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Cisco Enhances ACI: Better, Faster, Wherever Your Data Lives

In the five years since ACI was originally released, Cisco has developed an extensive list of enhancements to address changing business drivers and use cases.

At Cisco Live in Barcelona, we saw how Cisco continues to fulfill the ACI Anywhere vision.

Changing traffic patterns are forcing both customers and vendors to take a fresh look at the way products are designed and deployed. ACI Anywhere is a great example of Cisco’s evolution of their flagship data center product to address these changes.

Due to the impact of cloud offerings, the traditional data center is no longer the primary destination for corporate traffic, and the corporate network is no longer the primary source of business traffic.

New applications are being deployed at unprecedented rates, in distributed locations, even globally, and they need to talk to each other and share data. Enterprises need the power to move and change quickly and easily while maintaining perfect control.

When done right, this translates into increased performance and faster response, delivering a true competitive edge. These changes create new challenges for the data center network. How do you maintain pace with the deployment of new applications, and how do you assure consistency at that pace, especially at a time when IT is resource constrained?

The vision of ACI Anywhere is to create benefits that empower IT to deliver to the business at an accelerating pace. While ACI has delivered consistency, security, operational and automation benefits to the traditional data center, the new extension allow those same ACI benefits to follow the application and extend the bounds of your data center to the new locations where your applications are hosted. The reality is that data centers cannot exist merely as a fixed location. Today, the data center needs to be where the data is.

What does ACI Anywhere actually do for you?

ACI Anywhere is helping drive operational consistency regardless of where applications or data reside in these ways:

  • Cisco ACI Multi-site Orchestrator enables customers to deploy ACI fabrics at scale across multiple geographies, to meet their business continuity and disaster recovery requirements, and provides a single pane of glass to configure policies, enable connectivity, provide visibility and troubleshooting capabilities with simplicity.
  • Cisco ACI Remote Leaf allows you to extend an ACI environment into locations where you need only a small footprint and where a full ACI fabric would be overkill from a space, cost or scale perspective.
  • Cisco ACI Virtual extends the granular capabilities of ACI into domains such as (i) baremetal clouds (ii) legacy infrastructure where customers want to leverage existing investments and yet enable ACI without having to insert Nexus 9K footprint, or enable migration from legacy to ACI (iii) large-scale virtual environments for scale and policy enforcement including blade-systems etc.
  • Cisco ACI Cloud dramatically simplifies connectivity across multiple clouds, and provides a consistent policy abstraction that is cloud agnostic to allow customers to leverage the native networking constructs of public cloud vendors and extend ACI policy and segmentation functions into public cloud.

The increased availability of locations (e.g. public clouds, hybrid clouds, carrier neutral facilities) for customers to host workloads is leading WWT to adapt our solution offerings. In the past, WWT has showcased demonstrations and lab services primarily in the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in St. Louis.

The ATC represents a $500 million investment in people and technology to allow customers to experience solutions. These new announcements, and the technology behind them, enable WWT to shift our strategy from focusing solely on the ATC (a private data center) to a multicloud architecture that uses a private data center (the ATC), public clouds, carrier neutral facilities, micro-service applications and cloud edge technologies.

This multicloud architecture will be used for customer demonstrations, proofs of concept and lab services to highlight the use of automation to achieve speed-to-market and compliance for solutions, regardless of their location. Cisco’s vision with ACI Anywhere is a key component of these increased capabilities.

Contact us for more information about how WWT can help you with your multicloud and data solution. Learn more about our multicloud architecture solutions or request a Cloud Networking Workshop to get started.

Thanks to Jon Duren for his contributions to this article.