Cisco ACI Overview

Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) is an industry-leading secure, open, and comprehensive Software-Defined Networking (SDN) solution. It radically simplifies, optimizes, and accelerates infrastructure deployment and governance, and expedites the application deployment lifecycle.

Cisco ACI delivers an intent-based networking framework to enable agility in the data center. It captures higher-level business and user intent in the form of a policy and translates this intent into the network constructs necessary to dynamically provision the network, security, and infrastructure services. It uses a holistic systems-based approach, with tight integration between hardware and software and physical and virtual elements, an open ecosystem model, and innovative Cisco customer Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) to enable unique business value for modern data centers. This unique approach uses a common policy-based operating model across the network, drastically reducing the cost and complexity of operating your network.

 

Cisco ACI MINT overview

Cisco ACI Mentored Install Network Training (MINT) program is an authorized hands-on training program that helps you gain skills and master best practices while deploying the Cisco ACI solution. By combining mentoring and installation, the program accelerates the adoption and deployment of the new Cisco ACI solution in your environment and helps you achieve your desired outcomes.

 

Why choose NIL as your MINT partner?

NIL has been a Cisco Gold Certified Partner, System Integrator, and Cisco Platinum Learning Partner for over 25 years. We educate Cisco engineers, develop official Cisco courseware, and have expertise, experience and capability to make sure that your solution is properly deployed and configured.

NIL is an authorized Cisco partner for providing MINT programs for Cisco SDA, Cisco DNA Center, Cisco SD-WAN, Cisco ACI, Cisco HyperFlex, and Cisco Tetration technologies. We have extensive experience delivering different MINT projects to organizations worldwide that result in high customer satisfaction and faster particular technology adoption.

All our MINT programs are fully customizable. This means that the basic scope is predefined, in order to ensure best practices and key objectives are covered. However, the exact delivery is tailored to your specific environment and requirements, ensuring optimal outcome of the service.

 

Objectives of engagement

  1. Discover the customer outcome desires through investigation of the current situation and steps needed to achieve the goal.
  2. Deployment and configuration of the solution.
  3. Customer enablement and knowledge transfer for continued operation and maintenance of the environment.
  4. Functional solution, with accompanying project documentation.

 

Scope of Work

SoW is predefined to an extent, but will be solidified and agreed upon after the initial situation and outcome discovery.

 

Roles and responsibilities

NIL will do the majority of the work, however, in order to ensure high customer satisfaction and achieve the desired goals, a customer is expected to provide the following:

  • Stakeholder discovery workshop participation
  • Preparation of the environment for the beginning of configuration, which includes, but may not be limited to:
    • Rack space
    • Power capacity
    • Cooling capacity
    • Equipment stacking
    • Infrastructure pre-configuration
  • Customer engineers that will participate in all steps of the project for:
    • Knowledge transfer
    • Testing support
    • Support for integration with the existing environment
  • Plan of test scenarios to determine operational acceptance of the solution situation and outcome discovery.

 

Cisco ACI MINT Stages

Service Name

Service Description

Proof of Value

Demonstrate the value of the Cisco ACI solution and relevant use cases to solve a customer’s business and technology problems.

Plan

Identify business objectives and technology requirements for the solution and gather information about the network environment. Define and agree on a project schedule.

Design

Conduct a network assessment. Create and review high-level design and low-level design documents.

Install

Install and set up single-pod, multi-pod, or multi-site environments. Discover and register spine and leaf switches. Connect bare metal/UCS services and assign static port binding.

Configure

Create Fabric Access Policies, Firmware Policies, Tenants, Bridge Domains, Application Profiles, End Point Groups, Filters, Subjects and Contracts. Integrate ACI with VMware/Red Hat/Microsoft. Configure dynamic routing using OSPF or BGP and static routes. Create L3Out for external connectivity.

Test

Document and conduct testing to ensure that the deployment is working as designed.

Train

Deliver knowledge transfer, including how to navigate Cisco APIC, and how to configure and manage the solution. Complete the project handoff to the customer’s (or channel partner’s) IT operations team.

 

Next steps after MINT

Your environment is now set up and running. Your team has the basic knowledge and capability to keep it operational.

But maybe you want additional functionality, are looking into further integration, or are even considering a completely new solution, based on a different technology.

For all of these instances, you can turn to NIL to help you move further along. We offer training on the whole range of Cisco products and solutions. Those trainings span from official courses to highly customized workshops that can be tailored to your very specific needs.

In addition, we offer both additional MINT services, as well as full consultancy engagements that extend well beyond pure Cisco deployments and integrations. And we will be more than happy to help you out with any of these challenges and offer proper guidance.