Cisco ACI is a software-defined networking (SDN) solution that enables network administrators to centrally manage and configure the network. ACI is designed to simplify and automate the management of network resources, while providing granular control and visibility. ACI is composed of three main components: the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), the Fabric, and the AVE.
The Fabric is the underlying physical infrastructure that ACI uses to connect devices and services. The Fabric consists of a number of leaf and spine switches that are connected together. The switches in the Fabric are configured with special software that allows them to work together as a single logical switch. This software is known as the Application Centric Infrastructure Operating System (ACI OS).
The AVE is a virtual appliance that provides ACI management and monitoring capabilities. The AVE is deployed as a cluster and can be co-located with the APIC or deployed separately.
ACI uses a number of features and technologies to provide a complete SDN solution. These include:
Application-centric networking: ACI uses a application-centric model to provide a consistent policy model across the entire network. This model enables network administrators to quickly and easily deploy and manage applications in the network.
Centralized management and control: ACI provides a centralized point of management and control for the entire network. The APIC provides a unified point of access for all ACI functions and features.
Fabric virtualization: The ACI Fabric is a virtualized network that provides a single logical switch for the entire network. This virtualization enables network administrators to quickly and easily deploy and manage network resources.
Application programming interface: ACI provides a rich set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable network administrators to automate the management and configuration of the network.
Multi-tenancy: ACI supports multi-tenancy through the use of virtualized network resources. This enables network administrators to create and manage isolated network environments for different users or groups.
Security: ACI provides a comprehensive security model that includes role-based access control, authentication, and authorization.
ACI is a flexible and extensible platform that can be deployed in a variety of ways to meet the needs of your organization. ACI is available in a number of different editions, including the Cisco ACI Standard Edition, the Cisco ACI Enterprise Edition, and the Cisco ACI Service Provider Edition.
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