Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller Data Sheet

Data Sheet

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Updated:July 16, 2020

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About Cisco ACI

The Cisco® Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI®) is part of our intent-based networking framework to enable agility in the datacenter. It captures higher-level business and user intent in the form of a policy and translates this into the network constructs necessary to dynamically provision network, security, and infrastructure services.

Built on top of the industry-leading Cisco Nexus® 9000 platform, Cisco ACI uses a holistic systems-based approach, with tight integration between hardware and software,between physical and virtual elements, an open ecosystem model, and innovative Cisco Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) to enable unique business value for modern data centers.

Cisco ACI is the industry’s most secure, open, and comprehensive Software-Defined Networking (SDN) solution.

ACI enables automation that accelerates infrastructure deployment and governance, simplifies management to easily move workloads across amultifabric, multicloud framework, and proactively secures against risk arising from anywhere.It radically simplifies, optimizes, and expedites the application deployment lifecycle.

Modern data centers are dynamic. IT operations must meet the expectation of quality-of-service business needs in a rapidly changing environment. ACI transforms IT operationsfrom reactive to proactive with a highly intelligent set of software capabilities that analyzes every component of the data center to ensure business intent, guarantee reliability, and identify performance issues in the network before they happen.

As application usage gets more pervasive across anenterprise’s network, IT professionals are looking to build solutions for consistent policy andencryption from the campus to thedatacenter. With ACI integrations with SDA/DNA Center and SD-WAN, customers can now automate and extend policy, security, assurance, and insights across their entire networking ecosystem.

Cisco ACI components

The Cisco ACI solution consists of the following building blocks (Figure 1):

     Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC)

     Cisco Nexus 9000 Series spine and leaf switches for Cisco ACI

     Cisco ACI Multi-Site Orchestrator

     Cisco Cloud APIC

Cisco ACI architectural building blocks

Figure 1.         

Cisco ACI architectural building blocks

Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 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

    Kubernetes, RedHat OpenShift, Docker Enterprise

     Imagemanagement (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.

Cisco APIC 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-SERVER-M3 with medium-size CPU, hard drive, and memory configurations (up to 1200 edge ports)

Large cluster


Cluster of 3 APIC-SERVER-L3 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


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.

Cisco Cloud APIC

Figure 3.         

Cisco Cloud APIC

The Cisco Cloud APIC is 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. The Cisco Cloud APIC specifications are listed in tables 3 and 4, below.

Table 3.           Cisco Cloud APIC requirements for Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud

AWS native resources

Cisco Cloud APIC requirements



Amazon EC2 Instance Type

m5.2xlarge (recommended) , m4.x2large

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.

Table 4.           Cisco Cloud APIC requirements for Azure public cloud

Azure Resource Name

Resource Type

Minimum Requirement

Instance type



Virtual Networks 



Static Public IP Addresses



Total Public IP Addresses (Static Public IP Addresses and Dynamic Public IP Addresses)



Network Security Groups



Application Security Groups



Application Gateways



Virtual Machines



Standard DSv2 Family vCPUs



Standard DSv3 Family vCPUs



Premium Storage Managed Disks



Cisco environmental sustainability

Information about Cisco’s environmental sustainability policies and initiatives for our products, solutions, operations, and extended operations or supply chain is provided in the “Environment Sustainability” section of Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) Report.

Reference links to information about key environmental sustainability topics (mentioned in the “Environment Sustainability” section of the CSR Report) are provided in the following table:

Sustainability topic


Information on product material content laws and regulations


Information on electronic waste laws and regulations, including products, batteries, and packaging

WEEE compliance

Cisco makes the packaging data available for informational purposes only. It may not reflect the most current legal developments, and Cisco does not represent, warrant, or guarantee that it is complete, accurate, or up to date. This information is subject to change without notice.

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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 Application Services Engine data sheet: Click here

     CiscoACI Virtual Edgedata 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

Learn more