Cisco announced updates to its  Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI),™ the industry leading Software-Defined Networking (SDN) solution that makes 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.”

Cisco customers worldwide derive value from ACI:

Tiger Resorts, Okada Manila

Okada Manila, the new luxury resort by Tiger Resorts, relies on its IT Infrastructure to run the critical applications that deliver a world-class experience for its customers, including hotel booking and phone systems, casino gaming applications, retail applications, and administrative applications. The IT team selected best-in-breed technology for the new resort, including an integrated solution combining Cisco ACI with Citrix NetScaler.

“Cisco ACI gave us a network backbone with agility to deploy services for applications, load balancing, and network configurations in a very easy, almost one-click process, while Citrix NetScaler provides load balancing, application security and acceleration services. The integrated solution improves the scalability and management of applications and systems through just-in-time resource allocation and is saving us a tremendous amount of labor and time as we get the resort up and running.”

– Dries Scott, senior vice president of information technology, Okada Manila

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, a multinational banking group and the second largest bank in Spain, provides financial solutions to 70 million customers globally.

“We have deployed both Red Hat Virtualization and Cisco ACI, and the upcoming integration between their solutions will enable us to bring the benefits of network virtualization and simplified operations to our virtual farms, just as we’ve implemented for our OpenStack IaaS.”

– Raul Tomas, Architecture and Global Deployment, BBVA

Hutchinson Networks

Hutchinson Networks, a leading IT solutions provider of high-end automated cloud solutions and network services, helps its customers manage today’s complex data center environments.

“Cisco ACI underpins Fabrix, our public cloud platform – providing a fast, resilient and automated software defined network. We are benefiting from Cisco’s continuous investment in ACI and we are already exploring new service offerings that will be enabled by Cisco ACI 3.0 features and multi-site designs in particular.”

– Stephen Hampton, CTO, Hutchinson Networks

World Wide Technology

WWT is an award-winning technology integrator and supply chain solutions provider, bringing collaborative, innovative and proven approaches to evaluate, architect and implement solutions.

“Multiple cloud environments, hosted facilities, mergers and acquisitions make IT environments more complex every day, and we see ACI as a solution that is helping to simplify that complexity,” said John Duren, Practice Manager, Data Center Switching and Application Delivery, World Wide Technologies. “As an early field trial customer that has tested ACI 3.0 and the new multi-site features, we see Cisco delivering on its promise of ‘ACI Anywhere,’ simplifying the interface and providing consistency from a security and policy standpoint.”