Cisco ACI Reviews

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Syed Ali Wajahat
Consultant
Sr Network and Security Consultant (SDN & Security) at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Mar 07 2019

What is most valuable?

Among the valuable features are the integration with VMM domains and their Layer 4 and Layer 7 devices, like device packages for F5, Palo Alto, and ASA. We are also doing automation from ACI and we… more»

How has it helped my organization?

Normally, when you're configuring your core switches and your normal switching fabric, like Nexus or any of the HP platforms, you configure VLANs. If you're dividing a switch, you configure a virtual… more»

What needs improvement?

Where there is room for improvement from ACI is for Layer 2 and Layer 7 packages. Normally, when you're updating your ACI fabric or you're introducing new Layer 4 to Layer 7 devices and there are some… more»

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you compare the licensing and total cost of ACI, it's cheaper than NSX because of the licensing fees. If you are going for full NSX features it will be too expensive, especially the next-generation… more»

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

Currently, we don't have any other SDN solutions, but I have experience with SDN in NSX. I have certification in VCIX, VCIX-NSX, and NV - network virtualization - from VMware. The biggest difference… more»

What other advice do I have?

If somebody is planning to implement ACI, it's mostly because they want their network to be centralized and they want their network to be more organized. They want more efficient provisioning of… more»
Imran Alvi
Consultant
Network Consultant at Onstack Inc
Mar 05 2019

What is most valuable?

The best part of ACI is that it can integrate with a lot of virtual environments like VMware, Hyper-V, and KVM. That's the best feature that sticks out in my mind because I have worked with customers… more»

How has it helped my organization?

The improvement I have seen after ACI has been implemented is that companies that wanted to implement a service lifecycle of any services, or that wanted to do automation, really improved their… more»

What needs improvement?

Better troubleshooting features would be helpful. In ACI, it can be a big mess, a real headache to troubleshoot a single issue. Cisco should work on the troubleshooting part of ACI. The… more»

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'm not involved in the pricing part, but Cisco has come up with Smart Licensing, which is a bit higher. But now they're giving the customers very good discount rates to bring customers in.

What other advice do I have?

Plan. Don't jump to a conclusion, plan it. You should first know your infrastructure and what your targets are, what you are trying to implement because, when you are more security focused, Cisco ACI… more»

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are using VMware NSX in our environment as well. We had a customer that was using both NSX and ACI in their environment. The good thing about NSX is that it has really strong support for the… more»
Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco ACI vs. VMware NSX and other solutions. Updated: July 2019.
353,599 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Real User
Data Center Implementation Engineer at a consultancy with 1-10 employees
Jun 27 2019

What is most valuable?

In a very general way, the ease of access, ease of use, and ease of connecting the system is a valuable feature in itself. The solution doesn't really increase detection rates as that is not what it… more»

How has it helped my organization?

My organization specifically implements Cisco ACI for other companies, so the product is basically our business model. For clients, a visible GUI dashboard provides a unified view of the network. In… more»

What needs improvement?

There has not been a single implementation we have done where the client wants to use all the features that are in the product currently. Contemplating new features seems out of order. Every product… more»

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We don't license the products ourselves. The clients that we implement for also license it with Cisco. As it stands right now, the licensing structure hasn't been fully fleshed out for ACI. So, if… more»

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

A portion of Cisco's equipment is going end-of-life. Most of the companies that we implement for are using Cisco Nexus 7K, 5K, 2K so they have 752 implementations and some of their 7K's are going… more»

What other advice do I have?

I would rate the solution as a nine out of ten. It is a great product, but there are issues with it. It's not perfect and it would have to be to get a ten. The issues that are there are easily… more»
DarrylG
Real User
Technology Support Specialist at Fujitsu
Mar 05 2019

What is most valuable?

It adds a layer of complication but one area where it has an advantage, a benefit, is that you're able to reuse a specific integration. If you add another server, you can use a specific integration and assign it to another port. You can back up the configuration, restore a configuration. It's easier… more»

How has it helped my organization?

It has made it simpler and easier for non-Cisco personnel to come in and configure stuff because it is easier to understand, compared to when you configure Nexus using the CLI. Configuring the ACI using the graphical interface is easier. That's one advantage. New administrators can easily jump in… more»

What needs improvement?

One of the things that makes it a lot more complicated is the way contracts are handled in ACI. Contracts are like their own access lists. They can improve the setting up of contracts between devices a lot. It can be simplified. Because ACI re-invented something that's been working for so long - you… more»

What other advice do I have?

