Cisco ACI Overview

Cisco ACI is the #2 ranked solution in our list of top Network Virtualization tools. It is most often compared to VMware NSX: Cisco ACI vs VMware NSX

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.
Cisco ACI Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco ACI Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2021

Cisco ACI Customers
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PaulIlavarasu Balasekar
Technical Lead at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
The tenancy model means we don't need to buy a dedicated setup for each customer

What is our primary use case?

I am an engineer who deploys ACI. Most of the deployments cover L2 Out and L3 Out and migrations.

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features include microsegmentation, L3 Out features, and the common tenant and tenancy model."
  • "For Multipod we need Layer 3 devices that support multicast. Customers ask: "Why can't ACI do that? Why do we need a dedicated Layer 3 device for this?" If they go for Multi-Site there is no need for that, ACI can do it. So Cisco needs to increase the Multipod features in ACI."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate ACI at ten out of ten. I don't see any bad features in it. I always think about the positive side. I don't see any negativity on the ACI side. There are a lot of features, like automation, that reduce manual efforts that would otherwise be time-consuming.
Syed Ali Wajahat
Sr Network and Security Consultant (SDN & Security) at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Provides integration with VMM domains and their L4 and L7 devices, like device packages for F5, Palo Alto, and ASA

What is our primary use case?

I'm in ACI operations and the current use for Cisco ACI is to host the entire server farm and all the applications which are hosted in our data center, here in Qatar, and also in different locations.

Pros and Cons

  • "We are doing automation from ACI and we have integration with Azure. With the Azure stack integration we can have total automation. We can configure the EPGs from there, and we can configure load balancing functionalities from there as well. The most useful feature is that you don't need to configure anything on ACI itself. You can configure on Azure and it will provision your application."
  • "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, there are some constraints, there are some limitations... When you are doing device packages you will not have the functionality of ASM. It's like WAF, web application firewalls. So you need to configure it manually."

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 networking and applications. By implementing ACI they will need fewer resources and will have reduced operations costs. They will have more flexibility over the network. They can have multiple types of automation on their fabric, instead of using normal switching fabric. In terms of maintaining it, the operation is something else. It depends on the number of applications and their business criticality…
Learn what your peers think about Cisco ACI. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2021.
511,307 professionals have used our research since 2012.
DarrylG
Technology Support Specialist at Fujitsu
MSP
Enables backing up and restoring of configurations, but Layer 3 Out policy is complex

What is our primary use case?

We used it as a data center switch. The company - our client - that uses it uses Cisco HyperFlex and FlexPod both connected to Cisco ACI.

Pros and Cons

  • "One area where it has an advantage... 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."
  • "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."

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 thing, in a few years' time. It's a good solution if you have the right people and budget. We have an ongoing interaction with the client for whom we implemented ACI. We implemented it two years ago and since then we have been constantly supporting the client with their ACI infrastructure. The…
Imran Alvi
Network Consultant at Onstack Inc
Consultant
Integrates with multiple virtual environments, but native support for security is lacking

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is in an environment where the customer has a very large virtual compute and a lot of physical compute as well - in terms of the number of servers - and a big heterogeneous firewall. They want to converge their racks where they have a physical firewall and a virtual firewall. They have their metal servers and VMware or Hyper-V VMs. This is the best use case. This is where ACI fits best because it can integrate the physical and virtual environments together within a single fabric. It can give a very good overview, an "aerial view" of your whole data center within your… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "The best part of ACI is that it can integrate with a lot of virtual environments like VMware, Hyper-V, and KVM."
  • "Better troubleshooting features would be helpful. In ACI, it can be a big mess, a real headache to troubleshoot a single issue... The troubleshooting part, and the information that ACI gives you, sometimes don't give you a proper, inside picture of what's going on within the fabric."

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 can give you a tough in implementation. If you are more into converging your fabric, you want to your data center to be very converged into a single fabric with fast convergence times, go for ACI. There are different use cases based on what the customer's priorities are. So plan well, know your target, what you're trying to achieve. If you want to deploy more VMs faster, go for NSX. Don't go for…
NK
Sr Network Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
We don't need to configure any part of the VXLAN

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case is for server deployment automation.

