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SDN Journal Authors: Don MacVittie, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan, Dinko Eror, Pat Romanski

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Cisco Delivers on ACI Vision: Adds ACI Migration Path for Traditional Cisco Data Centers and UCS Director Support

Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure Gains Customer Momentum, Extends Policy Model to Existing Infrastructure, Adds Platform Support and Introduces ACI-Ready Integrated Infrastructure

SAN JOSE, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/16/14 -- Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced it is delivering on its vision for Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) through the release this summer of the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), ACI fabric mode for Cisco Nexus® 9000 Series switches, UCS Director support for ACI, industry-leading hardware and software innovations across its portfolio, and a market strategy that includes a robust ecosystem, Cisco validated designs, and new Cisco® Services for ACI. In addition, Cisco is extending ACI support across its existing Nexus portfolio to enable customers with existing Cisco Nexus-based data centers to deploy ACI, while keeping intact their existing investments in network infrastructure across physical and virtual workloads. The Nexus 7000 Series switches and ASR 9000 Router will also be integrated into the ACI fabric as a Data Center Interconnect (DCI) gateway/router. In addition, integrated infrastructure solutions FlexPod and Vblock Systems are embedding Cisco ACI to accelerate application delivery and streamline operations.

Selected to represent a range of company sizes, industries, and workloads, over 70 customers and partners have been actively trialing ACI, with enthusiastic results. Cisco Nexus 9000 switches and the Cisco ACI solution now include over 1000 customers in the sales pipeline. For those attending Cisco Live, Cisco's annual IT and communications conference, in San Francisco this year, there will be a data center technology keynote on Wednesday, May 21 featuring a panel of customers to talk about their experiences with ACI.

Customers Comment on ACI
"Symantec is an early adopter of Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), leveraging the technology within our own Agile Data Center," said Jon Sanchez, director of Data Center Services, Symantec. "Cisco ACI brings the scalability and efficiency we need while enabling us to truly bring next generation networking capabilities to our customers."

Ranked among the top 100 most-visited websites in the world, UOL is the leading Internet services company in Brazil since 1996, providing content and an extensive Web services and products portfolio. UOLDIVEO, a full IT outsourcing company within the same group, is Brazil's largest IT data and infrastructure provider, targeting the enterprise market with a broad range of infrastructure and services products, including its cloud computing initiative, UOL Cloud: which aims to be the most flexible and complete platform in Brazil. "The growing customer demand for immediate, reliable, secure, scalable, robust, and high-performance infrastructures drives us to search for the world's best-of-breed technologies to build a state-of-the-art cloud computing system that gives our customers all the power and flexibility they need," said Eduardo Maldonado Rosa, CTO, UOLDIVEO. "We fulfill all of our clients' necessities, and network connectivity is one of their top priorities. UOL Cloud is collaborating with Cisco to deploy the ACI solution in all our UOL Cloud data centers as the best solution to deliver data center network architecture, automation, operations, reliability and the flexibility requirements that we face in a daily basis."

Extending ACI Support to Traditional Cisco Networks
Investment protection is a hallmark of Cisco's technology strategy, and a major contributor to creating Cisco customer loyalty. Cisco continues that commitment by enabling interoperability and a migration path for customers to deploy ACI in their existing data centers based on Cisco Nexus 2000, 3000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 network switches and ASR 9000 routers. In addition, ACI ecosystem members such as F5 and Citrix with Layer 4-7 services can be deployed in either existing Nexus fabrics or the ACI mode without a hardware upgrade. Investment protection options include:

  • The Cisco Application Policy Model can be extended to both physical and virtual workloads in existing Nexus infrastructure through the Cisco Application-centric Virtual Switch (AVS), an APIC-enabled Nexus 1000V virtual switch, or by deploying Nexus 9000 switches as a remote leaf within customers' existing data centers.
  • The Nexus 7000 Series switches and ASR 9000 Router will also be integrated into the ACI fabric as a Data Center Interconnect (DCI) gateway/router, taking advantage of Nexus LISP and OTV features enabling an end-to-end consistent policy management framework available centrally through the APIC for both physical and virtual workloads.

