Cisco has announced updates to its Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI™), a software-defined networking (SDN) solution deigned to make it easier for customers to adopt and advance intent-based networking for their data centers. With the latest software release (ACI 3.0), more than 4,000 ACI customers can increase business agility with network automation, simplified management, and improved security for any combination of workloads in containers, virtual machines and bare metal for private clouds, and on-premise data centers.
The transitions occurring in the data center are substantial. Enterprises experience an unrelenting need to accelerate speed, flexibility, security and scale across increasingly complex data centers and multi-cloud environments.
“As our customers shift to multi-cloud strategies, they are seeking ways to simplify the management and scalability of their environments,” said Ish Limkakeng, senior vice president for data center networking at Cisco. “By automating basic IT operations with a central policy across multiple data centers and geographies, ACI’s new multi-site management capability helps network operators more easily move and manage workloads with a single pane of glass — a significant step in delivering on Cisco’s vision for enabling ACI Anywhere.”
The new ACI 3.0 software release is now available. New features include:
Multi-site Management: Customers can seamlessly connect and manage multiple ACI fabrics that are geographically distributed to improve availability by isolating fault domains, and provide a global view of network policy through a single management portal. This greatly simplifies disaster recovery and the ability to scale out applications.
Kubernetes Integration: Customers can deploy their workloads as micro-services in containers, define ACI network policy for these through Kubernetes, and get unified networking constructs for containers, virtual machines, and bare-metal. This brings the same level of deep integration to containers ACI has had with numerous hypervisors.
Improved Operational Flexibility and Visibility: The new Next Gen ACI User Interface improves usability with new consistent layouts and simplified topology views, and troubleshooting wizards. In addition, ACI now includes graceful insertion and removal, support for mixed operating systems and quota management, and latency measurements across fabric end points for troubleshooting.
Security: ACI 3.0 delivers new capabilities to protect networks by mitigating attacks such as IP/MAC spoofing with First Hop Security integration, automatically authenticating workloads in-band and placing them in trusted security groups, and support for granular policy enforcement for end points within the same security group.
“With ‘ACI Anywhere,’ Cisco is delivering a scalable solution that will help position customers for success in multi-cloud and multi-site environments,” said Dan Conde, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group. “ACI’s new integration with container cluster managers and its enhancements to zero trust security make this a modern offering for the market, whether you are a large Service Provider, Enterprise, or a commercial customer.”