Plan about 2 minutes to read this.
Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Overview. This is the visionary video…the pure marketing video. It’s worth watching because it’s a good framing of the way Cisco sees the challenge of provisioning IT services, and how ACI addresses that challenge.
Common Platform: Two Operational Models. Soni Jiandani walks through the ACI value proposition, including the Nexus 9000 platform. This video is key to understand how Cisco sees what customers are looking for in a technical solution from the financial perspective. While we engineers tend to be more focused on the “how”, getting a hold of the financial aspects of ACI are also important. I’ve made the point in the past that Cisco is rarely the low price leader. In the case of ACI, Cisco appears to be price-sensitive, and is addressing both capex and opex concerns.
Cisco Application Virtual Switch (AVS) Overview. Gary Kinghorn and Balaji Siva discuss the new AVS virtual switch, including the hypervisors it works with, how it compares to Nexus 1000V, connection to an overall ACI infrastructure, and migration strategy. Make no mistake – this is a high level video. But at the same time, it’s important even for hardware-centric network engineers to grasp the role of AVS. The Cisco ACI strategy would be incomplete without a virtual switch that integrates tightly within the ACI architecture.
Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure | Overview. This is an overview by Joe Onisick, who’s addressing technical people, and not just execs. Joe goes into more detail than the pure marketing video. You’ll get even more information on Cisco’s view of the issues in IT as related to silos, and the high-level model of ACI that helps IT work together as a unit.
Application Centric Infrastructure | End Point Groups. Joe Onisick explains EPGs, a building block of ACI deployments. This is a key concept to understand, because it shows how Cisco intends to group network objects and then apply policy to them. The notion is rather different when compared to tools engineers would traditionally use to identify traffic, such as access lists. A larger point is that network engineers who don’t think past L4 would benefit from doing so.
Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure | VxLAN. Joe Onisick gives a concise, clear explanation of VXLAN, I believe the best I’ve ever seen. If you’ve never quite grasped VXLAN, you should watch this, whether you’re interested in ACI itself or not. In the context of ACI, Joe discusses how VXLAN is used to handle multi tenancy at scale.
Cisco Nexus 9000 | Unicast. Lilian Quan takes viewers on a unicast packet walk through a Nexus 9508 chassis, describing the roles of the line cards, fabric modules, supervisors, MAC table, IP host table, and longest prefix match (LPM) table. The Nexus 9K architecture is maybe not exactly what you’re expecting, since the fabric modules have forwarding engines as well as the line cards.
Cisco Nexus 9000 | Multicast. Lilian Quan does a multicast packet walk in a similar style to the unicast video above, explaining all of the lookups along the way.