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Cisco's SDN Solution Boosts Support for Multicloud, 5G

Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) 5.0 -- the networking giant's software-defined networking (SDN) offering -- has shipped with added functionality for multicloud deployments, 5G wireless and more.

Cisco touts the breadth of ACI, describing it as the only industry SDN solution that automates network and security for workloads across heterogeneous domains such as physical (bare-metal) servers, virtual machines, containers, or public clouds.

A further extension of the company's "ACI Anywhere" initiative, the new multicloud enhancements follow up on last year's unveiling of Cisco Cloud ACI for AWS. The new version further tightens up the ties with AWS, specifically AWS Transit Gateway, which connects Amazon VPCs, AWS accounts and on-premises networks to a single gateway.

"Cloud ACI now supports the AWS Transit Gateway (TGW) automation for efficient and high-performance interconnect between multiple Amazon AWS VPCs," Cisco said in an announcement post. "The ACI 5.0 release supports automation of the TGW lifecycle along with automated route-programming on TGW route-tables for all combinations of East-West and North-South traffic patterns."

ACI Integration with AWS Transit Gateway
[Click on image for larger view.] ACI Integration with AWS Transit Gateway (source: Cisco).

Along with more AWS integration, Cisco is planning more tie-ins with the Microsoft Azure cloud, too, with support for VNET Peering coming up.That service helps customers connect networks as a single entity within the Azure Virtual Network, while leveraging Azure backbone for low-latency, high-bandwidth interconnects between virtual networks. Other planned Azure enhancements includes shared service deployments, along with native and third-party L4-7 service automation functions.

On the 5G front, where Cisco said data networks of the future will see telecom/service providers moving scaling, automation and integration of infrastructure from the edge to the central datacenter, ACI 5.0 is said to provide:

  • Support for Segment Routing MPLS (SR-MPLS) and EVPN handoff -- service providers can inter-connect their ACI-based telco cloud to 5G transport backbone network with end-to-end segmentation
  • Cross-domain policy that automates mapping of 5G application and transport slices for end-to-end SLA that can differentiate low-latency applications from non-critical applications
  • The ability of service providers to simplify and scale to thousands of application slices between datacenter and transport network using a single BGP EVPN peering
  • The ability of ACI Multisite Orchestrator (MSO) SR-MPLS policies to be centrally automated across the 5G telco cloud sites (central, regional and edge datacenters)

Cisco also highlighted simplified "Day 2 Operations," or running networks after they have been designed and procured (Day 0) and installed, provisioned and segmented (Day 1).

Specifically, the offering's Network Insights component now includes:

  • Multi-fabric support: Monitor and troubleshoot geographically distributed multiple fabrics with a single instance of Network Insights
  • Multicast control plane visibility: Resolve issues through anomaly detection on PIM, IGMP & IGMP snooping control plane protocols Customizable dashboards: Customize the observable parameters to suit your preferred way of monitoring
  • AppDynamics Integration: Detect, locate and troubleshoot application connectivity issues faster, by correlating network and application telemetry
  • Topology view (BETA): Explore the power of overlaying logical constructs such as Tenant, VRF, EPG over physical infrastructure to zoom in on the problematic nodes and identify anomalies

More information can be found at the ACI site.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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