Cisco ACI named as data centre solution of choice for service providers

19 April 2018 | Natalie Bannerman


An increasing number of service providers are turning to Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) the software defined networking (SDN) solution, says the company.

The solution reduces operational coats using an automated, policy-based programmable architecture whilst improving scalability and security. The new Cisco ACI multi-site management capability enables service providers to connect and manage multiple geographically distributed Cisco ACI fabrics to move and manage workloads using one fibre connection.

Globally Cisco ACI is being deployed by the likes of NTT Communications in the US, T-Systems in Germany, Hosters in Denmark, scanplus GmbH in Germany, Tieto Oyj in Finland and Ritter in the US.

NTT Communications has begun focussing on managed services to better serve its enterprise customers with offerings tailored to key verticals that also meet compliance regulations.

“Cisco ACI means applications guide the way the network acts, not the other way around,” says Indranil Sengupta, vice president of product engineering at NTT Com. “We’re able to offer an outstanding customer experience with fewer errors and up to 80 percent better application performance.”

T-Systems selected Cisco ACI to provide its customers with tailored infrastructure, platforms, and software solutions.

“Our customers want high quality services, uncompromised security, and flexibility, all at a reasonable price,” said Andreas Schwall, delivery executive production mid-market at T-Systems. “Our challenge was to reduce IT effort and maintenance-based outages, while improving capacity at the network and security layer.”

In addition, Cisco ACI also allows T-Systems to run more agile, flexible, operations and new security offerings for customers. “Based on open APIs and an application-centric view of our landscape, we can reduce lead times during the on-boarding process and rapidly add more services to our portfolio,” added Schwall.

As for Hosters turned to Cisco ACI to reduce time to market and to provide customers with the right solution easily and quickly.  As a result Cisco ACI is now operating in three Hosters data centres and baby spines, and the company is planning to upgrade its data centres to 100GbE.

“The results of the Cisco ACI deployment have exceeded our expectations,” said Thomas Raabo, CTO, Hosters. “Our deployment time of new services to customers has been cut down from weeks to hours, and we are spending less time on systems integration and more time on innovation. We’re moving to a DevOps model of continuous improvement, and we’re creating agility and value that can be passed along to our customers.”

sscanplus chose Cisco ACI to address these needs, and will also benefit from a network fabric that scales to multiple sites, with single pane-of-glass management and automation.

“With Cisco ACI, we have full segmentation of each tenant, and can also reference other tenant objects within a tenant while maintaining isolation, which makes them private, separated, and highly secure,” said Stefan Daiber, head of architecture at scanplus. “The openness of Cisco ACI is a big benefit,” said Daiber. “It doesn’t just support any hypervisor, but also all of the network equipment surrounding the hypervisor. It gives us a tremendous amount of choice and flexibility.”

Tieto deployed Cisco ACI as a Layer 2 fabric in six of its data centres in three countries. It chose Cisco ACI solution to ensure a holistic architecture with centralised automation and policy-driven application profiles.

 “Cisco ACI provides a foundation that we can build on to channel innovation into new services,” said Juha Syrjänen, Head of Connectivity Services Business at Tieto. “We’ll be able to quickly and efficiently deliver basic connectivity services, while building a new connectivity ecosystem between our customers, their other partners, and Tieto.”

Lastly Ritter Communications explained its reason for using Cisco ACI, with Greg Sunderwood, vice president of engineering at Ritter Communications, saying: “We serve a very rural market, and many network managers are tied to their servers. They wouldn’t feel comfortable putting everything in the public cloud. “We wanted more differentiation on the front end and more control on the back end.” 

“We essentially pull the public cloud into a customer’s environment,” added Brandon Fergerson, senior cloud engineer at Ritter Communications. “Microsoft Azure is the customer-facing management console, and Cisco ACI handles back end infrastructure and network management. “We’ve turned server-hugging scepticism into cloud-first approaches. I see it all the time. The subscriptions start with just one low-risk server, then it seems like every time I check back on that tenant, they are adding more and more resources in the cloud as the trust grows. The Ritter cloud is a simple, customer-friendly, highly automated offering, and it’s been the catalyst for a mind shift—for us and our customers.”