As spring turns to summer, just 6 months from when Cisco announced its vision of Application Centric Infrastructure, the momentum has started to pick up on all fronts – solution availability, technology integration with partners, channel awareness and most importantly strong customer traction. It is worthwhile to look at the trajectory thus far –

  • Nexus 9000 shipping with strong customer traction, awards and records
  • 70+ active ACI trials with customers and channel partners
  • ACI ecosystem – 33 ecosystem partners leveraging the open approach and the policy model
  • 1000+ customers in pipeline
  • 175+ customers across major SPs, Enterprise and Commercial with several production deployments

With the APIC ready to ship this summer and become generally available, it is very exciting to see the positive feedback coming in especially from customers and partners that are deploying the Nexus 9000 as also those participating in the ACI trials with the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC).

Hear directly from our major partners in this short video montage


New Innovations

Today we continued the momentum with new “ACI-ready” Nexus 9300 Top of Rack switches (9336PQ and 9396TX) both of which can ease into traditional 3-Tier deployments or ACI deployments moving forward. A new line card was also made available for the Nexus 9500 to function as an ACI ready spine. In addition, there were several other innovations across the Nexus portfolio, including a new Nexus 6004X switch,  VXLAN support made available across the entire portfolio as well as enhanced programmability and SDN/automation capabilities on the Nexus 7000 series switches.

The focus on IT provisioning and management continues with UCS Director 5.0 now supporting the ACI model and the Nexus 9000 series switches. This goes a long way in helping rapidly deploy new workloads improving agility.

New Cisco Services for ACI

As the portfolio continues to expand, and as customers prepare for bringing expanded SDN capabilities into their environments with ACI, Cisco Services is taking on the charter to enable IT organizations to experience the benefits, with new services offerings specifically tailored for ACI deployments.

Expanding Ecosystem

The benefit of integrating with the APIC and the common model is encouraging several vendors across the industry to participate in the ACI ecosystem. New vendors include Nutanix and Radware, giving customers the flexibility of choosing the right operational model and integration of best of breed vendors in a heterogeneous data center environment.

Cisco’s integrated infrastructure partners (VCE and NetApp) are becoming ACI ready with VBlock and FlexPod respectively, making it easier for customers to consume infrastructure in an operationally simplistic manner.

Investment Protection

For customers that have invested in the Nexus family, Cisco is continuing to take steps to extend the ACI policy model into existing Nexus 2K-7K switches, with no disruption to existing networks. Customers building new PoDs can begin to actively plan to make them ACI ready with the new Nexus 9000 series and the APIC, even while physical and virtual workloads running on existing networks are brought under the purview of the policy model. This can be accomplished fairly simplistically and we’ll be publishing details on that in the coming weeks.

ACI Benefits and the Road Ahead

The benefits of that approach are resonating very well with customers as captured in this infographic.

aci_infographic(1) JPEG

Next week, at Cisco Live, we’ll hear more, see more and do more. Starting off with the keynote sessions, to demos and technical engagements, it will be a wonderful opportunity to see all of this in action. Early stage customers and technology partners will be sharing their experiences as we all plan next steps in keynotes and auxilliary sessions. 

Stay tuned for more on this topic, as ACI embraces SDN principles and takes it beyond anything else available in the market today.

3…2…1 – The countdown begins!


Shashi Kiran

Senior Director, Market Management

Data Center, Cloud and Open Networking