Cisco continues to be a game-changer in the software-defined network (SDN) space. First, there was the launch of the Nexus 9000 switch series and accompanying Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) back in November. Now, an ACI expansion has hit the market. Why is this latest development so important for Cisco customers?
Let’s rewind a minute to the reason why ACI was designed in the first place. Its intended purpose is to take the manpower out of IT management with smart technology that allows you to control all the siloed pieces from one cloud. This provides a multitude of benefits that include consolidated environments, real-time visibility, scalable performance and operational assurance.
Now let’s talk about why the new ACI expansion is big news. For starters, you don’t need to invest in the latest and greatest 9000 series to take advantage of ACI’s powerful automation features. NX-OS mode is backward compatible and allows application policies to automate the network, rather than letting the network control automation.
The bad news is you won’t get all the bells and whistles if you’re still on a legacy Nexus environment. ACI mode, which is only available with the Nexus 9000 series, allows you to take full advantage of policy-driven services and infrastructure automation features.
The exact limitations of NX-OS mode have yet to be determined, which has some skeptical about its success. An anonymous Cisco Gold partner executive told CRN “the fact that it’s not a full-blown ACI feature set could lead to confusion in the market.”
Despite its perceived limitations, the fact that ACI integrates with a variety of hardware is a step in the right direction. I’m excited to see how the evolution of ACI plays out as more customers adopt this dynamic platform.
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