ACI Field Engineer Essentials (ACI FEE)

Course Overview

This three-day ILT course is designed to take Field Engineers with no ACI experience and prepare them to build a basic ACI fabric. Students will learn what they need to know to take Cisco switches from the loading dock and bring up an operational, functional, ACI fabric. 

Specific topics addressed in this course are ACI configuration and basic operations, including rack-and-stack initial installation, application profile configuration, VMware hypervisor integration and external connectivity. There are labs for each step of the course, with a final Challenge Lab for comprehensive review.

The curriculum is delivered as Just-In-Time learning, designed to provide Engineers just what they need to know, just when they need to know it. Students are not given training that they are not able to apply immediately. With this production-focused training, the student will be ready for the technical requirements of today. With the included library of curated references, the student is also poised to meet the requirements of the future.
The course provides insight from subject matter experts and over 100 production installations. These subject matter experts have insight because they’ve been in the students’ shoes.
 

Target Audience

This course is for Systems and Field Engineers who need to quickly learn how to implement a basic ACI fabric. This can be customer engineers who support a production fabric, Partner engineers who need to build a proof-of-concept fabric, or any engineer who needs hands-on, production-focused ACI training.

Prerequisites

To fully benefit from this course,students should have the following prerequisite skills and knowledge:
  • Cisco Nexus and Data Center Layer 2/3 Concepts
  • Basic Cisco UCS B Series Networking
  • Basic VMware administration and networking
  • Basic Linux System administration

Course Objectives

After completion of this course, students will be able to...

  • Understand ACI architecture and concepts needed to get a small ACI fabric into production
  • Describe the hardware that makes up ACI
  • Install and bring up an ACI Fabric 
  • Configure foundational Access Policies
  • Configure Application Profiles
  • Integrate VMware and ACI
  • Configure Layer 2 and 3 outside connectivity to the ACI Fabric
  • Quickly find information on more advanced or detailed ACI features
  • Formulate any next steps in their ACI training needs to support their company’s business goals

Course Outline

Module 1: ACI Overview

  • SDN/Overlay Networking Primer
  • Cisco ACI Overview and Terminology
  • Logical Model Overview
  • Concrete Model Overview
Module 2: ACI Fabric Switches
  • Nexus 9000 Overview 
  • Nexus 9000 Models
  • Hardware Installation
Module 3: APIC Overview
  • APIC Introduction 
  • APIC Overview
  • APIC Installation
  • APIC GUI
Lab 1a: ACI Fabric Discovery

Module 4: Initial Fabric Configuration 
  • ACI Initial Configuration Overview 
  • OOB Configuration
  • Network Time Protocol
  • Access Policies
  • External-facing Interface Configuration 
  • ACI Pools
  • ACI Domains
  • Attachable Access Entity Profile (AAEP) 
  • VPC Configuration in ACI Fabric
  • Simplified Interface & Policy Configuration 
  • Troubleshooting Access Policy

Lab 1b: Fabric Policy Configuration
Lab 2: Configuring ACI Policies and Pools


Module 5: ACI Connectivity Policies
  • ACI Logical Model 
  • Tenant
  • VRF
  • Bridge Domain
  • Subnet
  • End Points Groups (EPG)
  • Microsegmentation
  • Application Profiles (AP) and Contracts 
  • ACI Quality of Service
  • Application Profile Configuration
Lab 3: Configuring ACI Forwarding Constructs

Module 6: Application Modeling and Deployment
  • Designing an AP 
  • Lab: AP
  • RESTful API Review
  • Lab: Using Postman
  • Learning Network Programmability 
  • ACI Toolkit
Lab 4: Configuring Application Profiles via GUI
Lab 5: Configuring Application Profiles via Python/Postman

Module 7: Hypervisor Integration
  • ACI Hypervisor Integration Overview
  • ACI Hypervisor Integration with VMware
  • Integration with VMware VDS
  • ACI VMware Configuration
Lab 6: Configuring VMM Integration with VMware DVS

Module 8: Connecting to Existing L2 Infrastructure
  • L2 Extension Overview 
  • Option A: Extend EPG 
  • Option B: Extend BD
  • Design Considerations
Lab 7: Configuring External Layer 2 Connection

Module 9: Connecting to Existing L3 Infrastructure
  • L3 Integration Overview
  • L3 Integration & Configuration 
  • Shared L3Out
  • Multi-Site ACI
Lab 8: Configuring External Layer 3 Connection

Module 10: Operating ACI
  • APIC Management Access 
  • Naming Conventions
  • Operations Tools
  • Firmware Upgrades
  • Backing Up
Lab 9: Configuration Export
Lab 10: Deconstruction Lab

Lab 11: Challenge Lab