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Cisco's application-centric infrastructure arrives at last

Borg begins striking off its golden hardware handcuffs

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Cisco has quit with the long talk and started the walk, announcing that its Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is to ship as a full solution on July 31.

The Borg's “here comes our software-defined networking (SDN) solution” Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) can now be ordered with ACI enabled.

Cisco first showed the world the plastic models of ACI last November. Its response to the margin-free world of open SDN software running on generic Intel platforms, ACI hitches SDN capabilities to purpose-built ASICs that first hit in the Nexus 9000 switch.

APIs in the environment let ACI play nice with OpenStack, Open vSwitch, Open Daylight, and to handle Layer 4 to Layer 7 services. As The Register noted in November 2013, the idea is to give users the warm feeling of playing with the latest network orchestration software, while maintaining a chastity belt around Cisco's hardware.

The user, in their preferred SDN environment, expresses the desired configuration as a Network Profile, which APIC pushes out to the hardware, and it's the hardware that gets the job of turning the profile into the behaviour of the network.

Take a deep breath: the starter bundle of ACI kicks off at $US250,000. ®

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