Pros and Cons

  • "There are many features which are useful, like the automatic completion of the VXLAN."
  • "They should improve the GUI, make it simpler. They also need to improve its integration with other automation tools."

What other advice do I have?

Know exactly what you are looking for and what workloads there are. If your company has workloads based on virtualization of VMware, you should know how many physical machines there are and how many virtual machines there are. Also, you need an idea of the kind of costs you can pay for deploying the infrastructure. Look into the support, the documentation, how it would work for troubleshooting. All those things matter. Also, look at the company's relationships with the OEMs, what kind of partnership they have, what kind of support the OEMs can provide. We have two locations where people use…
KC
Network Engineer at CS Computer Systems
Real User
The simplicity of the deployment is one of its main benefits

What is our primary use case?

We're planning to use it as a product to sell to our customers. We are in the business of service integration. We offer solutions for our customers. We have specific customers who have a use for ACI because of the microsegmentation. They have five regional offices which all have five different people who are responsible for managing their site so we are trying to unite them and put everything under one roof and have a single place of control and visibility of the full network specifically for their data center.

Pros and Cons

  • "Now, our customers have tiers of management that have meetings with about the simplest tasks because it has to be approved from upper management and senior management and by the time it gets to the engineer that's going to deploy it, it takes way too long. With the solution, they can delegate a person who would be in charge of running the ACI as a whole, and it will be much faster because it doesn't have to go through the whole chain of command for the simple task of deploying one little machine on one port in the data center."
  • "I would like for there to be more information about it available. While using the ACI in the graphical interface, I would like if there was something that explained every step that you can click and it will tell you what you are doing in more detail."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. I would advise a colleague to definitely try it. Mess around with it, test it as much as possible because it's a new solution. It's different from the traditional data center deployment so there's not a lot of internet posts about it in which you could go and Google and find out more information. The chances that someone has had your problem before and probably found a solution for it are slim so you might get stuck and you will have to go straight to Cisco.
EC
IT Network Engineer at MANGO
Real User
Has improved communication between my endpoints in the data center but the setup is complex

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is to interconnect both data centers in my corporation.

How has it helped my organization?

The biggest benefit has been that it has improved communication between my endpoints in the data center.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better training. I don't have good training with this product. If I did, I probably would be able to solve all of the problems during the installations. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is fantastic. Whenever I have a problem, our partners at Cisco support answer quickly.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex. If I didn't have my partner's support, I…
LS
Major Change Supervisor at Vodafone
Real User
Has a straightforward migration of all applications and their support is top-notch

What is our primary use case?

We started working with a customer which is in the Netherlands. They are really important for us. They started migrating the building of their CRM to ACI. We started with 2.0. We just upgraded the fabric to 3.2. In the next three months, we are aiming to migrate and upgrade the fabric plan to 4.0

Pros and Cons

  • "The straightforward migration of all of the applications and loop balancing are the two most valuable features. Also, the measurement of their customer-wide sources is very straightforward. It's another dimension of the networks."
  • "I would like for them to develop integration with AWS."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. There's room for improvement in the software version. To get to a ten, they should improve the virtualization and develop integration with AWS. For companies starting from scratch, ACI is the best solution in terms of the space needed and time to delivery.
BB
Network Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
The most cost effective compared to other options and has the ability to integrate with other systems

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is to provide a replacement for our existing infrastructure in the data center. It's part of our lifecycle management.

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to integrate with other systems is the most valuable feature."
  • "We have had two calls with technical support. They are not the best. We opened a case to diagnose issues and it's taken weeks to get someone on the case and to move forward."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. Not a ten because it has a steep learning curve. I would advise someone considering this solution to watch the ACI presentations because they are packed with details and experience that comes from the trainers. It's very beneficial to get real-world experience.
Grzegorz Dygon
Specialist Lab Network at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Has a lot of scalability options, saves a lot of time, and is worth the money

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of this solution is for monitoring, automation, links monitoring, configuring of devices, like laptop devices. I use templates and push templates to the devices. We also use it for global software updates.

