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Network Assurance Engine (NAE) With ACI Simulator Lab

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Solution Overview

The NAE lab is comprised of 3 VMs running NAE 5.1 and forming a cluster in our vCloud environment. There is also an ACPIC vSimulator that we connect to the Network Assurance Engine. The NAE app is installed with errors in the offline analysis file, so we have some errors to view and troubleshoot. The NAE also has offline files with errors for analysis and troubleshooting.

NAE gives operators the confidence that their network is continuously operating consistently with their intent, even as it changes dynamically. 

With Cisco Network Assurance Engine, operators can: 

Predict the impact of changes: Proactively verify correct changes to drive increased change agility while significantly reducing the risk of human error–induced network failures. 

Verify network-wide behavior: Continuously analyze and verify the network's dynamic state against intent and policy to ensure connectivity and eliminate potential network outages and vulnerabilities before any business impact occurs. 

Assure network security policy and compliance: Assure network security policies and check for compliance against business rules to reduce security risk and achieve provable continuous compliance by policy and state. Cisco Network Assurance Engine achieves all of the above by reading the entire policy, every configuration, and the network-wide state, along with the operator intent, and building from these comprehensive and mathematically accurate models of network behavior. It then combines these models with Cisco's more than 30 years of operational domain knowledge of networking. The results are automatically generated smart events that instantly pinpoint any deviations from intended behavior and suggest expert-level remediation recommendations. By providing this continuous verification and validation of the entire data center network, Cisco Network Assurance Engine fundamentally transforms the operations paradigm from reactive to proactive.

Goals & Objectives

In the first section of the lab, Day 2 operations are discussed and a deep level discussion on Nexus dashboard and the installation of ND are gone through. In this lab, access is provided to a NAE cluster instance operating in the offline mode and online mode using the APIC 5.1 simulator with several pre-collected datasets. The datasets were collected from an ACI fabric on which some real-world network scenarios were reproduced and captured. Each scenario is a guided tour of the product for particular use cases, including change management, pre-change verification, tenant endpoints, tenant forwarding, tenant security and TCAM resources analysis. As you go through each section, you will get an instructional walkthrough of the products features and learn the purpose of each tool in NAE. By solving the real-world problems using NAE as a tool, users of this demonstration will learn about the capabilities of NAE and become familiar with its GUI.

Hardware & Software

The labs utilize components in the Cisco ACI product portfolio. The components used include:

  • ACI simulator running version 5.1 code release
  • NAE 5.1 VM cluster
  • Backend ESXi hosts, 6.7 v6enter and Storage to support the vAPIC