Cisco Bridges the Cloud and Extends ACI to the Enterprise

ACI comes to campus and branch, while InterCloud router aims to enable a new era of hybrid cloud portability.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jan 28, 2014
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Cisco is expanding its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) efforts to embrace its popular Catalyst enterprise switching lineup and is also debuting a new approach to enabling cloud workload mobility.

ACI first came to light under the Insieme brand and was officially launched in November of 2013. The initial focus for ACI was on Cisco's Nexus data center portfolio. This week, that expands to the enterprise campus and branch portfolio too.

Jeff Reed, VP and GM of SDN at Cisco, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that ACI is now coming to Cisco's widely deployed Catalyst wired switching portfolio and wireless networking gear. The core product form Cisco for Enterprise ACI will be the new Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) Enterprise Module.

Reed sees the APIC enterprise module as helping to enable a more agile enterprise. That said, from a practical reality perspective, Reed noted that when it comes to the mechanics of controlling the enterprise network, VLANs, Access Control Lists (ACLs) and the other "tricks of the trade" that Cisco's current installed base already have will still be used.

Cisco InterCloud

Cisco today also introduced a new solution that aims to solve the challenges of both hybrid and disparate cloud computing deployments.

The challenge today is that if an organization has data in an Amazon cloud and other data in an OpenStack private or public cloud, getting the data from one location to the other isn't a painless experience.

The Cisco InterCloud solution promises to be a gateway technology of sorts that enables a seamless hybrid cloud made up of multiple public and private cloud deployments.

"We are using OpenStack-like REST APIs for the InterCloud APIs," Fabio Gori, senior director of marketing for cloud at Cisco, told Enterprise Networking Planet. "However, we are not using any OpenStack component in the product."

Goir was not clear on whether Cisco is directly using any component from the open-source Apache Deltacloud project. Deltacloud is an abstraction layer intended to enable management of multiple clouds. The effort was first started by Red Hat in 2009 and is now a component of the company's CloudForms cloud management solution. Cisco's InterCloud effort will work with CloudForms as well as other cloud management and orchestration solutions.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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