Pros and Cons

  • "It has benefited my organization by saving us a lot of time."
  • "I would like for ACI to manage all of the devices."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. Prepare your infrastructure beforehand because once you run the ACI it goes to one device every time and reconfigures it. Prepare the devices before, check their specifications, and then run the ACI. It will help you save your time.
Omer Yavuz
Group Leader at Havelsan Hava Elektronik Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.s.
Real User
Operation and maintenance costs have been reduced and configuration is easy

What is our primary use case?

Instead of using traditional network structures we use ACI for network function mutualization. The mutualization of network devices and also for the control of automatization to manage the internet public.

How has it helped my organization?

The operation and maintenance costs have been reduced. It is also simple to deploy any deployment. Any configuration can be easily done. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've had to use their technical support and have found them to be helpful.

How was the initial setup?

The first setup was difficult because it is a very different discipline than other traditional network deployments. The terminology is very different, so…
DK
IT Network at a healthcare company with 201-500 employees
Real User
We get faster deployments of network policies based on applications that we provide

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for this product is to enhance the speed of certain tasks in the network. We get faster deployments of network policies based on applications that we need to provide.

Pros and Cons

  • "The centralized management of the entire network data center, in this case with ACI, is the most valuable feature. By having access to some powerful APIs you can build your own tool to speak to the ACI controller, then with that, you can deploy things really fast. Having the option to build your own tools and then using the centralized management of the ACI to push the configuration to the network devices is very valuable."
  • "The error messages should be improved. Sometimes we want to remove an error message so we acknowledge an error and we would then like to remove it but there's no real way of doing that. If we need to do it, we need to open a tech case. That could use improvement."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. Not a ten because of the error messages. In order to get to a ten, they need to have a better way of telling if something is really important. They shouldn't have the message in the same window or in the same menu, they should be separated. The guys who looks at it should be able to tell really fast if it's a problem they have to look at right away or if it has time. Also, they should have the option to delete the messages if you acknowledge them and don't want to see them anymore. Advice I would give to someone considering this solution would be don't be…
NetworkE4953
Network Engineer at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Has reduced the time it takes to resolve problems but the initial setup is very complex

What is our primary use case?

We use this product at a French hospital. It has helped to improve the data center and we would like to use it to change how we work with clients.

Pros and Cons

  • "Their technical support is very good. We had a problem and Cisco gave us the best engineer to resolve the issue."

    What other advice do I have?

    I would rate it a seven out of ten. It's a good product, and Cisco has a very good support team and very good network engineers. Of course I would recommend this product. We work with Cisco because they have many possibilities to work with very good support.
    Michel RASIAH
    Network Engineer at Societe Generale
    Real User
    The product needs more documentation, but we will be improving our organization with the automation

    What is our primary use case?

    We are switching the Nexus line to ACI for our customer: the server, firewall, etc.

    Pros and Cons

    • "We will improve our organization using the automation."
    • "We deployed a lot of Fabrics to multiple sites, which was a bit complex."

    What other advice do I have?

    Cisco ACI is a good solution, but Cisco needs to test all the networks before doing a migration.
    RV
    Systems Engineer at a tech services company
    Real User
    You can automate it. It also has a lot of insight into monitoring and traffic.

    What is our primary use case?

    The primary use case is for data center switching. This is what it was intended to do.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It scales very well. When you increasingly scale with it, it makes the product easier to work with."
    • "The interface is sometimes slow. I receive a lot of weird errors when I try to install apps, such as contract apps, which should give me a nice visualization of all the contracts. However, it just doesn't load, etc."

    What other advice do I have?

    Go for this solution.
    Andrea Margheritini
    Project Manager at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    We can support multiple VDRs of multiple branch offices at same physical location in the same infrastructure

    What is our primary use case?

    We use ACI with Nexus 9000 in multi-tenancy scenarios.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We can support multiple VDRs of multiple branch offices at same physical location in the same infrastructure.