If you can afford it, it's a very good solution. It's a high-end solution to put a data center on. Also, you need the right people to use it. It would be better if you had some programmers who know Python and not only people who are network engineers. If you can afford it, it is going to be the next… more»
Real User
IT Evolution Manager at a aerospace/defense firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Feb 05 2019

What is most valuable?

Once we have it running, it should be easier for us to program our IT rather than going case-by-case, by switches and different elements, or program it by hand.

How has it helped my organization?

Financially, it should be an improvement because we expect everything will converge in the tool. Therefore, we can change the way that we invest money in resources. Today… more»

What needs improvement?

Interoperability with third-party products always seems so straightforward, but every time you need to invest a lot to add an external element to the ACI Fabric… more»

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We bought a package for hardware, software, and support. At that time, Cisco was simply selling that package to distributors, then we opted for it directly.

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

We switched to ACI because there came a time to make the decision to either stay with another 10 years with the technology that we had in place or go through this… more»

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend the solution to anyone with a similar use case, though try for a greenfield solution or project instead of migrating your previous infrastructure. In… more»

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

VMware is one of ACI's competitors. We considered VMware because we also have it in our infrastructure. We chose Cisco ACI, because VMware is just focusing virtual… more»
Real User
Systems Network Manager at a non-tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Jun 25 2019

What is most valuable?

This is a modern, next-generation solution, and it is where the platform is going. I have been told that this is an easy solution to configure, but we are just starting to deploy it, so that is to be determined.

What needs improvement?

ACI is not simple, by any stretch of the imagination. We are not following the application-centric approach, but a network-centric approach instead. It would be nice if I could specify network-centric in my design, and the system would… more»

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

We were using the Cisco 9000 and we reached a point where investment was needed due to depreciation in our infrastructure. We needed to get rid of the old system, and then decide whether to stay with the Cisco 9000 or move to ACI. For us… more»

What other advice do I have?

We are currently testing this solution in a lab, preparing for our deployment into production. We are not ready to approach this solution in an application-centric way. It's a great overall architecture, good scalability-wise, easy to… more»

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We're a Cisco shop, so we did not evaluate solutions from other vendors. We already have our partner for purchasing, and all of our relationships were already established. For us, it was simply a design decision between Cisco 9000 and ACI.
Mark Hayden
Real User
Lead Network Engineer at a consultancy with 10,001+ employees
Jun 30 2019

What is most valuable?

The good side of it is being able to control your network switching and routing in the data center from a single control point.

How has it helped my organization?

We are still growing it in our main data center. We haven't even expanded it to our recovery data center yet. As far as managing a static environment, so far, it's been great. When it comes to adding in new changes and new things, that's… more»

What needs improvement?

I don't have any new features that I need in Cisco ACI yet because we're still learning and making it work in our environment today. I don't have anything new. The one big challenge with it is Cisco going from a perpetual license model to a… more»

What other advice do I have?

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate this product in the five to six range. It is a good product. It will be solid as it matures. It's technically challenging for anyone. One guy has stood up most of our environment. We are trying to use… more»

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The number one reason we chose it was that eventually, we will doing some sort of SD (Software Defined) access. When a user gets on the network and they connect, they'll have a persona. We'll know who they are. We'll know what to allow them… more»
Real User
Senior Network Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Jul 09 2019

What is most valuable?

The fact that it's modern and that it's easy to configure are the two most valuable features.

How has it helped my organization?

We're just starting to deploy it. We literally just bought it and we're getting ready to start.

What needs improvement?

In terms of improvement, I would like to see some sort of way to baseline the system in a network-centric fashion. The way ACI works is that it is very application-centric but I think that a lot of… more»

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

Our investment reason was purely due to the depreciation of the existing infrastructure. We needed to get rid of the old infrastructure and we had to make a choice. We needed to decide if we were… more»

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten. I would really love that network-centric philosophy of configuration to be a little bit easier to do and the learning curve is steep. Being somebody who… more»

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We're a Cisco shop so we weren't going to another avenue. We already have our partner for purchasing, all these relationships were established so it wasn't really much to choose in that regard. It was… more»
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Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco ACI vs. VMware NSX and other solutions. Updated: July 2019.
353,599 professionals have used our research since 2012.

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What is Cisco ACI?

Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) reduces TCO, automates IT tasks, and accelerates data center application deployments. It accomplishes this using a business-relevant Software Defined Networking (SDN) policy model across networks, servers, storage, security, and services.
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