Cisco ready to ship ACI controller

APIC slated to ship later this week; new switches, bundles here too.

Cisco this week announced it will soon ship its Application Centric Infrastructure controller and rolled out other extensions across its data center portfolio.

Cisco’s Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) will ship this week as an appliance based on Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) x86-based server. Cisco is considering offering it on other non-Cisco x86 platforms as well, says Thomas Scheibe, director of product management for Cisco’s Insieme business unit.

Scheibe says Cisco chose to offer APIC only on UCS at first due to obvious reasons, including convenience.

“We wanted to make sure it was a good experience out of the box,” he says.

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APIC comes in two variations, sized by the number of supported endpoints: APIC-M1 and APIC-CLUSTER-M1 for less than 1,000 10G leaf ports; and APIC-L1, APIC-CLUSTER-L1 for greater than 1,000 10G leaf endpoints.

APIC starter bundles start at $250,000 list. One includes an APIC controller cluster, two fixed spines of 36x40G switches, four leafs supporting 192 to 384 ports of 1/10G, four ACI leaf licenses and eight 40G active optical cable assemblies. The other includes an APIC cluster controller, two modular spines with 36x40G each, two leafs supporting 96 to 192 ports of 1/10G, two ACI leaf licenses and eight 40G active optical cable assemblies.

The starter kits are targeted at proof-of-concept and lab deployments, creation of a central ACI policy appliance on existing Cisco Nexus 2000-7000 infrastructure, and to scale out private cloud infrastructures using ACI.

Existing Nexus 2000-7000 shops can start migrating to ACI or availing themselves of ACI policy by deploying an ACI fabric with Nexus 9000 series switches alongside the existing infrastructure. Traffic can be redirected to the ACI fabric for policy enforcement as needed, and then an ACI Virtual Switch and Nexus 9300 can be deployed in the existing Nexus 2000-7000 fabric to extend ACI policy over the existing infrastructure and applications. No hardware or software enhancements or upgrades are necessary for the Nexus 2000-7000 switches to include them in an ACI policy model, Scheibe says.

Cisco also rolled out 8- and 12-port 100G line cards for the Nexus 9500 modular chassis. The line cards will enable the 9500 to support up to 128 ports of 100G in a single chassis. They will ship in the fourth quarter.

Cisco also unveiled a data center refresh program for the Catalyst 6500 series switches. Four Cisco starter kits are targeted at Catalyst 6500 end-of-row deployments to upgrade to the Nexus 9508 with 48 port 1G/10GBASE-T and four 40G QSFP port line cards with either straight Broadcom Trident 2 silicon or those with increased buffers, VXLAN routing, and a future upgrade to modular ACI leafs.

The bundles include one Nexus 9508 switch, four line cards and eight Cisco QSFP BiDi optics, and are priced from $120,000 to $165,000.

Cisco also rolled out a new Nexus switch for small, space-constrained aggregation designs. The Nexus 3164 is a 64-port 40G QSFP fixed switch that runs the same NX-OS operating system image on the Nexus 9000 series switches.

The Nexus 3164 is priced from $32,000 to $48,000 and is shipping now.

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