    What is most valuable?

    It offers multitenancy. The opportunity to install it on the same platform with a huge amount of customers.

    What needs improvement?

    It needs more features for integrating with third-party vendors.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The product's stability is quite good.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability's capabilities are very good for our needs.

    How was the initial setup?

    Our initial setup was complex because we have a very complex scenario. We had to put in…
    EK
    Network Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    The centralized management is its most valuable feature. With the first setup, it was complex because of the terminology.

    What is our primary use case?

    We have it as a data center fabric, so it is layered to Fabric installation.

    Pros and Cons

    • "Having a lot of racks and switches with a single point of configuration which can be done with automation on one platform using one API. This makes everything work faster."
    • "We are waiting to see what happens with the cloud. We want to see if it will scale better."
    MC
    Network Engineer at BPCE Infogérance & Technologies
    Real User
    It has centralized our projects, but the user interface is complex

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for virtual automation and virtual networking in our data center. It is for virtualized networks instead of physical elements.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has centralized our projects.

    What is most valuable?

    It is easy to use because you have all the information coming from the same technology.

    What needs improvement?

    The ACI user interface is complex and Cisco should improve it. We had to take time to learn the product, as it is quite complicated to understand.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The product is stable. We use it all day.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We have technical support with Cisco, and it is great. They are easy to reach. We are big client. They generally…
    BJ
    Senior Network Engineer
    Real User
    We have saved time on the provisioning and configuration

    What is our primary use case?

    The primary use case is for our data centers. It has performed quite well so far. We interconnected it with our legacy infrastructure. We are now considering moving everything into the new environment, and hoping for the best.

    Pros and Cons

    • "The scalability has been great. It is very easy to scale."
    • "It would be better to introduce some wizards to guide you through the whole configuration process instead of clicking through a bunch of menus with no concrete path. It is too easy to forget one or another if you configure it this way."

    What other advice do I have?

    If you are still using the finger-defined networking approach, I would recommend trying this solution. We are happy that spanning tree feature was not included in the new design.
    Ruben Del Monte
    Network Consulting Engineer at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    You can do a lot of things with it because it is a very flexible solution

    What is our primary use case?

    Right now, we are using ACI Fabric to replace legacy equipment.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The customer is in a phase where they are building all the Fabric and moving everything. Therefore, it is early to discuss the use case. In the short-term, they plan to use ACI Fabric  to replace everything (their entire infrastructure) that they have at the moment. 

    What is most valuable?

    You can do a lot of things with it because it is a very flexible solution.

    What needs improvement?

    There is quite a learning curve at the beginning.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I haven't seen any major issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is great. This is the greatest…
    CB
    Network Architect at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    The technical support has been excellent. We engaged with Cisco Professional Services to help us get set up and their support has been outstanding.

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for data center management and multitenancy.

    Pros and Cons

    • "The initial setup was trivially simple and easy. It builds itself because it is automation. You don't have to do too much."
    • "The product needs to be simpler. There is too much complexity in ACI. 80 percent of its features are of no use to us. We could do with a simplified version."

    What other advice do I have?

    It is an outstanding product.
    ND
    Project Manager at Radio France
    Real User
    The product makes sense from a compatibility point of view since our network is entirely Cisco products

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it to design and manager our network. There are a lot of places inside the building, and we have to bring the new network everywhere to help us.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We use Cisco everywhere in our network, so it makes sense from a compatibility point of view.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    One to three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is perfect. We have had no problems with Cisco ACI.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have not thought about scaling at this time.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    As the project manager, I don't call the technical support.

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

    We did not use…
    AD
    IT Evolution Manager at a aerospace/defense firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    It was easy to set up and implement

    What is our primary use case?

    We are using it for application centric infrastructure (ACI). It is the evolution of the current data center setup from the legacy design to something programmable with some automation features which are missing today. The key challenge is to set up a new data center, then move all the legacy stuff into the new design. We need to understand how to do it, as are already under way. We already have products, but we need to go farther in the design and development of the platform.

