Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure

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Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) reduces TCO, automates IT tasks, and accelerates data center application deployments. It accomplishes this using a business-relevant Software Defined Networking (SDN) policy model across networks, servers, storage, security, and services.

An Open Ecosystem

ACI's broad ecosystem extends the comprehensive services and management of the data center platform.
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Why Implement Cisco ACI?

Early adopters explain the benefits in a special edition of Unleashing IT magazine.

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Be an IT Superhero

Get the resources you need at the Software Defined Networking Learning Center.

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Real Customers, Real Success

See how organizations are using Cisco ACI to realize successful business outcomes.

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ACI: Agile, Open, and Secure

IT departments and lines of business are looking at cloud automation tools and software defined networking (SDN) architectures to:

Cisco ACI is a comprehensive SDN architecture. This policy-based automation solution supports a business-relevant application policy language, greater scalability through a distributed enforcement system, and greater network visibility. These benefits are achieved through the integration of physical and virtual environments under one policy model for networks, servers, storage, services, and security.

Through Cisco ACI, customers are reducing application deployment times from weeks to minutes. It also dramatically improves IT alignment with business objectives and policy requirements.

Cisco ACI is built on:

ACI provides a network that is deployed, monitored, and managed in a way that benefits different teams in the IT organization including SDN Network, Cloud and DevOps, and Security. It supports rapid application change by reducing complexity with a common policy framework that can automate provisioning and resource management.

Cisco Developer Network for ACI

Facilitate rapid systems integration and customization for network services, monitoring, management, and orchestration. Explore the Cisco Developer Network for ACI.

Services for Cisco ACI

Accelerate the benefits of Cisco ACI while mitigating implementation risks. Cisco services help create an automated IT environment that is fast, flexible, and responsive to the needs of your business. Learn more about Services for Cisco ACI.

Automation and Agility

Cisco ACI helps customers accelerate service delivery and manage application lifecycles. (2:19 min)

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Security Automation Saves the Day

Automated security policy provisioning with ACI has FirePOWER integration. (2:02 min)

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Meeting an Impossible Deadline

See how Cisco ACI drastically cuts the application deployment time in the data center. (1:55 min)

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SDN Network

Cisco ACI is a comprehensive SDN solution, making the application the focal point. It is delivered on an agile, open, and highly secure architecture. Its application-based policy model offers speed through automation, reducing errors and accelerating application deployment and IT processes from weeks to minutes.

Application-based policies decouple high level application connectivity needs from the complicated details of network configuration. This results in automated IT processes that simplify operations. ACI provides transparent support of heterogeneous physical and virtual endpoints - such as bare metal servers, and virtual servers on any hypervisor - with Layer 2 to 7 network services, using consistent policy. This provides faster troubleshooting through increased visibility of the entire infrastructure.

Cisco ACI supports open APIs, open source, and open standards to optimize customer choice and flexibility. (Cisco contributes technology specifications to open source and standards communities.) The open integration with existing data center management tools and a comprehensive open partner ecosystem helps to ensure flexibility while decreasing costs and increasing innovation.

Cloud and DevOps

Provisioning applications has become easy with programmable infrastructure. Yet on-boarding them is still hard. Cloud architects have to know what infrastructure design will support frequent application changes to performance, security, availability and scale. DevOps has to work with both application and admin teams to understand how numerous application changes affect the configuration of switches, ports, VLANs, firewalls, security appliances, load balancers and other application delivery functions. All changes must work within a shared production infrastructure without affecting existing tenants and applications.

Cisco ACI introduces a simple, application level, policy-based approach. Application intentions are automatically translated to infrastructure design without requiring knowledge of devices or the effort to translate to configurations. This helps to enable policy-aware resource orchestration, real-time governance and open choice in cloud software.


Cisco ACI and the APIC SDN controller allow for security policies down to the individual tenant, application, or workload. They provide protection that meets the most stringent business and compliance requirements. The whitelist model permits communication only where explicitly allowed, helping to ensure that policy omissions do not leave security vulnerabilities.

Through Cisco ACI, all security device provisioning and configuration can be automated according to the centrally managed application policies and requirements.This simplifies IT security tasks (including PCI compliance), and accelerates application deployments.

Get Your ACI Starter Kit Today

Refreshed starter kits for production deployments are available now. (PDF - 1 MB)

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See an Overview of Cisco APIC

Learn about the centralized policy management to the ACI fabric. (8:17 min)

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Multi-Hypervisor Integration

With ACI, you can have different types of hypervisors and bare metal servers. (3:03 min)

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Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches bring new, industry-leading performance, power, port density, and open programmability innovations. Products include:

Modular Switches

Cisco Nexus 9516
Cisco Nexus 9508
Cisco Nexus 9504

Fixed Switches

Cisco Nexus 9396PX
Cisco Nexus 9396TX
Cisco Nexus 93128TX
Cisco Nexus 9372PX
Cisco Nexus 9372TX
Cisco Nexus 9336PQ ACI Spine Switch
Cisco Nexus 9332PQ

Cisco Application Virtual Switch (AVS) provides a consistent virtual switch infrastructure between ACI fabrics and the Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch for existing data center fabrics.

Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) programmatically automates network provisioning and control based on application requirements and policies.

Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure Security for data centers solves many complexities in customer environments. It treats firewalls as a pool of resources and intelligently stitches them according to application network policies. ACI Security offers full acceleration dynamically in hardware and directly integrates into Cisco ACI.

Cisco Solution Support

Receive solution-level support across your entire Cisco ACI ecosystem. (PDF - 225.82 KB)

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Cut Costs with Cisco ACI

ACI can help you speed deployment, improve operations, and lower total cost of ownership. (7:46 min)

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Cisco Services for ACI

When considering Cisco ACI, it's important to define your desired business outcomes and plan each stage of the journey. Then you'll want to know how to accelerate the benefits of ACI while mitigating the risks. We can help you to:

  • Develop an ACI adoption strategy based on business and technology needs
  • Provide migration strategy and operational readiness
  • Deploy proof of concept to gain experience and reduce deployment risk
  • Design application-centric data centers based on ACI fabric PODs and policy templates

To optimize business outcomes, we offer a full range of services. The first step is Cisco Solution Support for Cisco ACI which offers a"one-stop shop" for managing all of your ACI needs.

ACI implementation does not need to be complex. Cisco is connected to an entire ecosystem ready to help you unlock and support the full potential of your network.

For more ACI Services information, including Quick Start and Accelerated Deployment options, along with a full range of capabilities for your specific needs, contact your Cisco Sales representative or email us.

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