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PRESS RELEASE

Cisco Pioneers Real-Time Application Delivery in Global Data Centers and Clouds to Enable Greater Business Agility

Cisco Delivers Application Centric Infrastructure to Make Data Center and Cloud IT Responsive to Application Needs; Rallies Broad Partner Ecosystem through Open Platform and Open Source

NEW YORK, NY, Nov. 6, 2013– Cisco today begins the transformation of information technology (IT) by delivering Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), new professional services, and an open ecosystem of partners to help customers unleash their applications and enable greater business agility. With ACI, Cisco is delivering to customers the first data center and cloud solution to offer full visibility and integrated management of both physical and virtual networked IT resources, all built around the needs of applications.

During the unveiling of ACI, and in a blog post, Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers discussed the imperative for IT to adapt quickly to the needs of the application economy. Applications have become the lifeblood of business. The consistent and high performance of applications is vital to CIOs' ability to deliver new products and services, manage compliance and governance, mitigate risk and security threats, empower employees, and drive productivity into their organizations. As billions of new valuable connections form to create an Internet of Everything that most of us will experience through applications, the focus on rapid and consistent application deployment becomes even greater. The role of the network, as the unifying technology connecting users, applications and data centers, becomes critical.

Today, the complexity and inflexibility of IT is slowing business down. IT professionals work in separate inefficient siloes because current technology doesn't support a shared architectural model, and there is no way to gain a single view of all the technology components that impact application performance.  As a result, the IT components are difficult to configure, complex to troubleshoot, and cumbersome to change. That has to change. Complexity must give way to speed and agility.

CIOs want to break down these silos and unify all the component parts of IT– networking, storage, compute, network services, applications, security– and manage them as a single, dynamic, entity without compromise: that's what ACI intends to accomplish. ACI couples innovations in software, hardware, systems and ASICS with a dynamic, application-aware network policy model built around open APIs to reduce application deployment from months to minutes.

ACI achieves this by unifying physical and virtual networks and offering security, compliance and real-time visibility at the system, tenant, and application levels at unprecedented scale. Cisco ACI data center switching innovations allow the network to rapidly respond to application development teams, while delivering up to 75 percent total cost of ownership savings compared to merchant silicon-based switches and software-only network virtualization solutions.

ACI is comprised of  the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), the Nexus 9000 portfolio, and enhanced versions of the NX-OS operating system. The Nexus 9000 family, running optimized NX-OS, enables unmatched "zero-touch" operations across high performance data center networks, and can save customers millions of dollars in capital and operating expenses. 

The new Nexus 9000 is also the foundation building block for the Cisco ACI solution, enabling a smooth transition from optimized NX-OS to the ACI-mode of NX-OS with a software upgrade and the addition of APIC.  Using merchant silicon and custom ASICs, this portfolio delivers best of breed price performance and non-blocking port density for 1/10G to 10/40G and in the future 100G transitions in existing and next generation data centers.  The Nexus 9000 portfolio includes state of the art system innovations including the industry's first backplane-free modular switch to provide investment protection, efficient power and cooling, and a simpler design leading to two times the improvement in mean time between failures. 

Based on industry standards, Cisco ACI enables IT to meet business demands for new applications, rapid scale to existing ones, and the ability to redeploy IT resources when applications that are no longer required.  ACI accelerates application deployment cycles to drive faster business processes and improve bottom line results.

  • Delivers up to 75 percent total cost of ownership savings versus software only-network virtualization, leveraging existing cabling investments, and delivering the most efficient modular data center switch via an innovative backplane free design reducing power and cooling costs by 15 percent
  • Accelerates Application Deployment Time to Minutes improving business agility through centralized management, application network profiles, L4-7 network service automation, and open APIs
  • Centralizes Policy Management Simplifying Operations and Empowering IT Teams through system wide policy control unlocking the power of collaboration across application, network, security, virtualization, compute and storage teams
  • Investment Protection through Open Protocols, APIs and Standards leveraging customers' existing: networking, services including security, physical and virtual compute, and storage assets

