Cisco: ACI Initiative Is More Than SDN

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2013-11-08

NEW YORK—Cisco Systems officials in June teased their vision of an Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI), but it wasn't until the high-profile launch Nov. 6 here that the industry got a good look at what that vision will be. Initially, it will include a new line of switches—the Nexus 9000 family—and the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), which will help unify the physical and virtual infrastructures and give organizations a single, central place for not only their networks but also other parts of the data center. Much of the new technology came from Insieme, the company that Cisco created more than a year ago with $100 million. Cisco said at the ACI event here that it was buying Insieme for about $863 million and bringing it back into the fold. Insieme and ACI were seen by many in the industry as Cisco's answer to the burgeoning software-defined network (SDN) trend, but CEO John Chambers said it was much more than that, arguing that SDN increases complexity, lacks size, raises security issues and is less reliable, among other issues. ACI—in which the network will respond to the needs of the applications—will be significantly more scalable, reliable, efficient and secure, Chambers said.


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