Cisco ACI – Creating Basic Constructs

n this article I’ll go through the ACI equivalent, which is creating tenants, contexts, and bridge domains that will help us get ACI up and running.

Cisco ACI has a few basic network constructs that need to be created when first being set up. This could be considered more of a day 1 setup and then something you may not need to do again. If you’re familiar with Cisco UCS, it’s akin to creating pools and then creating service profiles with those pools. In this article I’ll go through the ACI equivalent, which is creating tenants, contexts, and bridge domains that will help us get ACI up and running. I’ve already covered creating tenants in a previous blog found here.

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Cisco ACI APIC – User Authentication and RBAC

One thing I really like about the ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) APIC (Application Policy Infrastructure Controller) GUI is how helpful it is. There are several products out there that have used the idea of putting a Quick Start within their product on the welcome pages such as VMware SRM and Zenoss, and now the APIC GUI has that as well as shown below.

Figure 1

When you click on the links under the Quick Start guide you get a tutorial on how to do it, as well as an optional video to watch. To the right of the Quick Start is a list of words and concepts that will help you familiarize yourself with networking concepts in general and ACI specifically.

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Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure Overview


A few weeks ago I started a new path in my career. I’m now working for Cisco as a Technology Evangelist. Specifically I’m concentrating on Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and the Nexus 9000 series switches. As software defined networking becomes more popular and even necessary, I’ll be writing about my journey learning ACI and other solutions.

ACI changes the way we’ve traditionally thought about networking. Traditional networking uses an imperative model which basically means we control what the network devices do. We give them commands and expect them to follow them as “written.” ACI uses a declarative control system where we specify what we want the end result to be and the network devices interpret it and do what they need to return that result. This gets us into promise theory which is what ACI is based on, but we’ll save diving into that for another article.

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Configuring tenants in ACI

Like many networking platforms Cisco ACI offers the ability to have multiple tenants. A tenant is generally a container that allows you to keep resources isolated. For example I might have tenants for dev and prod or I might have separate tenants for each department in my company. Usually public cloud providers will have a tenant for each of its customers. It’s a security construct that allows you to basically keep things separated.

In this blog I’ll go through creating a tenant using the ACI APIC GUI.

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