The Nexus 9000 portfolio delivers several industry firsts including innovations in software, hardware, systems, and ASICs unifying physical and virtual infrastructures delivering uncompromised: 

  • Flexibility and Simplicity:  Decoupling application centric policy from IP infrastructure enables full host mobility, offers centralized policy control, and greatly simplifies network operation.  The network adapts to application requirements through dynamic insertion and chaining of physical and virtual L4-7 network services including firewalls, application delivery controllers, and intrusion detection systems.
  • Performance and Scale: Delivering security and application policy at line rate 10/40 and in the future 100G.   60 Tbps of switching capacity, 3X faster multicast performance and 1/3 the latency at 3X the traffic load of any other Data Center modular switch tested, 20% greater non-blocking port density – 576 40G line rate ports with 50%+ reduction in ASICs per module compared to merchant silicon only competitors.  Unprecedented scale including 1M endpoints, 55K+ 10G ports, 64K+ tenants.  Built in dynamic load balancing and prioritization removes network bottlenecks and can enhance application completion time from 30 - 90%.
  • Security: Improves application security, compliance, auditing, and mobility through centralized, programmable policy, enabling fine grained control and isolation at scale suitable for multitenant private and public cloud environments; open platform enables a broad security ecosystem driving innovation in security management automation, visibility, and choice including Cisco's new ASAv.
  • Real-time Visibility and Troubleshooting: Complete, real-time view of per tenant and per application health, statistics, and troubleshooting across physical and virtual infrastructure, real-time analytics driving intelligent application placement decisions.  Ability to monitor and isolate packet drops by application at a system level to accelerate problem resolution. 
  • Open Platform and Open Source:  Industry's 1st open and extensible application policy model for automation and visibility with hardware acceleration, open comprehensive RESTful APIs enabling tight integration with existing network automation tools, and open source community driven ACI extensions including OpenStack, Open Daylight, virtual switches and VXLAN.  Open APIs enable a comprehensive ACI ecosystem for management, orchestration, monitoring, virtualization, network service, and storage partners.
  • Broad Virtualization Support: Automated virtual network policy management and telemetry with Microsoft Hyper-V, RedHat KVM, VMware vSphere and other virtualization platforms;  Cisco is also introducing the Cisco Application Virtual Switch (AVS) purpose built for ACI virtual environments.
  • Advanced Programmability: Designed to fit seamlessly into a development operations team via a RESTful API for enabling automation and tight integration.  Puppet, Chef, CFEngine, Python scripting, and other tools enable customers to leverage common toolsets across their infrastructure.
  • System Innovations:  Industry's first backplane free design for a modular data center switch providing future proofing for 100G and beyond and improving by 15% power and cooling efficiency, 40G Bidi Optics eases the transition to 40G with zero fiber costs, atomic counters for system level telemetry, and built in line rate directory service supporting 1M endpoints. 

Components of Application Centric Infrastructure

Cisco Nexus 9000 switch family

The Nexus 9000 Series offers modular and fixed 1/10/40 Gigabit Ethernet switch configurations. They are designed to operate in either standalone NX-OS mode or in ACI mode to take full advantage of ACI's application policy driven services and infrastructure automation features.  This dual capability provides investment protection and a migration path to ACI though a software upgrade. The portfolio includes:

  • Cisco Nexus 9508 Switch: an 8 slot, compact 13 RU form factor chassis designed for high density End-of-Row (EoR) and high performance 10/40GbE aggregation layer deployments. 
  • Cisco Nexus 9300 Switches: fixed switches designed for top-of-rack and middle-of-row deployments.

In the first half of 2014 Cisco expects to extend the Nexus 9000 switch family to include a four-slot and 16-slot system and additional top of rack switches.  More details will be released over the coming months.

The Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (Cisco APIC) is the unified point of automation and management for the ACI fabric, policy programming, and health monitoring.  It optimizes performance, supports any application anywhere, and unifies management of physical and virtual infrastructure. The APIC is a highly scalable, clustered software controller capable of managing 1M endpoints.  Unlike traditional SDN controllers, it operates independently of switch data and control planes allowing the network to respond to endpoint changes even when the APIC is offline.  It enables tremendous flexibility in how application networks are defined and automated and is designed from the ground up for programmability and centralized management. 

