Gartner Research

Knit the Cisco Switching Fabric That Suits You

Published: 28 June 2016

ID: G00303868

Analyst(s): Andrew Lerner , Danilo Ciscato


Cisco's data center networking portfolio includes two primary fabric management offerings: Nexus Fabric Manager and Application Centric Infrastructure. Network leaders planning to buy new Cisco data center switches should determine which of these two products best suits their requirements.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Challenges



  • Choose NFM If Simplifying Network Operations and Enabling Network Automation in a Cisco Switching Environment Are Tactical Priorities
    • NFM Basics
    • Switching Hardware
    • Pricing and Packaging for NFM
    • The Limitations of NFM
    • Where NFM Makes Sense
  • Choose Cisco's ACI If Policy-Based Networking and Advanced Orchestration With Added Layer 4 to Layer 7 Services Are Important
    • ACI Basics
    • Cloud Integration
    • Policy and Orchestration
    • When ACI Makes Sense
  • Ensure That the Benefits of Adopting NFM or ACI Outweigh the Initial Financial Outlay — Both Represent Lock-In to Cisco
    • Stand-Alone Switching
    • NFM
    • ACI
  • Consider Alternatives, Because ACI and NFM Aren't the Only Options for Improving Network Agility or Providing Network Automation
    • Alternative Solutions in the Cisco Portfolio
    • Automation-Centric (Non-Cisco-Proprietary) Options
    • Alternative Non-Cisco Fabric Options
    • Conclusions

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