Cisco ACI Review

Integration with vCenter saves us time and effort

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for our data center infrastructure. We are a small, private university, supporting a mix of cloud and on-premise applications.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution saves us time. The integration with vCenter means that when I create something on the network, it only has to happen one time instead of many times for our many virtual hosts.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the integration with vCenter, as it makes it easier for the systems and network to interoperate.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see simpler contract building, engineering, and architecture.

There should be an alternative "ACI Light" solution for smaller-sized enterprises.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution has been very solid. We've had no problems in the three years that we have been using it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't really grown or changed the network since this solution was installed, so I cannot comment on scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support for this solution is great. The ACI guys have been some of the best technical support people that I've worked with at Cisco. They just seem to know things better than the other groups within their support infrastructure. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is complex. Our environment is not very complex, but the product itself is very complex. It takes a lot of steps to configure.

What about the implementation team?

We used a partner that Cisco recommended to assist us with the implementation. 

We were one of the first implementations, and I think we were used at the lab during our installation. Some of the things that you learn over time were not known, so it could have been done better.

What was our ROI?

We have seen partial ROI. However, that is probably more our fault than the product's fault because we haven't leveraged the tools that are there.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Three years ago when we were starting with this process, the industry said that software defined networking was the way we had to go. At the time, this is the only solution that was available.

I was one of the proponents of this solution.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody considering this solution is to really look at the size of your organization. Ours is kind of in the middle in terms of size, between large and small. So, ACI may be a little bit of overkill for the size of the shop that we have. If you have a large organization then it's a good product. If, on the other hand, you are a little shop, it is probably more than you need.

This is a good solution, but no product is perfect.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

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