Application Network Profiles define the requirements of an application and its interdependencies on the underlying infrastructure.  APIC leverages these profiles to dynamically provision networking, services, compute storage and security policies, no matter where the application is, or how it changes.

Cisco Virtual ASA (ASAv) provides the first fully integrated security services based on application needs designed specifically for ACI.  ASAv scales on demand and operates seamlessly in both physical and virtual environments with tight integration with APIC. This simplifies security administration and allows organizations to take a holistic, policy-based approach to data center security without compromising functionality.

The Cisco Application Virtual Switch (Cisco AVS) is an ACI-enabled virtual switch that is optimized for consistent policy enforcement, providing improved visibility and performance of applications running on ACI.   The distributed virtual switch is managed by the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller for centralized provisioning and orchestration.

ACI Ecosystem

Cisco also announced today an ecosystem of industry leaders to help customers leverage, customize and extend their existing IT investments through Cisco ACI. Technology leaders that support today's announcement include: BMC, CA Technologies, Citrix, EMC, Embrane, Emulex, F5, IBM, Microsoft, NetApp, OpsCode, Panduit, Puppet Labs, NIKSUN, Red Hat, SAP, Splunk, Symantec, VCE, and VMware.

Comprehensive Services and Programs Enable Customer Migration to ACI

Designed to help customers achieve their business and technical objectives while reducing risk, Cisco Services for ACI span the data center and offer a range of professional and technical services. These services include Cisco Readiness Planning, Cisco Quick Start Service for Nexus 9000, and Cisco Accelerated Deployment Services for Nexus 9000.  In addition Cisco's Technology Migration Program  assists customers migrating from legacy infrastructure. Cisco offers new services to secure data center infrastructure: Cisco Data Center Security Posture, Assessment, Plan and Build, and Optimization Services.

What Customers Are Saying about ACI

Alibaba Group

Alibaba Group is a family of Internet-based businesses with leading businesses in consumer e-commerce, online payment, business-to-business marketplaces, cloud computing, mobile apps, mobile operating system, and Internet TV. Among its many companies is Taobao Marketplace which has over 760 million product listings and one of the world's top 20 most visited websites according to Alexa.

"The rapid growth of our business requires us to search for next generation technology that can deliver to us more server clusters and larger server clusters, more bandwidth, more intelligent automation to O&M, optimized traffic flows, simpler operations, and an improved view of  application performance metrics," said Yuanyou, vice president, Alibaba. "We found that Cisco matches our vision for what is required for future network architecture, and they are delivering that vision with their Application Centric Infrastructure. We are very interested in testing the ACI solution, and considering collaborating with Cisco as they further their development.  This is a clear win-win for both our companies."

Cerner Corporation

Cerner Corporation is a global health care transformation company whose mission is to contribute to the systemic improvement of health care delivery and the health of communities.    "In the health care application and data hosting business, service availability, security and rapid scalability are the top considerations for IT systems infrastructures," said Brett Jones, director of infrastructure technology for Cerner Corporation.  "With the help of Cisco we've been working on our own next generation data center initiative, and we believe the Cisco ACI solution will be a key component in that new architecture.  The ability to meet our projected scale points, increase the flexibility of computing infrastructure development and to manage a collection of network elements as a single entity will provide Cerner with significant operational advantage.  Furthermore the programmatic nature of the Cisco ACI solution should aid us in our pursuit to streamline operations through automation."

Chrysler Group LLC

"One of our biggest challenges today is how to easily manage and deploy large numbers of enterprise applications, while keeping consistent, auditable policies" said Paolo Vallotti, CTO, Chrysler Group LLC.  "In our current environment, application teams must communicate with no less than four different infrastructure organizations. Each has their own requirements gathering and deployment processes. We'd like to define the application requirements and security once, and then automate deployment."