UCS Director 5.0: Support for ACI
Cisco UCS Director is designed to automate every step necessary to provision the network, compute, and storage resources, both physical and virtual, that are required to support an application. This greatly reduces the time needed to deploy infrastructure, resulting in IT agility, faster response time to business requirements, and lower operational costs. Version 5.0 of UCS Director now supports ACI and Nexus 9000 Series switches, in addition to a wide range of compute and storage vendors' products, and Cisco's traditional data center product portfolio. With a single point of management, both physical and virtual resources can be provisioned within minutes, and the deployment process is consistent and reliable across all infrastructure.

UCS Director provides an extensible platform with a software developer kit and an open Application Programming Interface (API), allowing third-party vendors to establish a connector that will snap their hardware or software into the Cisco UCS Director provisioning and management model. With this enhanced support, UCS Director extends its capabilities across a broader matrix of infrastructure and systems management tools to increase operational efficiency and enable organizations to shift their IT staff from time-consuming manual activities to developing service innovation.

"ACI-Ready" Integrated Infrastructure Solutions
Cisco's industry-leading integrated infrastructure solutions, FlexPod Solutions with NetApp and Vblock Systems with VCE, are integrating Cisco ACI to accelerate application delivery and streamline operations.

  • FlexPod Solution: Cisco and NetApp are fully implementing Cisco ACI into the FlexPod architecture as a validated technology to provide application centric network programmability and infrastructure automation. As part of FlexPod, Cisco ACI will enable customers to automatically optimize application environments within a cost-efficient, scalable, and multi-tenant data center infrastructure solution that works with any operating system or hypervisor. Cisco and NetApp validated designs for FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco Nexus 9000 Series are available now, and UCS Director 5.0 support of FlexPod with Cisco ACI, and other validated designs for leading enterprise applications incorporating the Cisco APIC controller will be available within the next few quarters. Beyond the benefits of FlexPod, NetApp and Cisco are continuing to align other parts of their technology roadmaps to continue addressing enterprise customer needs.

    "Customers want to automate application deployment and cloud infrastructure to become more agile, while reducing operational costs and complexity," said Jay Kidd, chief technology officer at NetApp. "By embedding Cisco ACI into the FlexPod architecture and with other parts of the NetApp and Cisco technology portfolios, we are providing customers with a roadmap to deploy the industry's most advanced network programmability and policy-based automation. It's a winning formula for Cisco, NetApp, and our customers."

  • VCE Vblock Systems: VCE recently announced new VCE Vblock Systems that will enable enterprises and service providers to rapidly and reliably adopt Cisco ACI for their data centers. By embedding Cisco ACI, Vblock Systems will help transform IT by simplifying infrastructure management, increasing business agility and lowering costs. VCE customers can now order Vblock Systems with the scalable, programmable, energy-efficient and high-performance Cisco Nexus 9000 Series switches -- the building blocks for Cisco ACI. As additional core elements of Cisco ACI become available, VCE customers will be well prepared to take full advantage of its powerful capabilities.

    "Customers rely on VCE for the fastest deployment of infrastructure and applications, the highest performance and availability, and the lowest total cost of ownership," said Todd Pavone, executive vice president, Product Strategy and Development, VCE. "Combining the value of Vblock Systems with Cisco ACI, we can now deliver a holistic architecture with centralized automation and policy-driven application profiles, resulting in greater application predictability and availability with significantly lower costs. This is the next step in helping customers transform their IT operations."

Expanded ACI Ecosystem
With the addition of Nutanix and Radware, Cisco expands its ecosystem of ACI supportive vendors. Working closely with Embrane, Cisco will provide full lifecycle management solutions for customers deploying virtualized L4-7 services with ACI including licensing, provisioning, decommissioning, upgrades and overall capacity management of such services.

Hardware Innovation
Cisco is innovating across its Nexus switch portfolio to expand deployment options and help ensure investment protection as networks evolve from traditional deployments to cloud deployments.
Portfolio additions include:

