When we designed Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), we listened to our customers. They asked us to create an open architecture. They wanted us to help create joint solutions with a broad ecosystem of partners (and yes, some competitors).

Today, ACI has over 46 partners at varying stages of integration, covering areas of storage, compute, security, cloud automation and more.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in the SAP TechEd keynote with Steve Lucas.  We announced an integrated solution between Cisco, SAP and Vnomic – an SAP startup:  a complete policy-driven automation of SAP’s next generation Big Data and Analytics solution.

Why is this such a big deal? Fundamental shifts toward Web 2.0 applications, Big Data, Cloud and IOT are unleashing new data, engagement and insights across many industries. In order to get faster business decisions from this vast amount of data, enterprises need to drive agility, security and governance across their IT environments.

Project Benjamin is a policy driven reference architecture and solutions center. Benjamin automates HANA Vora and SAP applications on a jointly certified Petabyte-scale HANA cluster.

Our goal was to make SAP Big Data solutions incredibly simple to deploy, secure, govern and audit. And it is. This innovation enables large SAP landscapes for BW on HANA, S4/HANA and HANA Vora to be deployed in hours and governed continuously.

What we didn’t get a chance to highlight yesterday are the results of our co-innovation. With this ACI integration, we deliver a joint solution today at Petabyte scale – analytics running in real-time. We bring deployment time down from months to days and hours. And we are driving a high level of automation to the digital enterprise.

With Benjamin, customers can test their data environment on jointly certified and supported ACI and UCS Integrated Infrastructure for on-premise and or cloud deployments.

Application policy at the heart

The network is the best place to put policy because it touches everything. It never lies. And ACI is the magic that seamlessly integrates all the way to the application layer.

Application policy runs through the heart of Project Benjamin.  SAP application landscapes today contain a variety of compliance and user policies.  Together, Cisco ACI and Vnomic automatically capture and implement these policies throughout a customer’s infrastructure, including defining the network topology, connecting compute and storage endpoints, configuring L4-7 services and delivering dynamic enforcement as policies change.

The Cisco/SAP/Vnomic policy driven approach enables:

  • Rapid Deployment: A large enterprise deployment of SAP suite on HANA can be done in hours that would previously have taken several months.
  • Operational Simplification: ACI provides real-time application level visibility of all communication events that affect application health and service level agreements, such as new bottlenecks, growing latency, device failures and security violations. Integration with SourceFire provides policy driven threat discovery, detection and containment across physical and virtual devices.
  • Real-time Security and Governance: ACI uses a zero-trust, white-list approach. This prevents all communication unless it is explicitly allowed between hosts, tenants and data structures – and only in response to explicit application and tenant policies. Changes to these policies are dynamically enforced across thousands of devices.
  • Multi-vendor Innovation: ACI supports multi-vendor environments found in many SAP customer environments.  Our infrastructure partners include F5, Citrix, NetApp, VCE, Symantec and many others. Cloud partners OpenStack and Microsoft Windows Azure Pack have jointly integrated ACI into cloud orchestrators. And we will continue to expand our ecosystem to meet the needs of our customers.

Meeting customer needs is at the core of everything we do. We see that enterprises are undergoing a digital transformation to meet the needs of their business. They are moving to cloud native applications, the Internet of Things, and driving to faster speeds at Petabyte scale.

Now customers can use their own business policies to automate and secure their applications, data and infrastructure.


Soni Jiandani

Senior Vice President

Marketing for the Insieme Business Unit at Cisco