OVH

OVH is an independent European company based in France. It's the number one hosting provider in Europe and the third for the active sites in the world (Netcraft, October 2013).  "We are impressed with Cisco ACI features and functionality, and want to deploy the standard-mode Nexus 9000 Series now, with a gradual move to full Cisco ACI," said Octave Klaba, CEO, OVH.com.  "Cisco ACI will offer huge advantages in deploying hybrid cloud solutions to customers, and we appreciate the two-step approach that Cisco is offering; we can move to a very cost-effective 40 Gigabit architecture now, with full software management functionality later, as we get the system in place, and get our staff trained."

World Wide Technology, Inc. (WWT)

World Wide Technology, Inc. is a $5 billion systems integrator that provides innovative technology and supply chain solutions to the commercial, government and telecom sectors.

 "WWT is investing in Cisco ACI because it will allow us to more simply provide customers with the solutions they want—ones containing an extra level of integration and automation," said Jim Kavanaugh, CEO, WWT. "By enabling policy automation in the fabric, ACI makes it easy for us to provide this capability to customers out of the box without having to tack on additional components. It simplifies our business and reduces our costs. More importantly, it makes us a better partner to our customers and enables us to better serve them."

Sirius Computer Solutions

"Since 1980, Sirius Computer Solutions has been helping customers gain a competitive advantage while reducing costs and improving productivity through innovative technology solutions across the data center," said Craig Nelson, vice president, Sirius Computer Solutions.  "Cisco's new platform for ACI, application centric infrastructure, will allow more flexibility and scalability to design and customize networks to support changing business needs."

Summary

By designing a network fabric focused on business applications, Cisco will help businesses achieve new levels of productivity, agility and cost savings through policy-based automation, improved performance, enhanced visibility, and operational simplicity.

Insieme Acquisition

Today Cisco also announced its intent to acquire the remaining interest that it does not yet hold in San Jose-based Insieme Networks. In April 2012 Cisco announced it made an investment in Insieme Networks of $100 million, and agreed to commit an additional $35 million in November 2012 upon the satisfaction of certain conditions. Upon the close of the transaction, Insieme will become a wholly-owned business of Cisco. The maximum potential payout as a result of Cisco's acquisition is $863 million, based primarily on the revenue achieved by the sale of Insieme products.

Additional Resources

Learn more about Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)

Learn more about Cisco ACI Ecosystem of industry leaders

Read blog by Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers

Learn more about Cisco Security

Learn more about Cisco Services

Learn more about Cisco data center solutions

Read: Cisco Data Center blog

 

About Cisco

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.

# # #

 Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco's trademarks can be found at www.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.

Availability Disclaimer: Many of the products and features described herein remain in varying stages of development and will be offered on a when-and-if-available basis. This products and features are subject to change at the sole discretion of Cisco, and Cisco will have no liability for delay in the delivery or failure to deliver any of the products or features set forth in this document.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release may be deemed to contain forward-looking statements, which are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, among others, statements regarding Cisco's delivery of Application Centric Infrastructure, new professional services and an open partner ecosystem and the expected benefits for customers, Cisco's expansion of its Nexus switching portfolio, and Cisco's intention to acquire the remaining interest in Insieme Networks.  Readers are cautioned that these forward-looking statements are only predictions and may differ materially from actual future events or results due to a variety of factors, including, among other things, the ability of Cisco to successfully introduce and to achieve the expected benefits of its application centric infrastructure and related services and partner ecosystem, the potential impact on the business of Insieme Networks due to the uncertainty about the acquisition, the retention of employees of Insieme Networks, the ability of Cisco to successfully integrate Insieme Networks and to achieve expected benefits, business and economic conditions and growth trends in the networking industry, customer markets and various geographic regions, global economic conditions and uncertainties in the geopolitical environment, overall information technology spending, the growth and evolution of the Internet and levels of capital spending on Internet-based systems, dependence on the introduction and market acceptance of new product offerings and standards; increased competition in Cisco's product and service markets, including the data center, and other risk factors set forth in Cisco's most recent reports on Form 10-K filed on September 10, 2013. Any forward-looking statements in this release are based on limited information currently available to Cisco, which is subject to change, and Cisco will not necessarily update the information.

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