Software Defined Data Center and ACI
Today, Data Centers are moved to become Software Defined Data Center. To build Software Defined Data Center, you need software defined storage, software defined network, software defined DC and software defined application. Why most of organizations are moved to software which is defined? Mainly reason is that control of the data center is fully automated by software, meaning hardware configuration is maintained through intelligent software systems. Software-defined networking was seen as an essential to the software-defined data center.
From CISCO, it has software defined network solution called the ACI.
➡️ Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is the combination of software and hardware technology with the greatest performance.
There are limitations at traditional data center. For example, it is difficult to change the original network infra design. When the new applications have to deploy, we can only consider based on initial setting of network infra design. These became the traditional datacenter limitations.
By using ACI technology, it can solve these limitations. Whether within one data center or between DC and DR sites, ACI can define the policies of server, network and security automatically. And then, it is the technology for the centralized management, visibility, health monitoring and troubleshoot. With the ACI, we don’t need to adjust with network design limitation, we can easily add or remove the firewall and load balancer between application severs as Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) title.
Firstly, I would like to introduce with ACI components. There are:
1️⃣ APIC Controller
2️⃣ Leaf Switch (Nexus 9300 series)
3️⃣ Spine Switch (Nexus 9300 series)
➡️ The main components of ACI, APIC controller, has two types: Physical APIC appliance and Cloud APIC appliance. In Physical APIC appliance, APIC image is installed on the UCS Rack Server and used as APIC Controller Server. ACI is deployed on public cloud environment and called as the Cloud APIC Appliance. The main function if APIC is to manage, automation and policy enforcement on the ACI Fabric. And also, monitor the health of the ACI fabric. APIC controller can make clusters and provide the redundancy and scalable. And, APIC is the policy controller, not control plane and not the data plane.
All of the leaf switches are connected to the spine switches with connections. There is no need to connect between leaf to leaf and spine to spine. APIC controller and End Devices are needed to connect with Leaf Switches. Spine switches will be forwarded the traffic to the Leaf Switches. So, at the ACI infra, traffics are not needed to pass to many switches as traditional data center.
As the business growth, service providers must focus on how to minimize the application downtime. So, deployment, management and monitoring should be rapidly easier than before. I hope that by using SDN, we can get a lot of advantages for our data centers.
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