This blog has been co-authored by Ravi Balakrishnan (Sr. Product Marketing Manager) and Apoorva Gururaja (Product Manager) from the Data Center Networking solutions, Cisco Systems Inc.


As organizations move to the cloud to prioritize application delivery, they find that they need to shift their approach to infrastructure from “static” to “dynamic”. Some of the challenges they face include having to work in multiple environments, with varying volume and distribution services. In many organizations, the cloud operating model is forcing  IT to shift from manual workflows to infrastructure as code (IAC) automation and switching processes from ticketing workflows for IT to workflows with self-service IT. In this blog, let us take a tour de force of how Cisco and Terraform have joined hands to address these challenges and help customers in their mission to gain business agility with infrastructure automation as their core strategy.

Terraform and Cisco ACI – A win-win joint solution for Infrastructure as Code deployments

IAC is an innovative approach to building application and software infrastructure with code, and customers deploying applications in cloud clearly are seeing the payoff. Though for many, full adoption of IAC is still elusive given the expertise required to navigate infrastructure complexity. And this is the ideal ground for Terraform to come to the rescue. Terraform brings software best practices such as versioning, test practices and many more to make it a powerful tool to create and destroy infrastructure components on the fly”. Terraform obviates the need for separate config. managers typically required in traditional IAC approaches and instead handles such tasks on its own behind the scene. Likewise, Cisco ACI a network platform built on SDN principles, enhances business agility, reduces TCO, automates IT tasks, and accelerates data center application deployments. Cisco ACI and Terraform provide a perfect combination enabling customers to embrace the DevOps model and accelerate ACI Deployment, Monitoring, day-to-day management, and more.

Cisco ACI – Terraform Solution architecture

Terraform manages both existing, popular services and custom in-house solutions, offering over 100 providers. With a vision to address some of the challenges listed earlier, especially in multi-cloud networking, Cisco and HashiCorp have worked together to deliver the ACI Provider for Terraform, using Terraform’s plugin extensibility. Cisco ACI Provider supports more than 90+ resources and datasources. A complete list with examples can be found here.

Terraform provides its users a simple workflow to install and get started with. With Terraform installed, let’s dive right into it and start creating some configuration intent on Cisco ACI. See diagram below for an illustration of the workflow steps.


Key Benefits of Terraform-ACI solution

Some of the key benefits Cisco ACI and HashiCorp Terraform brings are the following

  1. Define infrastructure as code and manage the full lifecycle. Create new resources, manage existing ones, and destroy those no longer needed.
  2. Terraform provides an elegant user experience for operators to safely and predictably make changes to infrastructure.
  3. Terraform makes it easy to re-use configurations for similar infrastructure, helping avoid mistakes and save time.


In closing, I want to invite our customers for a deep-dive webinar, scheduled for April 29, 10 AM PST, on topic “Cisco ACI with Hashicorp Terraform”, presented by two leading industry experts namely, Hashicorp’s Kevin Corbin and Cisco’s Devarshi Shah respectively.  Register for the webinar and learn how Cisco ACI and Hashicorp Terraform can help you increase productivity while reducing risks for your Organization by managing Infrastructure as code.

Register for the Cisco ACI with Hashicorp Terraform webinar.


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Ravi Balakrishnan

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Datacenter Solutions