Cisco Expands ACI Initiative With New Nexus 9000 Switches
The vendor's ACI strategy is its answer to the growing SDN trend, and the Nexus 9000 lineup are key parts of the effort.Cisco Systems is expanding the infrastructure that supports its Application Centric Infrastructure initiative, rolling out additions to its portfolio of Nexus 9000 switches and unveiling a new Nexus 3000 switch aimed at highly scalable data center and big data center workloads. Cisco introduced its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) initiative in November 2013. The strategy is based on technology developed by its "spin-in" company Insieme, and is Cisco's answer to the burgeoning software-defined networking (SDN) movement, where proponents tout the use of commodity hardware, with the network intelligence and services housed in software. Instead, with ACI, Cisco officials are looking to unify both physical and virtual networks in a way that promotes the same flexibility and programmability promised in SDN, creating an infrastructure that is policy-based and that rapidly adapts to the changing workloads brought on by such trends as cloud computing, big data and mobility. Application performance is the key to ACI. In the ACI, the underlying physical hardware is just as important as the software, and the Nexus 9000 switch, combined with Cisco's Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC)—which helps provide policy-driven automation—are key building blocks for such environments as clouds, according to company officials.
That will be important, the company has said. Its Global Cloud Index report forecasts that almost two-thirds of all workloads by 2017 will be processed in the cloud, and more than two-thirds of all data center traffic will come from the cloud. Policy-based network automation, security and visibility will be important, officials have said.