Cisco ACI Review

The scalability is very good, but I would still like to see a unified CLI

What is our primary use case?

We use it for our data center.

How has it helped my organization?

It has made it much easier to deploy and make changes in the data center versus the previous infrastructure, which was NX-OS based.

What is most valuable?

  • Software-defined
  • Ease of deployment
  • Ease of change
  • Ease of segmentation
  • Scalability

What needs improvement?

I know Cisco is trying to move away from CLI, but I would still like to see improvements to the CLI. Troubleshooting is quite difficult using other tools, and there are still quite a lot of people with the network engineer mindset who rely on CLIs. Therefore, it would be nice to have a unified CLI. They made big improvements on this last time, but it could use additional improvements.

Here are some of the issues that we encountered:

  • We had lift switches which failed to forward traffic correctly.
  • We had issues in the first deployment when we tried to finish the migration from traditional networking to Cisco ACI.
  • We had issues with the propagation of the routes internally. Therefore, we had destinations which were reachable, but other destinations were unreachable in the same subnet.

It took quite a lot of tries to finish the migration, because our issues were always the same. These issues were related to silent hosts.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been decent so far. We have ran into some issues: 50 percent hardware and 50 percent software, but we solved them quite quickly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good. This is one of the best features, because you can add it at any time, then scale as needed.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate the technical support as an eight out of ten.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were at the end of the lifecycle for the previous solution, which was Cisco Nexus based. We knew that we would stay with Cisco, so the proposal came up to choose between traditional and NX-OS and ACI. Therefore, we chose Nexus 9000, which allowed us to do both. Then, it came down to a decision on which solution to go with, and we thought SDN is the future. Thus, we chose SDN (ACI mode).

How was the initial setup?

The setup was very straightforward. It was easy to deploy. The first configuration had issues, then adding the lift switches was easy.

What about the implementation team?

When we deployed, we were partnered with defense services. We had engineers on site for the couple of tries that we did for the migration. They helped us and managed to solve our issues in the end.

What other advice do I have?

Ensure you have the right qualifications to deploy and operate this solution, especially in the programming area.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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