What Is Cisco ACI?

Cisco released its Application Centric Infrastructure based on a spine-leaf architecture in 2014. It improves upon the existing SDN solutions, offering self-serve capabilities.

ACI supports virtual, physical, and container environments. Because of its application-centric environment, it can respond to dynamic demands. If you expand or reconfigure your network, it won’t affect your network devices.

However, what is Cisco ACI and how does it work? Learn more about this technology through our guide. Read on and expand your knowledge now.

What Is Cisco ACI?

Cisco ACI is a software-defined networking (SDN) solution with software and hardware integration. Its design is to have a single virtual switch for provisioning and configuration.

Cisco based the hardware on the Nexus 9000 series switches. It also created the Fabric OS, which runs on all systems in the ACI network.

Various switches can translate policies into infrastructure designs. It’s possible through the shared operating system. The data center network enables the networking switches to work as one.

End-users have access to a decorative control system. They can specify their desired result through it. The network devices then interpret and process it.

The Nexus 9000 switches communicate with the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) to create policies defining the network infrastructure. It controls the hardware connectivity. This way, the network devices can either be the spine or the leaf.

All points, like the servers, connect to the leaf. The spine switches connect the leaf switches in the backend. Meanwhile, the traffic goes from the leaf to the spine to the leaf.

Benefits of Cisco ACI

How does the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure differ from traditional SDN networks? How does it benefit you? Here are some ways it’s better.

Scalability and Flexibility

Cisco ACI relies heavily on automation to develop network infrastructure. It’s easy to make changes, allowing you to scale it as your requirements change.

It also allows for a flexible operational model, as you can use NX-OS commands, GUI, and other API calls to operate and manage ACI. You use code to implement all your network infrastructures.


Cisco ACI ensures industry compliance with certification. Its whitelist model enhances your network’s security with a zero-trust architecture. It won’t permit traffic between different endpoint groups until the ACI allows it.

With CloudGuard, it implements micro-segmentation with improved multi-tenant security. APIC gives access via RBAC and manages access privileges at the managed object level.

Efficient Operations

Cisco ACI reduces provisioning time and operational efforts. It does so with central control and automated processes. It offers a single point of provisioning, allowing you to use GUI, CLI, and Programmatic means.

Monitoring tools like SevOne SDN solutions make it easier and faster to operate your network.

Learn More About Cisco ACI Today

At its core, Cisco ACI solves many issues about traditional SDN. To learn how it benefits your organization, understand its mechanics better.

Get the opinion of your IT team as well. It ensures your findings aren’t biased toward your preferences.

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