    Pros and Cons

    • "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."
    • "Biannually, there is a new design delivered by Cisco. Thus, you are always running behind the new design, and it never stops. With Cisco ACI, this has been a nightmare."

    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 principle, what we are looking for is to have one gigantic tool which can be programmable, making our lives easier in terms of troubleshooting and management.
    AS
    Cloud Advisory Consultant at Accenture
    Real User
    Provides flexibility, so you can install it everywhere

    What is our primary use case?

    It is installed in the data center, and it works well.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We see it is faster, but still needs improvements.

    What is most valuable?

    The flexibility that you can install it everywhere.

    What needs improvement?

    It needs more integration with public clouds, like Azure and AWS. There are some setup issues that need fixing.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is good, but it is not the best. New releases keep coming out all the time.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is perfect. It is one of the main reasons that we install it.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    It is standard Cisco technical support. We have not experienced any…
    VD
    Pre-sales Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Reseller
    Building the ACI Fabric is its most valuable feature

    What is our primary use case?

    It is used in data centers.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It gives us a new way of providing the network.

    What is most valuable?

    Building the ACI Fabric is its most valuable feature. 

    What needs improvement?

    It needs to be able to function on the cloud.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I am not using it day-to-day at the moment. My impression is it is working fine.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    On paper, it scales.

    What about the implementation team?

    We did the deployment.

    What other advice do I have?

    Start now with this technology.
    AH
    Network Engineer at a political organization with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Automation is its most valuable feature. The learning curve of this product is very steep.

    What is our primary use case?

    It is used in our data center.

    What is most valuable?

    Automation is its most valuable feature.

    What needs improvement?

    The way the objects are oriented on it are not as straightforward as they should be. The learning curve of this product is very steep. It is not what I'm used to. I miss having the CLI. I am old-fashioned.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It seems fairly stable. We have not had any major hiccups.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is pretty scalable.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    The technical support is good. We had an issue where we had to talk to Cisco's technical assistance, and it worked out.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was pretty…
    RG
    Network Engineer at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Real User
    With this product, I can deploy things with a script, then run it in five minutes

    What is our primary use case?

    It is a progressive tool. You can automate things with it. It is for a new generation of data centers.

    Pros and Cons

    • "With Cisco ACI, I can deploy things with a script, then run it in five minutes."
    • "Cisco should provide more examples of code in their website. Something that other people can use. There is a great place in the development area."

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend Cisco ACI.
    MB
    Network Architect at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    We have seen time improvement using the product

    What is our primary use case?

    We want to automate some of the operational tasks of our team. We have many configurations and switches. In the future, we want to deploy a solution where we can configure all our switches in one place. This is why we are looking to use Cisco ACI in the future.

    Pros and Cons

    • "We can implement customer requirements more quickly."
    • "In the new version of 4.0, the management groups for updating the software is not the best way to do it. It was better in 3.2."
    PS
    Network Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    A quick, easy way to configure scripts while reducing human error

    What is our primary use case?

    The main purpose is to be a new data center in our company.

    Pros and Cons

    • "Because of its automation feature, when you configure scripts for Cisco ACI, it reduces human error."
    • "Since it is a new technology, Cisco moved all the menus. This made it tricky to use."

    What other advice do I have?

    This is another way to configure your network solution. Be open-minded about it.
    MD
    Network Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    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.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It has made it much easier to deploy and make changes in the data center versus the previous infrastructure, which was NX-OS based."
    • "We had issues in the first deployment when we tried to finish the migration from traditional networking to Cisco ACI."

    What other advice do I have?

    Ensure you have the right qualifications to deploy and operate this solution, especially in the programming area.
    AJ
    Network Engineer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    It has saved me a couple of times, as just a backup feature, but the product is still not mature

    What is our primary use case?

    Our main use case is for building data center stuff, putting in equipment and provisioning it.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It has saved me a couple of times, as just a backup feature. It can easily do a snapshot before you do any change, and if something goes wrong, you can just rollback."
    • "It is still not mature and has room to grow. As with any product out there, it requires time to develop."

