Nexus 9516 enables data center IT to upgrade aggregation network infrastructures from 10GbE to 40GbE to complement the shift in server networking from GbE to 10GbE. Having extremely impressive cross sectional bandwidth and latency numbers, the Cisco Nexus 9516 excels for aggregation and core infrastructure applications in traditional, cloud data centers as well as hyper-scale data center environments. Cisco Nexus 9516 is also optimal network infrastructure for high performance cluster computing applications, for example, for large-scale data analytics and low-latency trading applications.

Apparently these stellar traits weren’t lost on the Best of Interop judges as it made it to Finalist status.  We sincerely hope this bad boy brings home the prize too.  Cisco’s Nexus 9516 and APIC in an open ACI Fabric – stay tuned for more excitement to come.


Gary Kinghorn

Sr Solution Marketing Manager

Network Virtualization and SDN