15 comments on “Cisco ACI vs VMware NSX

    • I left that out for a reason, I classify Ethernet fabric technologies as current gen architectures. FP/TRILL/SPB, Qfabric, etc. ACI and NSX are next gen ‘overlay’ + NFV + SDN controller ecosystems. Far different from Ethernet fabrics.

  1. Thanks for the blog post Brandon, I enjoyed the read and appreciate your view points especially the overhead, challenges and potential complexities in having to manage both a hardware and software approach. I’d be interested in your views on federated solutions especially the recently announced HP-VMware joint networking solution.


    Disclaimer: I work in the HP server organization.

  2. Pingback: Software Defined Data Centre | Hybrid Cloud Burst

    • The more I look at them the more I like them so I am certainly keeping an eye on Cumulus but I am thinking their path to adoption is to get acquired by a bigger player.

  3. Great write up, very helpful and insightful. One humble comment though, you know well that nothing is written in stone, vendors build a roadmap to their products/solutions, sometimes its not public. But in this case, It was mentioned in a couple of places, ACI will be available on whitebox hardware, but it may have been announced in channels that you are not tapped into.

    The same goes for vmware, who knows what is up their sleeves when it comes to physical servers.

    • Understood, I was just speaking to current realities. Things can change quickly but I also temper my expectations because I have become accustomed to road-maps changing as well.

  4. Very good information!!! Just the info I have been searching for.

    I am a Network Engineer. Currently working towards CCIE R&S v5. With all this SDN stuff going on I at times feel like working towards the CCIE would be a waste of time . . . . . . .? Need your thoughts please.

    I have been a Network Engineer for 5 years as of today.
    With either NSX or ACI do you see Network Engineers as having to learn programming as well such as Python or C++?
    I’m asking because I want to make sure my skills stay current without completely changing careers.
    At the moment it seems like eventually just need to learn NSX and or ACI. Cisco and VMware seem to be making these easy to learn.

    • A CCIE would not be a waste of time. Depending on where you want to end up it may not be the best use of time is all. It will still be valuable for a long time to come even if only for a solid understanding of concepts.

      I think a small subset of network engineers will need to learn some programming perhaps. Those who don’t will initially be re-purposed to focus on non DC related projects perhaps. There is a lot of networking outside of the DC switching core …

      Long term, we may get to a more self service, orchestrated network end-to-end but I anticipate there will still be plenty of jobs in the post-apocalyptic programmable world for those who have a background with packet herding.

      The answer to your question may be more are you focused on private or public cloud data centers. Then yes you probably need to learn some coding skills. Otherwise, packet forwarding hardware and protocols are going to be here for a while still and the principals of how to make that work are going to be here forever.

  5. Good read. I do think you might want to examine the power of the open source community. I know I am biased based on where I work, but look at the technology industry as whole, it seems the open source community can really do some magical things……..can you remember using phones (not truly open source but you get the idea) before apps??? yeah….me neither 🙂

    • I don’t disagree but most enterprises are still too reliant on proprietary vendor solution bundles and support. Collectively we need to mature in this area.

  6. Pingback: Cisco ACI impressions from #NFD9 | CCIE #31104, what's next?

    • I had to read it again. I think I meant that a split between physical workload, secondary hyper-visor and VMware. Most companies are not 100% VMWare. Technically NSX is multi-hypervisor I understand but realistically it wasn’t as of time of writing.

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