Cisco ACI Review

Offers a simple dashboard that can connect all of my devices

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for Cisco ACI in our company is to have a central point to manage our network and to do API automation. Those are the two main focuses to automate.

How has it helped my organization?

Currently, we're still doing a POC on Cisco ACI. We haven't made the transition. It's a huge jump from what we currently have in our network to the ACI. We're still evaluating it. 

We've already purchased the gear, but we still need more training. We already purchased all the hardware for the production environment. 

We want to keep on training before we make the migration phase.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of the solution is having a central point to log in. I have a simple dashboard that has all my devices connected. That is what I'm looking for.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For stability, it seems fine. I have no complaints about that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's easy to keep adding. You have a set where you just add another leaf to your ACI fabric. 

I can scale quite easily. Just add another leaf to my ACI fabric. It seems straightforward.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've not used the technical support. I've been working with our Cisco reps and a few professional service providers. They are amazing, number one. 

Their main office is walking distance from my company's office. I can just walk over and complain. It's good having face-to-face relationships.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We are a Cisco shop. Right now, SDN is a buzzword. The next evolution for our company is to have an SDN network. Since we're a Cisco shop, it's ACI.

We've been a Cisco shop since day one.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not straightforward at all. Cisco just released a document that tells you how to set it up, but before that, it was overwhelming. 

To set up, Cisco ACI takes months. There are so many features and you're too scared. They did release a pdf that shows you a step through, i.e. how to set up your ACI fabric. Before that, there's just bare-bones information for something so expensive. It was kind of funny. They just released it.

My complaint about this is: We purchased the ACI gear, but to do monitoring, to do stats, to do telemetry statistics, etc. we have to purchase another product from Cisco. 

I would ask from Cisco when we purchase the hardware if some of these features could be built in the purchase. Now I'm dissatisfied that I have to purchase this to do basic monitoring. It should all be built in.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options because we'd have to reevaluate what we currently use for Cisco. None of our staff is trained for anything but Cisco. Cisco was the only product we looked at.

What other advice do I have?

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Cisco ACI with a nine. Some of the features should be built in. If you think you know ACI, you don't. Get more training.

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