If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering Cisco ACI, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
On a scale from 1 to 10, I would rate Cisco ACI an eight. The reason is that troubleshooting has been a concern. When there is a problem, the downtime increases. Cisco ACI is a good product. If you're looking for automation, you should go for it.
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 mitigated but that also requires effort. The analytics are pretty good. The built-in dashboard essentially provides analytics out of the box. There are other plug-ins that you can use to make the solution work better for you as a company. You have the option of developing other tools and utilities to use with it because it's an API. When you are first building the system, it takes longer because you have to build all the objects that you expect to reuse. But because you're building reusable objects it makes adding other functionality easier because of the simple fact that you've already built those reusable objects. When you're doing new things it gets easier. I think one thing that most people do is avoid reading manuals for anything. Read, read, read and consider doing research. Not all the information you find will be good, but you will discover things you don't know.
This is a solution that I would recommend. I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.
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.
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 him to train all the rest of our staff. But it's a slow process. Understanding how to get in under the hood and make ACI work is not a simple task unless you're in and out of it regularly. Even the gentleman who installed it and works on it most of the time has to go back and play with it on his own before he makes changes. Just to remember how things are done is difficult because it's got a lot of uniqueness to it in the way things are deployed. Anyone using Cisco ACI should know what their direction is. How much money do they have to spend? Then I could sit down with them and tell them whether ACI would the best solution or not for what they are doing. I don't think ACI is for everyone. It's for larger data centers that are going down this path of SD access. I am sure there are competitors out there now. We're just not looking into them because we already have ACI deployed. That where we're at now.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate this product at an 8 to leave a little bit of room for improvement. I would advise someone considering this solution to do your homework. If you are trying to consolidate your data center, Cisco ACI is probably the best product out there.
On a scale of one to 10, I would rate this product at an eight based on everybody else's experiences. It's pretty good. I don't have a full review. More how-to videos and instructional information is required. We need to simplify it.
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.
We are still in the pre-deployment stage of this solution. The only complaint that I have so far is in regards to technical support. I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
Cisco is there for the long haul. It's been built by network people who understand the resiliency needs for network infrastructure. It's been reliable for us, as well as scalable. It can do our one-gig, ten-gig, forty-gig, hundred-gig, it can do it all, no matter if it's legacy or new. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
My advice to anybody implementing this solution is to jump in with both feet! This biggest thing that I learned when using this solution is T-Panel. I would rate this solution a six out of ten.
Things are moving towards the ACI model, so it is good to try out this next generation solution. I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
My advice to anybody researching this solution is that you have to test it. You can't take the stats on paper. Rather, you have to actually do the R&D to see it in a real environment. I think a lot of people make the mistake of looking at the features on paper, without actually testing the full functionality. This is a really strong product. It has been complex, but most of their recent advancements have been in simplification. I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
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 has been working with traditional Cisco IOS this is not bad at all. This is a complete rewrite of everything that you ever thought of from the networking standpoint. The advice I would give to someone considering this solution is that you have to look at your data center. You have to look at your infrastructure. Not only that but you also have to look at the operational and support teams that are going to support this thing because if you have people that are familiar with the traditional way of the doing Cisco and have never touched ACI, then you're going to have a huge learning curve for your operational team to ramp them up and get them educated. That's definitely a factor.
In rating the product, I'd give it an eight out of ten. It is a pretty stable product and gives us really good central management structure. It was challenging at first, but getting easier now that we're starting to get into it.
Not many people up in the northeast are familiar with Cisco ACI. It's kind of new and scary, so a lot of people are a little wary of it. Now that I've worked on it for a while, I find it very powerful. Getting direct access into the virtual switches is a huge advantage. I'm not the kind of person who rates nines and tens under many circumstances. So I rate this solution an eight out of ten. My advice to others would be to take a good long look at it. It's great for segmenting your network and doing a little micro-segmentation in your data center. If you're familiar with the Nexus OS and the Nexus hardware platform, you will find that this is the same hardware platform as you would use in a Nexus OS deployment. Also, make sure you get a lot of training as part of your deployment. That would probably be my biggest piece of advice. Make sure that you get educated on how it works and why it was designed the way it was, or what the best practice design is if you're designing it on your own.
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.
On a scale from 1-10, I would rate this product an eight. It's not 100% accurate yet.
On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Cisco ACI at eight. If you purchase Cisco ACI, make sure you understand exactly how you're going to put it in because it's not going to be easy to work with.
