Cisco ACI Review

Has the ability to do segmentation without running everything through a firewall but it is lacking integration with Tetration

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for ACI in our company is to do data center segmentation to move our network to a zero-trust model. 

How has it helped my organization?

This product improved the way our company functions by enabling us to establish our goal of moving to a zero-trust model. That's how Cisco ACI helps us the most.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature at this stage is that it can do segmentation without running everything through a firewall. You're able to do segmentation without having firewalls in the middle of all your connections. It is extendable to other data centers. You can extend your Layer 2 VLANs over Layer 3, using VXLAN.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see integration with Tetration. You should be able to use Tetration to manage your scripts and push into ACI without having to export, manually manipulate, script it, and then re-import back in ACI. It needs automation there.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been very stable. Upgrades have been very easy. We have no real complaints about the stability of the Cisco ACI platform.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is great. You get more capacity. You can extend it to another data center remotely. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for this solution is great. We bought support and it's been going well. 

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

We knew we needed to switch to another solution because of security concerns. We needed a zero-trust model. 

How was the initial setup?

For our migration approach, we did a very quick migration into it in a network-centric mode. We're starting to move into application-centered mode now. We're still in the migration period.

The initial setup was very complex. It's just a new technology platform. Nobody had training on it. Nobody knew what it was on my team. That makes it complex. 

It's a very complex system, as it should be. It's a new way of thinking about networking. Cisco ACI adds complexity. Cisco ACI is extremely complex. That's not necessarily a complaint, as much as it is a fact.

What about the implementation team?

To deploy Cisco ACI, we used Advanced Services. Our experience with them was fifty-fifty. It's still so new in Cisco that it was difficult for them. We deployed Tetration at the same time and there were a lot of issues there. The engineer they put on the project was great. 

What other advice do I have?

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate this product at a seven. It would be a lot higher, but it should have the ability to integrate with Tetration, as was marketed to us. It was a huge downfall for us when they decided not to do that right now. 

I advise anyone to get training before you implement Cisco ACI.

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