New Data Center Innovations

By: Tuan Nguyen | 5 Min Read | Technical Level: Intermediate

Downloadable PDF: New Data Center Innovations


Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Anywhere

Cisco ACI, the industry-leading software-defined networking solution, facilitates application agility and data center automation. With ACI Anywhere, it enables scalable multi-cloud networks with a consistent policy model and gains the flexibility to move applications seamlessly to any location or any cloud while maintaining security and high availability.

To keep up with the massive influx of data and increased demands on the network, networking professionals must learn to broker, connect, build, and govern not only in the data center but across a vast multi-cloud landscape. Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure Anywhere (ACI Anywhere) is a major step forward in managing complexity, maximizing business benefits, and deploying workloads in any location and on any cloud.


Turn complexity into flexibility. Make the network less complex, more cost-effective, and more available.


Key Data Center Terms

Agility – Applications are the lifeblood of modern business. They need to be deployed quickly on the network, transferred seamlessly to any environment, and scaled rapidly without compromising availability or security.

Availability – Businesses are dependent on applications and data, so it is critical that the network connecting them stays up and running—and it needs to play a more proactive role in overcoming disruptions anywhere along the chain.

Security – In the expanding multi-cloud data center, the network plays one of the most vital roles in protecting a business’s reputation and assets. Securing the data center and its applications requires a holistic strategy where security is pervasive.

Multi-cloud – Many businesses are looking to multi-cloud to meet their ever-growing infrastructure needs. But this leaves them with a new challenge: their on-premise infrastructure must coexist peacefully with public clouds while still meeting required security policy, connectivity, and performance levels.

Return on Investment (ROI) – Cost remains one of the chief limitations for engineers looking to implement a premier solution, and a strong potential for return on investment remains one of the biggest drivers for business decision-makers.

You need to scale multi-cloud networks with operational simplicity and a consistent policy model—in any app, any location, any cloud. Cisco ACI Anywhere helps network engineers by extending the capabilities of the innovative ACI solution to any location: small and large, on-premises and remote, private and public cloud, satellite data centers, and 5G-enabled telecom edges.


Key Benefits of Cisco ACI Anywhere

  • Automation of IT workflows and application deployment agility
  • Open APIs and a programmable SDN fabric, with 65-plus ecosystem partners
  • Security through whitelisting, policy enforcement, micro-segmentation, and analytics
  • Workload mobility at scale

Cisco ACI offers to optimize your network with automation through common policy for Data Center operations, protect your business with business continuity and disaster recovery with pervasive security, accelerate multi-cloud with seamless connectivity to any workload, anywhere, from on-premises to cloud.


Cisco ACI Solution Components

Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) – APIC provides single-click access to all Cisco ACI fabric information, helping to enable network automation, programmability, and centralized management.

Cisco Cloud ACI – Translate ACI policies to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure cloud native constructs to create a single, consistent policy across multiple on-premises and public cloud instances.

Cisco Virtual ACI – Extend on-premises ACI networks into remote locations, bare-metal clouds, co-location providers and brownfield environments without the need for any hardware.

Cisco Nexus 9000 Series – High-performance, low-latency, and power-efficient switches operate in Cisco NX-OS software mode or in Cisco ACI mode.

Cisco ACI Multisite Orchestrator – Build globally scalable and highly available data center networks with seamless application mobility.

Cisco ACI APP Center – Find apps you love, collaborate with developers, publish and monetize your own apps using Cisco APIC.


Cisco ACI Anywhere delivers the full package: scalability, application agility, security, and automation.


Use Cases

Need to create consistent policy across on-premises and public cloud instances. With Cisco Cloud ACI:

  • Translates ACI policies into cloud-native constructs through public cloud APIs to create a single, consistent policy abstraction across multiple on-premises and public cloud instances in
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
  • Supports policy-driven connectivity and simplifies routing between on-premises data centers and public clouds. Ensures consistency of network security policies, ultimately helping with compliance demands.
  • Includes features like cloud provisioning, the discovery of instances and services, application segmentation, Layer 4 to Layer 7 service stitching, fault management, visibility and monitoring, statistics, role-based access control (RBAC), and authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA).

Looking to extend on-premises Cisco ACI networks into remote bare-metal clouds.  With Cisco Virtual ACI:

  • Allows engineers to extend their on-premises ACI networks into remote locations, bare-metal clouds, colocation providers, and brownfield environments.
  • Reduces network provisioning for a dramatic increase in agility.
  • Is available as a software-only version of Cisco ACI, without the need for additional hardware.

Ready to push policy to multiple data centers across the globe. With Cisco ACI Multi-Site Orchestrator (MSO):

  • Expands functions to the cloud sites and automates the creation of overlay connectivity between all sites (on-premises and in the public cloud).
  • Continues to be the central orchestrator of intersite policies, not only publishing policies to on-premises ACI data-center sites but also pushing the same policies to multiple public cloud sites.
  • Supports 12 sites and 1,200 leafs through advanced scale and encryption capabilities, allowing you to push policy to multiple data centers and public clouds across the globe in one step.

Need extended connectivity in remote locations. With Cisco ACI Remote Leaf:

  • Addresses the need to extend connectivity and consistent policies to remote locations where it is not possible or desirable to deploy a full Cisco ACI Pod.
  • Extends the ACI policy model outside the main data center to remote sites like satellites, colocations, and distributed data centers.
  • Provides unique value with centralized policy management, a control plane for remote locations, and small-form-factor solutions.

Looking to push your Cisco ACI capabilities even further. With Cisco ACI integrations:

  • Cisco AppDynamics: Correlate application health and network constructs for optimal application performance, deeper monitoring, and faster root-cause analysis.
  • Cisco SD-WAN: Orchestrate across the data center, campus and branch, and public cloud to reduce operational complexity and increase end-to-end security.
  • Cisco DNA Center/Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE): Understand and map user identities consistently to endpoints and applications throughout the entire network—from the campus to the data center.


View our Data Center courses.

About the Author

Data Center

Tuan Nguyen, SLI instructor, and CCIE, has over 20 years of experience as a consultant, systems engineer, and Certified Cisco Systems Instructor. He specializes in Cisco routers and Cisco Internetworking Operating Systems (IOS). Mr. Nguyen also has extensive knowledge in all aspects of Local Area Network (LAN), and Wide Area Network (WAN) technologies, including design, implementation, and support of Cisco IP Unified Communication, IP Multicasting, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), Frame Relay, Routing and Switching, Cisco Internetwork Service Provider (ISP), and Cisco Security. He is proficient in interconnectivity, data communications, network and analyzing, baselining and troubleshooting, router configuration, Multi-Protocol routing, protocol analysis, security, and firewall configuration.


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