“A new paradigm shift driven by cloud, mobility and big data is redefining IT, with the web-based economy shifting to an app-based economy,” said Sabrina Dar, Cisco’s GM for East Africa.
“Today’s data center and cloud application and infrastructure requirements call for a new approach. We need solutions that are simple and that cut across different technological and organizational silos without compromising on scale, responsiveness, security and end-to-end visibility. We need solutions that deliver network automation and programmability, and we need models that are designed from the ground up to be explicitly application-centric. Bolted-on approaches are becoming a thing of the past, and the failure of companies to adapt will likely see them fall behind the competition in terms of profit and innovation.”
Directly responding to market demands, Cisco’s recently announced Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) offering is set to have a particularly significant impact on data centers through ramping up the efficiency, flexibility and speed increasingly demanded by the region’s profit-conscious business-leaders.
Complemented by associated professional services and an open partner ecosystem, Cisco is now able to deliver the first data center and cloud solution built around the needs of applications. The system offers full visibility, and integrated management of both physical and virtual networked IT resources.
Cisco’s bold launch comes as technology-focused market intelligence firm IDC predicts that service providers worldwide will continue to drive IT spend and will account for a quarter of the entire datacenter space by 2016.
The complex pressures facing datacenters was vividly highlighted in Cisco’s recent Global Cloud Index, which reported that annual global data center IP traffic, will reach 6.6 zettabytes by the end of 2016. By 2016, global data center IP traffic will reach 554 exabytes per month (up from 146 in 2011), at a compound annual growth rate of 31 per cent.
By 2016, nearly two-thirds of all data center workloads will be processed in the cloud, with annual global cloud IP traffic rising to 4.3 zettabytes. This amounts to around 355 exabytes per month (up from 57 in 2011). Overall, cloud IP traffic will have grown at a CAGR of 44 per cent from 2011 to 2016.
ACI will help businesses in the region adapt to such trends by combining innovations in software, hardware, systems and application specific integrated circuits (ASICS) with a dynamic, application-aware network policy model structured around open application programming interfaces (APIs).
The system can reduce application deployment from months to minutes by unifying physical and virtual networks and offering unprecedented security, compliance and real-time visibility at system, tenant, and application levels.
Furthermore, Cisco 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.
“IT leaders want innovations that enable application automation for rapid deployment of infrastructure and dynamic adjustment to real-time events, integrated visibility with telemetry for performance monitoring and resilient recovery from failure. They also demand optimized performance across diverse applications needs with simplicity and control,” added Sabrina.
ACI stands apart from current approaches, which are often operationally siloed, and with no common or policy operational model between application, network, security and cloud teams.
Cisco’s innovation also addresses other pressing issues such as static and inflexible security models, as well as the operational headache of multiple management points, proprietary licensing models, software version control issues, and consistency across multiple hypervisor environments.
Cisco’s ACI comprises the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), enhanced versions of the NX-OS operating system and the new Nexus 9000 portfolio.
The latter is the cornerstone of the ACI solution, and includes state-of-the-art system innovations such as the industry’s first backplane-free modular switch to provide investment protection, efficient power and cooling, and a simpler design that is twice as effective at improving meantime between failures.