Gartner Research

Comparing Cisco ACI and VMware NSX: Programmable Fabrics or SDN Overlays?

Published: 27 May 2015

ID: G00263899

Analyst(s): Simon Richard


Enterprises are evaluating both Cisco ACI and VMware NSX to increase their data center network agility and fortify their security postures. These solutions offer different approaches for solving a similar set of challenges. This document provides guidelines for comparing the approaches.

Table Of Contents



  • Benefits That Apply to Both Solutions
    • IT Benefits
    • Technical Benefits
  • Cisco ACI and VMware NSX: High-Level Architecture
    • Cisco ACI Architecture
    • VMware NSX Architecture
  • Running NSX and Cisco ACI Together
  • Comparison Criteria
    • Manageability and Visibility
    • Supported Switching Hardware
    • Security Model
    • Controller
    • Connectivity Model
    • Network Provisioning and Orchestration
    • Third-Party Ecosystem Integration
    • Communications With the Outside World
    • Migration/Implementation Effort Needed
    • Scalability
    • SDx Integration and End-to-End Provisioning


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