Ronny Lam


Cisco ACI or Insieme Presentation

Today I attended a presentation of Cisco OnePK and ACI at Cisco Netherlands. The first is already widespread known which was lucky because the presentation was lacking the technical detail I was looking for. Most part of the day was spent on Cisco ACI which was very interesting and besides some little doubts I was very much impressed.

You can read a very good review from John Herbert or read the detail and watch the video on the Cisco site.

In my view Cisco is getting on par or even a little beyond Arista with this launch. Performance looks great in the slideware and link resiliency is very fast. One of the interesting things was the introduction of 40GB optics that can use the Multi-Mode fiber which you are using for your current 10GB links. Pricing is no more than 10% more expensive.

The ACI infrastructure can connect anything to anything, whether it is VXLAN to VLAN or subnet to subnet. The ACI is stripping everything of and is connecting applications based on policies. This is potentially very cool.

Cisco ACI

ACI is based on a leaf-spine fully meshed fabric which is fixed in architecture, but with a variable box-count, in total called a fabric. 1, 3 up till 31 controllers, called APIC, are connected to one or more leafs and are being used to store policies and distribute those to the devices. The bad thing is that this is per fabric en thus if you have multiple datacenters you have different fabrics with different controllers. Moving compute power within a datacenter is no problem, but when moving it to a different datacenter you run into the same problems as today.

Again, I am impressed what Insieme as a spin-in from Cisco delivered and I am looking forward how Cisco will position it and how the market will use it. Because in the end, this is not your day-to-day solution.