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Better late than never: Cisco's software-defined networking platform ACI finally lands on AWS

Go hybrid or go home

Networking overlord Cisco has punted its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) platform into AWS-hosted public cloud.

Available on-premises since 2014, ACI is Switchzilla's home-brewed software-defined networking platform that automates management of connectivity and security policies, with a focus on keeping the performance of business applications within set parameters.

It can now extend these capabilities into public cloud infrastructure hosted by AWS with the aim of providing consistency across hybrid environments.

The release is somewhat delayed: the imminent arrival of a cloud-based version, as part of the initiative called "ACI Anywhere", was teased at the end of January at the Cisco Live event in Barcelona. But the company has been talking about expanding ACI into public clouds since at least 2017, and previously told The Reg this functionality would be ready by early 2018.

Cisco, which built its empire on physical hardware, acknowledges that businesses are splashing more money on public cloud services: bean counter IDC has predicted that spending on cloud IT infrastructure will reach $82.9bn in 2022 – by which point it will account for 56 per cent of all IT infrastructure spend. Public cloud users don't buy routers or switches, but they still need software.

ACI, originally designed to run on Nexus 9000 series switches, can define common policies, enable disaster recovery and monitor the health of network infrastructure. It integrates bare-metal servers, virtual machines, and containers under a single policy framework.

The Cloud ACI version essentially translates logical network constructs used by Cisco into constructs used by public cloud giants, and vice versa. Both on-premises and cloud environments can be managed through the same interface, using ACI Multi-Site Orchestrator.

As a bonus, the product simplifies migration of workloads between on-premises data centres and AWS.

The AWS Marketplace states that the typical price per instance for Cloud ACI will total around $0.4 per hour.

Next, Cisco plans to extend the ACI platform into Azure. ®

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