New and Changed Information

The following sections provide an overview of the significant changes to the organization and features in this guide up to this current release. The tables do not provide an exhaustive list of all changes made to the guide or of the new features up to this release.

New Features and Changed Behavior in Cisco ACI Simulator VM for Cisco APIC Release 4.2(x)

Feature or Change


Where Documented

Installing ACI Simulator VM

From this release onwards you do not need a challenge key nor an activation token to install ACI simulator VM.

Installing ACI Simulator Virtual Machine

New Features and Changed Behavior in Cisco ACI Simulator VM for Cisco APIC Release 4.0(x)

Feature or Change


Where Documented

Hardware resources

Hardware resource requirements are increased.

About the ACI Simulator Virtual Machine

New Features and Changed Behavior in Cisco ACI Simulator VM for Cisco APIC Release 3.1(x)

Feature or Change


Where Documented

Initial release

This guide was introduced.


About the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller

The Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is a distributed, scalable, multitenant infrastructure with external end-point connectivity controlled and grouped through application-centric policies. The Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) is the unified point of automation, management, monitoring, and programmability for the ACI. The APIC supports the deployment, management, and monitoring of any application anywhere, with a unified operations model for the physical and virtual components of the infrastructure. The APIC programmatically automates network provisioning and control that is based on the application requirements and policies. It is the central control engine for the broader cloud network; it simplifies management and allows flexibility in how application networks are defined and automated. It also provides northbound Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs. The APIC is a distributed system that is implemented as a cluster of many controller instances.

About the ACI Simulator Virtual Machine

The intent of the ACI Simulator is to provide real, fully-featured APIC controller software, along with a simulated fabric infrastructure of leaf switches and spine switches in one virtual machine. Because the ACI Simulator includes APICs with real production software, you can use it to understand features, exercise APIs, and initiate integration with third-party orchestration systems and applications. The native GUI and CLI of the APIC use the same APIs that are published to third parties.

The ACI Simulator includes simulated switches, so you cannot validate a data path. The simulator allows you to connect external management entities such as ESX servers, vCenters, vShields, bare metal servers, L4-L7 services, AAA systems, and other physical or virtual service appliances. In addition, the ACI Simulator allows simulation of faults and alerts to facilitate testing and to demonstrate features.

The ACI Simulator Virtual Machine requirements:


Required for Release 3.1(x)

Required for Release 4.0(x)





16 GB

24 GB

Hard disk storage

80 GB

100 GB

Simulator VM Topology and Connections

The ACI Simulator implements the following topology:

  • One spine switch

  • Two leaf switches (leaf1, leaf2)

  • One instance of APIC (apic1)

This diagram shows the components and connections simulated within the simulator VM server:

Guidelines and Limitations

Follow these guidelines and limitations:

  • Only VMware vSphere is supported.

  • With the ACI VM simulator, policies can be configured and deployed, but traffic between endpoints (physical or virtual) is not possible.

Installing ACI Simulator Virtual Machine


Step 1

Download the Open Virtualization Appliance (OVA) file.

Step 2

Enable Promiscuous Mode on the VMware vSwitch to which the simulator is connected. In the WMware vSphere Web Client, navigate to host > Configuration > Virtual Switches and select the switch and click the Edit icon. In the vSwitch Properties dialog box, select Accept in the Promiscuous Mode field.

Step 3

Confirm the virtual machine allocated the required CPU and memory.

Step 4

Power on the virtual machine.


In the release 4.2(1) and later, you do not need a challenge key nor an activation token. Follow steps 7 to 12.

Step 5

For releases prior to 4.2(1), open the console to the activation screen. If the Simulator virtual machines network Interfaces are attached to a port group with a DHCP server on the subnet, it will have been assigned an IP that can be used to connect remote via SSH. If you do not have DHCP available on the relevant subnet, you will need to copy the Activation Challenge Key manually as well as enter it manually in the console session which can be tedious and leave room for typos. Once the activation screen is opened perform the following actions:

  1. Open your SSH client and start a session using the provided IP address.

  2. Login in using activation and the password activation and copy the activation challenge key provided.

  3. Send the activation challenge key to your local Cisco account team.

Step 6

For releases prior to 4.2(1), once you have received the activation token information from the account team then copy and paste the token in the Enter Activation Token prompt.


The simulator can take up to 30 minutes to activate depending on the VMware vSphere host's resources.

Step 7

Complete the first set up and accept all of the default settings with the exception of the password, IP address and netmask, and the gateway.


If you change any of the settings other than the password, IP address and netmask, or the gateway, the installation will succeed, but the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) will fail to discover the virtual leaf switches and spine switches.

Step 8

For Network Settings, enter your management IP address with the subnet and your Gateway IP address.

Step 9

Complete the setup by providing an admin password.

Step 10

Review your configuration. Click y/n to edit or n to continue.

Step 11

Once the setup process is completed, you should be able to connected to the simulator Cisco APIC GUI using the assigned Management IP address.

Step 12

For best-effort support assistance with the Cisco APIC Simulator virtual machine, open a case here: The Simulator virtual machine is not supported through regular TAC channels.