    What other advice do I have?

    It depends on your vision and what you want to achieve, I would recommend going for Cisco ACI. Just make sure you have time to learn and get used to the new terminology. We are pretty satisfied with what we have.
    George Ribarski
    Information Security Architect at Progress Software Corporation
    Real User
    It was easy to set up, because our plans for migration were very detailed

    What is our primary use case?

    The primary use case for Cisco ACI is to migrate a legacy data center, including the new infrastructure. The product has performed well.

    Pros and Cons

    • "Automation is its most valuable feature."
    • "The challenging thing about Cisco ACI was we had to put a lot of effort into providing the customer the full picture, new standards, and new technology that they had to use. This was more challenging than deploying the product."

    What other advice do I have?

    It is one of the better solutions in the market right now.
    Gael Ravot
    Network Engineer at Etta de Vaud
    Real User
    The solution makes it easier to configure changes into our data center, but the user interface needs to be made more user-friendly

    What is our primary use case?

    The primary use case is using the automation for deploying new applications in our data center.

    Pros and Cons

    • "The centralized configuration is its most valuable feature."
    • "The only drawback that we are seeing is the user interface is still a little complex and difficult to use. It needs a more user-friendly interface."

    What other advice do I have?

    Do not be afraid of the change that Cisco ACI requires. It takes some time to get used to it. However, in the end, it is worth it as the solution is simpler and more efficient.
    Daniele Leonardo De Fancesco
    Network and Security Engineer at Lutech Group
    Real User
    It has the fastest automation. You can move and deploy services in just a couple of minutes.

    What is our primary use case?

    We are an integrator, so we work with the finance, health, and public sectors. We use it to automate the data center infrastructure of our customers.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It has the fastest automation. You can move and deploy services in just a couple of minutes."
    • "I would like to see the data center unification of Cisco ACI with Cisco DNA into a single platform to deliver the data center and campus sides."

    What other advice do I have?

    Immediately buy Cisco ACI. It will simplify your work in a way that you can't even imagine until you try it. The product does what it says it will. ACI is a robust, functional platform.
    PJ
    Network Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Real User
    We have been able to deploy new applications more efficiently and faster

    What is our primary use case?

    We are putting ACI into replace the customer's legacy networks, so it's a migration project.

    Pros and Cons

    • "We can support policy based on our intent, then that gets rendered into the policy that we will be using for Fabric."
    • "It is more about resolving bugs early on in the code. Otherwise, as the product gets more mature and those bugs get discovered sometimes by the customer, then Cisco will resolve them."
    Anders Westermann
    Network Specialist at a comms service provider
    Real User
    The product works very well with our virtual environment

    What is our primary use case?

    Primary use case is data center software-defined networking. We didn't have this before, so are just moving onto these new products to try to be more efficient with better performance.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It is more scalable than our previous products."
    • "The product works very well with our virtual environment."
    • "Because this is new technology, which requires a different way of thinking, it can be hard to understand. Therefore, I would like more documentation or education."

    What other advice do I have?

    Receive education on the new product before you buy it, since it is pretty complex. It is not like the previous products. It has a different way of thinking. However, software-defined networking has a bright future, and it is a good idea to get onboard with it.
    Marcin Dobrzynski
    ICT Expert at Orange Polska
    Real User
    It is very stable. It works 100 percent of the time.

    What is our primary use case?

    We use this product in our services. At this moment, it performs very well.

    What is most valuable?

    It is popular. It is simple. It works 100 percent of the time.

    What needs improvement?

    We would like to have faster services and problem monitoring for our customers.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is very stable. It works 100 percent of the time. We don't have any problems at the moment.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is good. At the moment, we are using about 18 percent of the solution. In a few months, when we grow, we should be using more performance of the solution.

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

    This depends on our customers and their change…
    PM
    Network Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    The security component is its most valuable feature

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it in our data center.

    What is most valuable?

