Cisco Offers Integrated Management Solution for Data Center Visibility

Cisco's ACI platform offers complete visibility of all components of IT systems.

Cisco recently announced the release of Application Centric Infrastructure, the company’s newest platform for enhancing data center efficiency. The solution is the first data center and cloud system built with a focus on applications that offers customers integrated management of physical and online resources, as well as full visibility of IT components.

In a company blog post, Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers wrote that today’s business and IT environments are currently shifting to more application-centric models. However, Chambers said business leaders are struggling to cope with this rapid change.

“The complexity of information technology is slowing down [CIOs’] ability to enter new markets, to deliver new products and services, to manage risk and security threats, and to drive more efficiency into their organizations,” Chambers wrote.

Chambers said ACI is the company’s way of addressing these issues, and is intended to help managers cut down on the time spent creating, changing or removing applications from their networks. He calls the solution “a transformational approach” to data center design which will foster an environment geared toward the simplicity. security and flexibility that CIOs and data center operators require.

Evolving Data Center Management to Keep Pace With Complexity
In the current industry landscape, Cisco asserted, there have not been solutions that offer total visibility of all the technological aspects affecting the performance of applications. In this way, IT professionals have had to operate within separate silos, which do little to support data center efficiency. This isolated operational methodology makes IT components difficult to configure, troubleshoot and change.

However, Cisco’s aim is for the ACI solution to help IT personnel and managers break down organizational fragmentation and unify all parts of the IT infrastructure.

“Our customers love the fact that ACI is a silo buster,” Chambers wrote.

The platform can be used to manage networking, storage, computing, network services, applications and security as a single entity. This gives data center operators and business employees complete visibility into all parts of a system, allowing them to keep a close watch on all components while eliminating separation barriers. Furthermore, making adjustments to applications becomes much easier when the entire system is available on one platform.

“ACI brings all of these resources together to behave as a single, dynamic, responsive entity that helps administrators streamline configuration, accelerate troubleshooting and optimize application response,” Chambers stated.

The ACI solution also features data center switching innovations that enable network improvements for faster response to application development teams. In addition, the system provides ample opportunities to decrease the total cost of ownership in comparison to utilization of silicon-based switches and software-only network virtualization platforms.

ACI could offer IT personnel a multitude of benefits, including a means to accelerate application deployment time. By utilizing centralized management, application network profiles, network service automation and open APIs, the time it takes to launch an application could be reduced to minutes.

Chambers said ACI is full of industry firsts, and he looks forward to the benefits experienced by customers.

“ACI gives every administrator, whether they are focused on networking, security, storage, platforms or network services, the same view and the same single point of management for the whole IT infrastructure,” Chambers wrote.