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Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC)

Programmatically Automate Network Provisioning

The Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (Cisco APIC) is the unifying point of automation and management for the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) fabric. The Cisco APIC provides centralized access to all fabric information, optimizes the application lifecycle for scale and performance, and supports flexible application provisioning across physical and virtual resources.

OpenStack with Cisco ACI

Learn about the Benefits of ACI with OpenStack through white board illustrations.

Features and Capabilities

  • Centralized application-level policy engine for physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructures
  • Detailed visibility, telemetry, and health scores by application and by tenant
  • Designed around open standards and open APIs
  • Robust implementation of multi-tenant security, quality of service (QoS), and high availability
  • Integration with management systems such as VMware, Microsoft, and OpenStack

Designed for automation, programmability, and centralized management, the Cisco APIC itself exposes northbound APIs through XML and JSON. It provides both a command-line interface (CLI) and GUI which utilize the APIs to manage the fabric holistically.


OpFlex is a new open and extensible southbound protocol that supplies policy directly to data center networks. Unlike commonly used SDN protocols, it supplies application policy, not low-level configuration, to network devices. This allows devices to self-configure and freely expose new innovation.

By centralizing policy but distributing control, networks can become much more scalable, resilient, and interoperable. Cisco and partners are submitting OpFlex to the IETF for standardization to OpenDaylight for open source SDN implementations.

An OpFlex agent will be available free from Github for leading hypervisors, switches, and Layer 4 to 7 services. A reference implementation on OVS will be available.

ACI Infographic

See how ACI makes application deployment simpler, faster and more efficient.

Cisco APIC provides:

  • A single pane of glass for application-centric network policies
  • Fabric image management and inventory
  • Application, tenant, and topology monitoring
  • Troubleshooting

Cisco APIC is completely removed from the data path. This means the fabric can still forward traffic even when communication with the Cisco APIC is lost.

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