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Data Sheet

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Updated:August 28, 2019

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    (731.9 KB)
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Updated:August 28, 2019


About Cisco ACI

Cisco® Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) is the industry’s most secure, open, and comprehensive Software-Defined Networking (SDN) solution. It radically simplifies, automates, and provides secure infrastructure deployment and governance while expediting the application deployment lifecycle.

Cisco ACI implements Cisco’s intent-based networking framework. It captures higher-level business and user intent in the form of a policy and converts this intent into the network constructs necessary to dynamically provision the network, security, and infrastructure services. It uses a holistic systems-based approach, with tight integration between hardware and software and physical and virtual elements, an open ecosystem model, and innovative Cisco customer Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) to enable unique business value for modern data centers. This unique approach uses a common policy-based operating model across the network, drastically reducing the cost and complexity of operating your network.

Cisco ACI components

The Cisco ACI solution consists of two main components following building blocks (Figure 1):

   Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC)

   Cisco Nexus® 9000 Series spine and leaf switches for Cisco ACI


Figure 1.           

Cisco ACI Architectural Building Blocks

Cisco application policy infrastructure controller features

The infrastructure controller is the main architectural component of the Cisco ACI solution. It is the unified point of automation and management for the Cisco ACI fabric, policy enforcement, and health monitoring. The APIC appliance is a centralized, clustered controller that optimizes performance and unifies the operation of physical and virtual environments. The controller manages and operates a scalable multitenant Cisco ACI fabric.

The main features of the APIC include the following:

   Application-centric network policies

   Data-model-based declarative provisioning

   Application and topology monitoring and troubleshooting

   Third-party integration

     Layer 4 through Layer 7 (L4-L7) services

     VMware vCenter and vShield

     Microsoft Hyper-V, System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM), and Azure Pack

     Open Virtual Switch (OVS) and OpenStack


   Image management (spine and leaf)

   Cisco ACI inventory and configuration

   Implementation on a distributed framework across a cluster of appliances

   Health scores for critical managed objects (tenants, application profiles, switches, etc.)

   Fault, event, and performance management

   Cisco Application Virtual Edge, which can be used as a virtual leaf switch

The controller framework enables broad ecosystem and industry interoperability with Cisco ACI. It enables interoperability between a Cisco ACI environment and management, orchestration, virtualization, and L4-L7 services from a broad range of vendors.

Cisco APIC cluster

The APIC appliance is deployed as a cluster. A minimum of three infrastructure controllers are configured in a cluster to provide control of the scale-out Cisco ACI fabric (Figure 2). The ultimate size of the controller cluster is directly proportionate to the size of the Cisco ACI deployment and is based on the transaction-rate requirements. Any controller in the cluster can service any user for any operation, and a controller can be transparently added to or removed from the cluster.


Figure 2.           

Cisco APIC cluster

APIC appliance product specifications

The APIC appliance is available in different form factors (Table 1):

Table 1.          Cisco APIC sizes

Cisco APIC configuration

Part number




APIC with medium-size CPU, hard drive, and memory configurations (up to 1200 edge ports)



APIC with large CPU, hard drive, and memory configurations (more than 1200 edge ports)

Medium cluster


Cluster of 3 APIC devices with medium-size CPU, hard drive, and memory configurations (up to 1200 edge ports)

Large cluster


Cluster of 3 Cisco APIC devices with large CPU, hard drive, and memory configurations (more than 1200 edge ports)

XS Cluster


1 M3* APIC with medium-size CPU, hard drive, memory and 2 Virtual APICs. XS Cluster is only available as part of mini ACI fabric bundle part number - ACI-C9332-VAPIC-B1

Medium (spare)


APIC with medium-size CPU, hard drive, and memory configurations (up to 1200 edge ports)

Large (spare)


APIC with large CPU, hard drive, and memory configurations (more than 1200 edge ports)

Table 2 lists the specifications of the APIC M3 and L3 appliance. Note that at least three appliances need to be configured as a cluster.


Cisco APIC appliance

Medium configuration: M3

Cisco APIC appliance

Large configuration: L3



Default units


Default units


1.7 GHz Xeon Scalable 3106/85W 8C/11MB Cache/DDR4 2133M


2.1 GHz Xeon Scalable 4110/85W 8C/11MB Cache/DDR4 2400MHz



16GB DDR4-2666-MHz RDIMM/PC4-21300/single rank/x4/1.2v


16GB DDR4-2666-MHz RDIMM/PC4-21300/single rank/x4/1.2v


Hard Drive



2.4 TB 12G SAS 10K RPM SFF HDD (4K)


PCI Express (PCIe) slots

Cisco UCS VIC 1455 Quad Port 10/25G SFP28 CNA PCIE


Cisco UCS VIC 1455 Quad Port 10/25G SFP28 CNA PCIE


Power supply

770W power supply


770W power supply



Cisco APIC Medium and Large configurations

Physical dimensions (H x W x D)

1 Rack Unit (1RU): 1.7 x 16.9 x 28.5 in. (4.32 x 43 x 72.4 cm)

Temperature: Operating

32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C) (operating, at sea level, with no fan fail and no CPU throttling, and with turbo mode)

Temperature: Nonoperating

–40 to 158°F (–40 to 70°C)

Humidity: Operating

10 to 90% noncondensing

Humidity: Nonoperating

5 to 93% noncondensing

Altitude: Operating

0 to 10,000 ft (0 to 3000m); maximum ambient temperature decreases by 1°C per 300m

Altitude: Nonoperating

0 to 40,000 ft (12,000m)

Table 2.          Cisco virtual APIC requirements (Note: These are minimum requirements and will be updated closer to ACI 4.0 release)


Cisco Virtual APIC Requirements






32 GB


100G SSD

300G HDD


6.5 or above

Cisco Cloud APIC Product Specifications

The Cisco Cloud APIC is a virtual appliance deployed in public cloud environments for Cisco Cloud ACI deployments. The Cisco Cloud APIC virtual appliance will provide policy translation, multicloud connectivity, and cloud-networking functionalities. The Cisco Cloud APIC will be available on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace as an AMI image. A single instance of the Cisco Cloud APIC can provide networking, visibility, and policy-translation functionalities for workloads deployed across multiple AWS Regions and Availability Zones. This enables IT organizations to simplify their operations and governance in multicloud environments. The solution enables ease of application deployment across any location and any cloud.


Figure 3.           

Cisco Cloud APIC

Table 3.          Cisco Cloud APIC requirements for Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud. (Note: These are minimum requirements and will be updated closer to the Cisco ACI 4.1 release.)

AWS Native Resources

Cisco Cloud APIC requirements



Amazon EC2 Instance Type


Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)

100G gp2 SSD, 300G gp2 SSD

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)

Standard S3 storage

AWS CloudTrail

Management events. Single copy.

AWS Organizations


AWS Identity and Management (IAM)


AWS Simple Token Service


Amazon CloudWatch


Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS)


AWS CloudFormation Template


For more information

Use the following links for additional information:

   Cisco ACI solution data sheet: Click here.

   Cisco Cloud ACI solution brief: Click here.

   Cisco ACI ordering guide: Click here.

   Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches data sheet: Click here.

   Cisco AVS data sheet: Click here.

   Cisco ACI solution general details: Click here.

   Technical white papers: Click here.

   Case studies: Click here.

   Solution overviews: Click here.

   YouTube video tutorials: Click here.

   Release notes for Cisco ACI and APIC solutions: Click here.

   Release notes for Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches: Click here.

   Download Cisco ACI software: Click here.

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