  • Two new ACI-ready Nexus 9000 series switches: the Nexus 9336PQ fixed switch and the Nexus 9396TX, an enterprise-class Top of Rack switch.
    • The Nexus 9336PQ offers advanced scalability in the industry's smallest spine form-factor, designed for small to medium ACI spine deployments.
    • The Nexus 9396TX offers 100M/1G/10G copper-based front panel port connectivity for top-of-rack deployments in both traditional 3-tier network designs and Cisco ACI enabled deployments.
  • The N9K-X9736PQ non-blocking line-card enables the Application Centric Modular Spine for the Cisco Nexus 9500 platform. The ACI line-card with 36 non-blocking 40GbE QSFP+ ports will help organizations to create large-scale spine-leaf deployments.
  • The Nexus 7000 Series Switches add support for several open source tools and standards enabling programmability and automation/SDN capabilities for virtualized and cloud deployments.
  • The Nexus 6004X Switch offers a new chassis that delivers added VXLAN capabilities with the same eight slot form factor and feature set as the current Nexus 6004 and 6004EF chassis.
  • Cisco is extending VXLAN support across the entire Nexus family to provide customers with the industry's broadest VXLAN-enabled portfolio: Nexus 3000, 5000, 6000, 7000 and 9000 switches, allowing for design and architecture flexibility when deploying scalable virtualized and cloud data centers.

New Cisco Services for ACI
Cisco ACI enables IT organizations to rapidly scale existing applications, meet business demands for new applications and redeploy IT resources when applications are no longer required. This drives faster business processes and improves bottom line results. Available now, the new Cisco Services for ACI are designed to help customers achieve their business and technical objectives, while reducing risk:

  • Cisco Data Center Strategy and Analysis Service for ACI: helps develop technology strategy for adopting ACI based on business and technology needs. Using tools and frameworks we developed and extensively tested, the service incorporates your unique findings into a customized master plan.
  • Cisco Data Center Assessment Service for ACI: provides operations readiness, migration strategy, and process for future migrations including an API evaluation to identify integration with the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC).
  • Cisco Data Center Validation Service for ACI: pilots the ACI solution with a simulator so you understand its capabilities and gain experience to reduce your deployment risk.
  • Cisco Data Center Design Service for ACI: helps design an ACI-based data center environment, including infrastructure, fabric POD planning, and design with application policy templates.
  • Cisco Solution Support for ACI: offers a "one-stop shop" to reduce duration and effects of disruptions by adding solution-level perspective along with SMARTnet® product support to your device-level service contracts.

Blogs and Videos
Read Cisco blog: Delivering Policy in the Age of Open Source
Read Cisco blog: The Countdown Begins! Cisco customers and partners prepare to roll out ACI
Read NetApp Blog: Cisco and NetApp Integrating ACI into FlexPod
Read blog from VCE: Stepping on the Gas with VCE and Cisco ACI
Watch webcast: New Applications Are Knocking: Is Your Data Center OPEN for Business?
Watch VCE video: VCE Demonstration of VCE Vblock and Cisco ACI

Additional Resources
Learn more about Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)
Learn more about Cisco UCS Director for ACI
Learn more about Cisco Services for ACI
Contact Cisco Services for ACI at: [email protected]
Learn more about Cisco's Open Source Efforts
Learn more about Cisco data center solutions

About Cisco
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to

Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco's trademarks can be found at Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.

Availability Disclaimer: Many of the products and features described herein remain in varying stages of development and will be offered on a when-and-if-available basis. This products and features are subject to change at the sole discretion of Cisco, and Cisco will have no liability for delay in the delivery or failure to deliver any of the products or features set forth in this document.

Forward-Looking Statements
This release may be deemed to contain forward-looking statements, which are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, among others, statements regarding Cisco's delivery of Application Centric Infrastructure, new professional services and an open partner ecosystem and the expected benefits for customers, Cisco's expansion of its Nexus switching portfolio, and Cisco's intention to acquire the remaining interest in Insieme Networks. Readers are cautioned that these forward-looking statements are only predictions and may differ materially from actual future events or results due to a variety of factors, including, among other things, the ability of Cisco to successfully introduce and to achieve the expected benefits of its application centric infrastructure and related services and partner ecosystem, the potential impact on the business of Insieme Networks due to the uncertainty about the acquisition, the retention of employees of Insieme Networks, the ability of Cisco to successfully integrate Insieme Networks and to achieve expected benefits, business and economic conditions and growth trends in the networking industry, customer markets and various geographic regions, global economic conditions and uncertainties in the geopolitical environment, overall information technology spending, the growth and evolution of the Internet and levels of capital spending on Internet-based systems, dependence on the introduction and market acceptance of new product offerings and standards; increased competition in Cisco's product and service markets, including the data center, and other risk factors set forth in Cisco's most recent reports on Form 10-K filed on September 10, 2013. Any forward-looking statements in this release are based on limited information currently available to Cisco, which is subject to change, and Cisco will not necessarily update the information.

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