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 configure, and a central configuration, but there are too many knobs to turn. We were originally going to use ACI for everything. However, after we really started looking at the design and having conversations with our Cisco advanced services team, we saw that it made sense to use a hybrid solution. My advice for anybody interested in implementing this solution is to have a good look at your data center, your architecture, and importantly your operational and support team. If you have people who are familiar with the traditional way of doing Cisco, and have never touched ACI before, then there is a steep learning curve ahead. The operational team will have to ramp up and be educated. That was definitely a factor for us. We have a third party operational team, and we had to challenge them. We asked if it was something that they could do, and they needed to prove it to us, first. This was done before we even went into the solution. The number one thing is that you have to be able to support it. If you have only two people installing it, then you're not going to be able to run support 24/7 for when something breaks at three in the morning. This is a good solution, but I would really like to see the network-centric philosophy of configuration to be a little bit easier. The learning curve is steep. But, being somebody who has been traditional Cisco, iOS, and command line, I can say that this is completely different. It is a complete re-write of everything that you've ever thought of from a networking standpoint. It can simplify your life if you do it right. I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
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. You need to check if it's a 24-hour approach where you need two or three guys to have a rotation for shifts. Currently, we don't have shifts, and I'm the only one who is managing the ACI, but we have an on-call rotation. Sometimes I'm getting called, sometimes my colleagues are getting called and they are relaying the information to me. But as I built the fabric here, I set it up so that I don't need to come in urgently. Everything is redundant, everything is connected on a dual-switch basis. If one switch fails or there's a configuration issue, there will not be downtime. We have about 3,000 end users. It's our core. All the applications are hosted there. I would rate the solution at nine out of ten. I have very good experience with ACI. My major platform and my focus is on security and data centers. I'm pretty good with data center technology as it is one of my major points of focus. I have experience with different products, mostly Cisco security products, but I have had a good experience with ACI.
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.
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 ACI for that. As a Cisco partner, our company does training and implementations on Cisco's behalf for different customers. Sometimes Cisco needs some advanced services to help the customer to do the implementation. Sometimes the customer has a problem with the ACI service. It's a new technology so some customers are really confused with the new terms and the new deployment style of ACI. They cannot compare it with their legacy solution, and when they start comparing it they get confused. We help with how the migration should be done from the legacy to ACI. I would rate Cisco ACI at seven out of ten. The good thing about ACI is its integration with the different hypervisors. It supports VMware, Hyper-V, and KVM. When a customer is looking into a heterogeneous environment where ACI is involved and the other part is VMware for their NSX SDN, VMware has now come up with its own heterogeneous system, NSX-V. They realized very late that they had a problem, that they could only integrate with the VMware environment. Where Cisco ACI had an edge over them was that they could integrate with the virtual environment of Hyper-V, VMware, and KVM very well. And ACI automation also helps deploy and do the integration very easily in the virtual compute part of the network. Also with ACI, the performance of switches is really good - it's actually a hardware-based SDN - and the delays are very small. The performance is really good with ACI. But ACI has its own shortcomings such as not having very strong native support for security. Customers always have to look into third-party security solutions to implement good security within their software-defined data centers. If you compare it with NSX, NSX comes with the Distributed Firewall and the Edge Firewall. It has its own native security. This is where ACI lacks a lot because you have to implement contracts and filters. It's a very tricky part. You have to be very careful when implementing the contracts. If you make a little mistake, it can cause a good amount troubleshooting time to debug the issue. That's the missing part.
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 people who use it are the ones accessing their data center. There are around 200 to 300 people, across the entire organization. Two people maintain it. In the past few years there hasn't been much increase in usage. The client has not told us of any plans for expanding their ACI infrastructure. I would rate ACI at seven out of ten. It adds a layer of complexity that you can really do without. I can't give it a ten when the traditional way of doing things still gets the job done, especially for people with experience with Cisco. It's much easier to configure stuff the traditional way using the CLI. For me, there's really not much of an advantage. The advantage is for people who are new to Cisco and the CLI environment. Then, going into ACI and having to configure it using the GUI is better. For me, it doesn't really give me that much of a benefit.
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 Cisco ACI. One has about eight to ten people for support, and the other location has seven to eight people. All are network support staff. Once an implementation is done, it's regular day-to-day operations. If anything new comes up, new VLANs, we'll handle it. There are things in our pipeline where we are planning to have ACI deployed in our remaining data centers.
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.
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 too frustrated about trying to do certain things because it needs time and you need to learn the GUI and what it does in the background. Take the time and ask the community or ask a Cisco employee to help you integrate and then with time it will get better.
I would rate this solution a nine out of ten. If your objective is to deploy infrastructure quickly and in a fast manner this is the best solution.
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.
I would recommend Cisco ACI.
Go for this solution.
I would tell someone considering this solution to talk to an account manager from Cisco and some technical people. Then, go to a Cisco conference and discuss the product with people, e.g., ask them how they did the implementation.
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.
Talk with Cisco partners and Cisco. When we needed to find a solution, they helped us to create the network.
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.
It is an outstanding product.
Leverage the multi-tenant functionalities. We have been quite satisfied with the implementation.
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.
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.
I would rate this solution a five out of ten. Not a ten because I don't have good training for this solution. I am now implementing Cisco ACI in the company. It's not 100% on the network. It's on 25% approx, more or less.
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.
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.
It is one of the better solutions in the market right now.
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.
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.
Ensure you have the right qualifications to deploy and operate this solution, especially in the programming area.
This is another way to configure your network solution. Be open-minded about it.
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.
It is a very good solution to improve architecture. Read the literature.
Just go for Cisco ACI.
Get more support from Cisco, as far as the product's concerned. Training is a must.
Cisco ACI is a good solution, but Cisco needs to test all the networks before doing a migration.
I would recommend Cisco ACI. This solution is the best.
Pay attention to the implementation and interconnections between the data centers with this product.
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.
Start now with this technology.
You need a lab to start the test phase before going to production.
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.
Cisco ACI is a good solution, so I would recommend it.