Cisco ACI Fabric:
The Cisco ACI fabric is a high-performance leaf-and-spine architecture which provides a Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) overlay for the tenant space. Cisco ACI automates fabric discovery and fabric image upgrades as well as topology validation that avoids cabling mistakes.
The Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (Cisco APIC) automates Cisco ACI fabric to deploy application-centric network policies as well as collects inventory and configuration data for monitoring and troubleshooting purposes.
Requirements for End-to-End Service Delivery Automation:
- Support for Multi-Vendor infrastructure.
- Support for Cross-Domain, Cross-Technology network services.
- Support for legacy and brownfield network.
- End-to-End service validation.
- Integration with external service assurance platforms.
- integration with OpenStack or other VIMs.
- Support for customizable catalog.
Network Service Orchestrator such as Anuta NCX complements the Cisco APIC and helps deliver complete network service delivery across all network domains for multi-vendor infrastructure.
Introduction to Anuta NCX:
Anuta NCX Network Service Orchestrator uses a layered, YANG model-driven approach that helps deliver vendor-neutral, extensible, scalable, and maintainable network services for both brownfield and greenfield deployments. NCX platform enables customers to automate ANY network service across ANY network domain, ANY technology or architecture, ANY vendor, platform, or device and ANY Southbound Interface.
NCX includes device adapters for hundreds of different platforms from thirty-five different industry-leading vendors and provides starter kits to various use cases in multiple networking domains; including Data Center, Campus, Branch, WAN, Carrier Core, and more. Also, NCX constantly monitors your network’s elements. The customer can simply describe key performance indicators that should be monitored and the necessary corrective actions, and they will have visibility over the entire infrastructure.
The NCX platform is built with microservices based architecture and is delivered as a software appliance (VM) for maximum flexibility. NCX’s distributed server-agent model enables orchestrating minimal to gigantic deployments ranging from 100 to 150,000 devices.
NCX includes productivity and development tools as well as auto code generation tools that introduce DevOps approach to networking. Further, NCX SDK allows all device and service models to be developed by customer or partners. For instance, minor extensions can be implemented within hours. Adding new vendor device models can take days to a maximum of 2 weeks.
Benefits of the combined solution:
- Anuta NCX integrates with Cisco APIC and bridges the gaps with regard to end-to-end Network service delivery. Anuta NCX orchestrates legacy DC as well as the traffic between Legacy DC and the ACI POD. Anuta NCX automates the Edge (ASR9K and DCI), and Cisco APIC automates the ACI fabric. The NCX portal delivers complete workflow and leverages APIC for ACI provisioning.
- Integration with over 35 Vendors (PNFs & VNF providers, Assurance platforms, VIMs, VNF Managers, etc.,)
- Anuta NCX enables administrators to describe Service Description, Verification, KPI, Recovery using a rich Modelling language (YANG)
- Support for additional vendors such as Checkpoint, Palo Alto Networks, Radware, Fortinet, BlueCoat, Riverbed, etc. Currently, Cisco APIC supports F5, Citrix NetScaler, and Sourcefire that are connected to the leaf nodes.
- Roadmap – Integration with NCX Virtual Appliance Lifecycle Management. Anuta NCX instantiates the Virtual Appliances from multiple vendors and configures policy. Anuta NCX also passes Policy information including EPG contracts to Cisco APIC.
- Anuta NCX Orchestrates Campus, Branch, SP Core as well as legacy multi-vendor Data Center networks.
- Support for Physical, Virtual and Hybrid infrastructure
- Cisco ACI acts as the fabric path for Nexus 9K infrastructure
- Cisco APIC acts as the SDN controller
- Anuta NCX acts as an orchestrator for multi-vendor network infrastructure (excluding Cisco ACI) that could be physical or virtual.
- Customer orders network service to provision an application from user portal.
- User portal invokes the service template using Anuta NCX’ REST API.
- NCX uses Cisco APIC controller REST API to create necessary tenants, private networks, bridge domains, filters, and contracts.
- NCX implements service chaining between ACI fabric and the rest of the WAN facing routers, Firewalls, Load-balancers and Non-ACI switches.
The screenshots below describe the process of creating Application Centric Policies from Anuta NCX User Interface. The same can be created using Anuta NCX’s REST API.
A. Create Tenant
B. Create Private Network
C. Create Bridge Domains
D. Create Filters
E. Create Contracts
F. Deploy 3-Tier Application and EPGs
Cisco APIC introduces programmability, self-service, and agility to a portion of the network infrastructure. A Network Service Orchestrator such as Anuta NCX complements the Cisco APIC and helps deliver complete network service delivery across all network domains for your multi-vendor infrastructure.