    The security component is its most valuable feature.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see more integration with other Cisco products.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is a very stable product.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I deployed it in a small environment (a lab), so I cannot comment on scalability.

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

    Going from legacy data center stuff to Cisco ACI, I saw the value it could offer the company that I was working with.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was a bit complex. ACI was just out at that time, and there wasn't support at that time. This was the first…
    DR
    Network Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    It can be used with different workloads and systems, making it a very flexible product

    What is our primary use case?

    Our primary use case is for automating our data center. We are moving from a classic legacy data center to new data center, with Cisco UCS. The first implementation will have multiple implementations, then we will move ahead with a Multi-site implementation next year.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It improves security and automation."
    • "If I lose the connection from one side to the core, I can't use the other side to go to the core. I hope in the future, this will be fixed."

    What other advice do I have?

    Pay attention to the implementation and interconnections between the data centers with this product.
    Stephane Deroch
    Network Architect at Air France
    Real User
    It is easy to add more automation processes, as it is very scalable

    What is our primary use case?

    Our use case is to change our network architecture and install new free data centres for our company.

    Pros and Cons

    • "I have found the SDN features to be the most valuable."
    • "The product needs to be more visible on the Internet and have the ability to be integrated into more software developments."

    What other advice do I have?

    It is a very good solution to improve architecture. Read the literature.
    Federico Nicolelli
    Network and Security Manager at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    It has reduced our day-to-day operations by at least half

    What is our primary use case?

    Our primary use case is Multi-site architecture. We run three data centers with Cisco ACI Multi-site, so the interconnections of these three sites are made with ACI.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It has reduced our day-to-day operations by at least half."
    • "The user interface should be made easier."

    What other advice do I have?

    It is a great product. We have not encountered any problems so far. Cisco is very good to work with, and I am really happy with this product. I would advise to go with Cisco ACI.
    OB
    Platform Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    You can push scripts that you are writing now to set up connections in less than five to ten minutes

    What is our primary use case?

    We use Cisco ACI within our four data centers, and it has been deployed in all four. They are the backbone within our data centers.

    Pros and Cons

    • "With its programmability, you can do stuff to policies to make them more flexible, allowing you to connect devices in new ways."
    • "I would like them to simplify the way you configure the Fabric. The process is quite complex. This can be a barrier to entry. For anything, where it should take two or three steps, you have ten steps"

    What other advice do I have?

    It is a fantastic product, but train up first. In the first six months before you deploy, if you can get your hands on a demo and attend some classes or do some studies, get yourself to a place of being competent before you start.
    Tabbrez Balbbale
    Security Advisor at https://globalqart,com
    Real User
    Top 20
    The ACI fabric enables any service (physical or virtual) anywhere with no need for additional software or hardware gateways

    What is our primary use case?

    * Qatar Rail: network and data center infrastructure * Msheireb Downtown: smart city project including infrastructure for Big Data * Ministry of Interior: network design based on Qatar Rail's passive infrastructure.
    it_user302127
    Network Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    The controller automatically detects new additions and scales itself, but it needs a better connection between infrastructure and logic.

    What other advice do I have?

    Look to similar products depending on your budget. Remember, this is in the early stages, so it's still evolving. Be sure to get training for implementation and deployment.
    it_user234747
    Practice Manager - Cloud, Automation & DevOps at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    It offers third party integration via OpFlex however, you can only use the Nexus 9000 series hardware for the ACI fabric.
    Originally posted at vcdx133.com. I recently completed the Cisco ACI Field Engineering course. This post describes the major building blocks of the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and how it all fits together. Cisco ACI is the next generation of Data Center flexible network fabrics, it replaces what you currently have with Nexus 2K, 5K and 7K (traditional Core, Distribution, Access or FabricPath architecture). Cisco’s previous TRILL-based leaf and spine technology is FabricPath, which has nothing to do with ACI (based upon VXLAN). The two are not compatible and unrelated, aside from supporting the Clos-type architecture. Cisco ACI is designed to provide a unified fabric for physical and virtual networking, moving away from the management of individual physical…
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