How do we, as engineers, support this next generation network? How do we design it and build it? Clearly there is no simple answer, and no one single tool can do this for us. To build this ‘business-centric’ network, engineers will need to leverage every tool available to them in new and creative ways. Cisco’s ACI is perhaps the tool to begin this journey with for many companies. ACI seems to have taken a sound, holistic approach to tackling the challenges ahead of us — identifying that applications are really the most important piece of the network, and providing flexibility and configurability to make impactful network decisions that can benefit a business.

For others perhaps leveraging the same tools that live within ACI in an a la carte flavor will be sufficient - VxLAN has certainly captured my attention. VxLAN can be implemented to enable seamless virtual machine mobility in a fully routed data center fabric with layer three equal cost multipath, thereby eliminating many of the legacy requirements of the traditional network. Ultimately, this will allow for new and exciting data center designs, and plasticity in service chaining.

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