This Blog has been developed in collaboration with Avi Networks. Primary Author: Chandra Sekar, VP Marketing, Avi Networks. Outline, Flow, Adaptation by Ravi Balakrishnan, Cisco Systems.
Avi Networks recently acquired a large financial management software company as a customer, and experienced first-hand the customer momentum that Cisco ACI has in the marketplace. The customer in this case was faced with a need to move to a robust and dynamic network architecture. Their goal was to create a programmable and policy-driven network to enable automation, drive self-service to internal customers across multiple data centers, and roll out applications quickly. But before I continue with the customer’s use case, I’d like to present an overview of the Avi Vantage Platform for application services.
The Avi Vantage Platform – an introduction
Avi Networks has built the next generation of application delivery controllers (ADC) the Avi Vantage Platform, based on software-defined principles. Avi Vantage is a natural fit for the network automation and programmability that Cisco ACI brings to dynamic data centers. The Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) (a best of Interop award winner), acts as the centralized policy and management component in an architecture that separates the control and data planes to ensure scalability and robust traffic management. In a similar approach, the Avi Vantage Platform architecture separates the control plane (Avi Controller) and data planes (distributed software load balancers) for application services. The Avi Controller receives real time application telemetry from its data plane components while the Avi Service Engines delivers application services as a centrally managed pool of resources across the data center environment. The Avi Controller then directly controls the life cycle and configuration of the Avi Service Engines based on analyzing the application telemetry received. This continuous feedback loop ensures that the platform responds in real time to application performance issues, workload movements, or configuration changes.
Cisco ACI and Avi Vantage Platform Integration
Back to our customer story
The financial management software firm chose Cisco ACI as their solution to implement a software-defined network, and layered their application services on top of the ACI fabric with the Avi Vantage Platform.
Policy model drives automation and simplification
The first implementation challenge for the customer was network services insertion and it proved to be a complex operation involving several manual steps and compatibility issues.
The integrated Cisco ACI and Avi Vantage Platform solution immediately delivered the following benefits to the firm.
- Service insertion was reduced from weeks to mere minutes due to the direct integration through REST APIs with the APIC. The integrated solution provides out-of-the-box automated load balancer provisioning and services insertion without the need for custom device packages.
- Avi Vantage also uses the APIC’s southbound APIs to implement policy control for the load balancers and ensures that security policies configured are preserved in the load balancing configuration.
- The complete automation delivered by the solution also made it possible to scale and seamlessly migrate workloads. The Avi Vantage multitenant architecture ensured that the customer was able to migrate workloads without impacting services across business units within the company – a sore point that once fixed made it possible for the IT team to meet SLAs for their internal customers.
- The firm also reduced the time to troubleshoot applications with the rich and actionable analytics provided by the Avi Vantage Platform – one of the many application insights provided by the platform includes the ability to display granular transaction roundtrip times by client using the ability to record and replay network events much like a DVR for video.
- Other security, performance, and client insights made the platform a powerful monitoring and troubleshooting tool for administrators.
Snapshot of roundtrip time analysis from Avi Vantage Platform
6. With load balancers running on x86 servers and scaling out or scaling in automatically in response to traffic patterns the customer realized TCO savings of over 50% compared to their legacy solution. In addition, overprovisioning of ADCs is no longer an issue. Administrators are able to better focus their efforts on delivering high quality IT services to their internal customer instead of spending time with manual virtual service configurations.
The ACI fabric is designed from a foundation for programmability and simplified management – Avi Vantage complements Cisco ACI with robust application services that mirror the automation achieved through ACI.
Avi Networks is a proud member of the Cisco solution partner ecosystem and I look forward to more successful joint customer engagements.
Visit Avi Networks – http://www.avinetworks.com/