This blog post is a collaboration between David Keith, Cisco; Jayakrishna Mada, Senior Product Manager, ACI and Eugene Vakulenko, Senior Product Manager, Cisco Cloud ACI

David Keith, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)

Delivering Capabilities

Companies have sped up their digital transformation efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an increased drive for machine learning (ML) powered business operations and the growth of cloud computing accelerating.

In addition, with the growth of SDN (Software Defined Networking) and the shift toward software-based network automation, the network has regained lost ground and is moving into better alignment with a wave of modern application workloads that drive meaningful business outcomes. The datacenter network becomes more agile, flexible, programmable, cloud agile, and better aligned with developer and DevOps requirements.

In support of these workloads, SDN provides an architectural mechanism through which the datacenter and cloud network can deliver capabilities such as automated provisioning, programmatic management, and integration with cloud orchestration. Accordingly, SDN enables the network to overcome long-standing limitations that made it an inhibitor to business agility, IT efficiency, and overall business productivity.

Cisco offers our customers the most robust set of Software Defined Networking solutions in the marketplace.   Over the years, Cisco has brought you its leading Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Cloud ACI solutions for both on-premises, multisite and hybrid and multi-cloud environments. To continue this tradition, Cisco is bringing you ACI 5.2.3 and Cloud ACI for Google Cloud.

Jayakrishna Mada, Senior Product Manager, ACI

What is Cisco ACI?

Since its development in 2012, Cisco ACI has been the industry’s most secure, open, and comprehensive software-defined networking (SDN) solution. ACI enables automation that accelerates infrastructure deployment and governance, simplifies management to easily move workloads across a multifabric, hybrid cloud, or multicloud framework, and proactively secures against risk arising from anywhere.  It radically simplifies, optimizes, and expedites the application deployment lifecycle. Cisco ACI enables customers to build a truly agile and resilient data center with policies that can move anywhere through automation.

As application usage gets more pervasive across the enterprise network, IT professionals are looking to build solutions for consistent policy and encryption from the campus to the data center. For example, Cisco ACI integrations with Cisco Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) / Cisco DNA Center and Cisco SD-WAN allow customers to automate and extend policy, security, assurance, and insights across their entire networking ecosystem. With Cisco ACI, customers can manage complexity, maximize business benefits, and deploy workloads in any location, small and large, on premises and remote, in private and public clouds, satellite data centers, and 5G-enabled telecom edges.  The release of ACI 5.2.3 has several new features to enhance your SDN experience.

What’s new with Cisco ACI 5.2.3

New or enhanced ACI software features

  • Micro Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) support
  • Multiple encapsulation support for L3Out with Switch Virtual Interface
  • Rogue End Point enhancements
  • Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) underlay for Inter-Pod Network (IPN)/ Internet Service Node (ISN)/multi-domain peering for East-West connectivity of multisite, Multi-POD and Remote Leaf.
  • Multi-POD deployment without an IPN device
  • Layer 3(L3) multicast support on Switch Virtual Interface as L3Out

New or enhanced ACI security features

  • MACSEC support on Nexus 9k GX2 switches
  • OAuth 2.0 (Open Authorization) Support
  • New Endpoint Security Group feature to provide enhancements to address latest threats.
  • Configurable TCP port option for syslog
  • Option to disable USB and booting OS from USB

New ACI usability enhancements

  • Log Record Query Enhancement
  • IPv6 destination for Encapsulated Remote Switched Port Analyzer (ERSPAN)
  • Simplified policy visibility for Endpoint Group (EPG)/ Endpoint Security Groups (ESG)
  • Integrity check for backup configuration files

New ACI ecosystem updates

  • ACI CNI: User Provisioned Infrastructure (UPI) Baremetal support with OpenShift 4.6 version
  • ACI CNI: Domain Name Services (DNS) network egress policy
  • Support for hierarchical security groups in Openstack environments

Learn more

Eugene Vakulenko, Senior Product Manager, Cisco Cloud ACI

Cisco Cloud ACI

Cisco Cloud Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco Cloud ACI), part of the Cisco ACI platform, is a comprehensive solution for simplified operations, automated network connectivity, consistent policy management, and visibility for multiple on-premises data centers, hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environments. The solution captures business and user intent and translates them into cloud native policy constructs for applications deployed across various cloud environments. The common policy and operating model drastically reduce the cost and complexity of managing hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. With Cisco Nexus Dashboard Orchestrator, Cloud ACI provides a single management console to orchestrate, configure, monitor, and operate multiple disjointed environments spread across on premises to cloud environments or just multiple clouds.  Cisco Cloud ACI is available on AWS and Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

cloud overview diagram
Figure 1: Cisco ACI extensions for hybrid and multicloud

What’s new on Cloud ACI

  • Cloud ACI on Google Cloud is now available offering the Cloud APIC in the Google Marketplace.


Cloud provider marketplace links

Learn more


David Keith

Senior Product Marketing Manager, Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)

Data Center Networking Marketing